So after New Orleans we drove to Jackson, Mississippi for one night. I guess we did so only in order to say we’ve been to Mississippi. There was really nothing to Jackson (sorry).
After Jackson we drove on to Memphis, Tennessee. On our first night we had an amazing BBQ dinner at Jim Neely’s Interstate BBQ, but I forgot my camera, so did it ever really happen? I guess we’ll never know. (it happened)
The next morning we headed out to Graceland to see where the King himself lived.
This is me out front:
And this is what happens when you get strangers to take photos of you:
We were armed with iPads for the audio tour, which had a 360 degree view of the room we were in… I guess in case we didn’t want to look up from our screens?!
We were herded like cattle through the downstairs, wedged between hundreds of middle aged white Americans.
It was really interesting to learn about Elvis’ movie career, his time in the military and then his nerves ahead of the big ‘come back’ in the 1970s. The tour really mentioned nothing about his death or any illness ahead of it. It was really sad hearing his iconic music and seeing all the stuff from his heyday, before walking past his grave.
It was quite expensive; $37 each plus $10 to park across the street?! So I found that annoying. Especially when we had to wait half an hour at the end to get a bus 200m from the house back to the car. But I guess you really can’t go to Memphis and not see Graceland.
For lunch we opted for an authentic fried chicken experience at The Four Way, a Memphis institution since 1946.
We both had fried white meat, Andrew got corn and slaw on the side and I got macaroni and cheese and mashed potato and gravy (hello carbs!).
We were not disappointed.
After lunch we headed into the city to check out downtown Memphis.
A visit to the Civil Rights Museum is an absolute must. It chronicles the lives and struggles of African Americans since the beginning of slavery, through segregation in the 1950s/60s to the current era. It was really well presented and informative.
The museum is housed in the old Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jnr was assassinated. The second half of the museum, dedicated to the life and death of MLK Jnr, is located across the street were they believe the fatal shot was fired from. Pretty sad stuff.
That evening we headed to Beale Street to take in some live blues.
We went to a few places but spent most of the night at BB King’s Blues Club. Coincidentally it was the late BB King’s birthday, so his family were all there with a giant cake.
We watched a couple of awesome bands and were keen to stay but (and I realise this sounds totally lame) we were completely freezing in there. The aircon in the south/south east of America is so intense. I’m really not a fan of air conditioning at the best of times, so I’ve been extremely uncomfortable whenever I’ve forgotten to take a jacket with me, you know, in the middle of summer!
Anyway. Memphis, such an awesome city. So great to spend time somewhere with an awesome music scene again.