April 23, 2006


Today was a touristic day of monumental proportions. At approximately 11 am central time I headed to the city built on rock and roll. A city that had for decades been emblazoned on my minds eye through such literary greats as John Grisham and some other guy I can't remember.

First stop, Graceland. But before we get there I would like to say that the minute I got out of the car and walked any distance the song, "...I'm walking in Memphis" danced through my head.

Graceland. It's just as cheesy as you would expect, but given the legendary reputation of the place you can overlook that factor. There's not much to say really. I can't really believe that I was actually there, that I was in rooms that very famous people were in (i.e. the Beatles??!?!?!?), that I was in the room where he spent his last evening with friends, that I saw his gravesite... It's just crazy. For whatever reason I just always assumed that these were the kind of things I'd never get to do. So now that I actually get to see these places, I spend most of the time a little dumbfounded.

The picture to the right is of the living room which you see as you enter the mansion. You're not allowed to use flash photography at all, and my little camera doesn't do so well inside, so these googled images will have to do.

Here's the cool TV room in the basement. It smelled like the basement of any house that hasn't been remodeled since the 70's. Except this one has been visited by millions of people...

I remember from the Beatles anthology that when they went to visit him he was sitting on a couch with three TV's on without the sound playing the guitar... I'm pretty sure that was this room.

The jungle room. Dark... stinky... but dang cool. I wish I had more interesting stories to tell you, but I really just went in and looked around. Most of the other people seemed fairly normal, and the audio headsets that acted as our tourguides really eliminated any kind of interpersonal interaction. You carry around a little radio antenna thingy the whole time and they tell you what numbers to press to hear about what you're looking at. It's pretty cool, but people are nice too...

The tour took me through a few more buildings; an office where his father worked, Elvis's shooting range, trophy rooms lined with gold records, and a raquet ball building where, if I'm not mistaken, the toilet where he died is located (I didn't ask my radio, and he didn't tell). The final spot on the tour is the actual gravesite itself. I didn't realize that this was in Graceland, but it was interesting to see.

Elvis enjoyed having people around him, and there were often parties held at Graceland. Brooke's parents were telling me that they have actually never been to Graceland since he's died. Her father went to a Christmas party there back in the day, and "partied" with Elvis. Sure... most of Memphis was invited, but isn't that wild? Maybe it's not as a big a deal to the people here as it is to us foreigners, but that's a story I'd be telling a time or two.

After touring the mansion, I hit the gift shops and spent waaaaay too much money on souvenirs for the famdamily. Then it was off to the city where we drove down Riverside Drive past the mighty Missippi and a pyramid. We parked at Peabody Place and headed to Beale Street for lunch. From my vantage point at the balcony of the Hard Rock Cafe, I could watch merry makers walking up and down Beale Street, which is the most famous street in the city, known for its "Big Ass Beers". Really, that's what they're called... and I took a picture. After lunch we headed to the Peabody Hotel for the famous marching of the ducks.

Yes. Ducks. It's been a tradition since the 1930's. The ducks live in a palace on the roof and every day they head down to the main lobby on the elevator and march across the red carpet to the fountain. Then at 5 o'clock, they make the same trip back up to the roof top. I didn't get to witness the march, but I did see the little duckies swimming in a fountain amidst cocktail sippers and fancy shoe wearers and the palace on the roof top where they live. It's really just a cage with a pool in it...

And that's about it. Nothing particularly funny or interesting happened. I came, I saw, I took pictures. It was lovely regardless of whether or not anything blogworthy happened, and now I can say I've walked where Elvis walked, as well as the famous Peabody ducks.

Though I loved that I had the chance to see Memphis, other than postcards I didn't have the chance to "make" many memories, as cheesy as that sounds. So the next time I'm going to have to bring someone along with me to get lost in the crowd and meet the bizarre people drinking big ass beers along Beale Street.

1 comment:

richmanwisco said...

great you went to the peabody...one of the quirkiest places going...too bad you didn't eat at the rendevous...just the best ribs anywhere...it is hard to find the first time, you have to walk down the back alley behind the holiday inn.