Tag Archives: Tennessee

Tennessee

26 Oct

Knoxville

I left DC and took an overnight bus to Knoxville. After debarking in the middle of nowhere, I finally extracted from a local which bus I needed to get to get to the Greyhound station. And it was closed. And in the middle of nowhere. Or so I thought. So after a massive, fruitless wander, I finally got to the station and settled down for a while, before being told that the one direction I hadn’t wandered towards from the station contained the downtown Knoxville area. Which is quaint. It consists of rows and rows of cinemas and theatres, red brick courthouses and the odd glass skyscraper. I watched 50/50 to pass some of the time, a film review to follow soon.

Memphis

Eventually I managed to leave Knoxville after a ten-hour layover, on another nighttime bus to Memphis, arriving at 2am. I was staying with my friends Heather and Trevor from my time in music college in Coventry, and their brand-new son Judah. Memphis is amazing. There’s the Peabody Hotel, where they keep ducks in the lobby fountain (next to a self-playing piano), and herd the mallards into an elevator at bedtime and take them up to their rooftop ‘duck temple’. We went to the mighty Mississippi, saw the Pyramid Arena, the Lorraine Motel (I’d already been to the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial and seen where he gave his ‘I have a Dream’ speech, I had to go see where he’d been shot as well) and of course, the glorious Beale Street.

Beale Street is two different places. Nighttime Beale is a police-cordoned, alcohol-fuelled, neon-lighted blues paradise, with more music than you could possibly take in in one night, giant plastic cups of flowing beer, and an incredible amount of culture. Then there is Beale Street during the day, which basically revolves around the family-owned, century-old general store Schwab’s. We were also there for the gay pride parade, in which I’m convinced we were followed around all day by the float full of guys in drag.

And barbeque. Don’t go to Memphis unless you intend on getting some pulled pork. Vegetarians: just go and have a sniff, or have your life choice sorely tested as you watch regular folk eat the most tender, delicious meat ever cooked.

In a sentence, Tennessee is my favourite state.

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