Saturday, 21 March 2015

Trek America Day 5: Memphis

Arghhhhh I had nearly finished this post and something fucked up and I lost it all so now I have to write it all again.  Urgh.  Anyway...

Memphis was really cool.  Filled with good food, good company, good music and good beer with some pop history thrown in.
We arrived at lunchtime after a long drive down from Nashville.  We made a lunch stop at the world famous Gus's Fried Chicken, where I got two breasts and Mac and cheese.  Unfortunately I was a bit disappointed, the Mac and cheese tasted like it was from a can and the chicken.... Well I preferred KFC.  I think this is probably blasphous in the culinary world.  The chicken pieces are huge though, like giant chickens, the breasts were bigger than my hands. That's a sentence I never thought I'd write.

Ben dropped some of us off at Graceland where we paid $30 for a tour of Elvis's house.  This was really cool, but also a bit creepy, the place hasn't changed since his death in 1977 so its a bit like stepping back in time and I felt a bit like a nosy neighbour.  Someone proposed in the Trophy Room whilst we were there. Cute.  The house was really cool, a bit of a tardis.  He had lots of what I would call "man caves" and I expect parties there would have been pretty sweet.  For some reason you're piled into a bus and driven across the road to his house, you're not allowed to walk because "of the risk of vehicles". I think it's just to justify the high ticket price.  You're also given an iPad and headset which narrates the history of the house as you go through each room which is pretty cool. I didn't realise but Elvis is actually buried in his garden along with his parents and grandmother, so we paid our respects then headed off for our next tour in Memphis; Sun Studios.

Founded by Sam Phillips, who was at the time very bored of the popular easy listening music, he set up a recording studio service and let anyone use it.  The first rocknroll single was recorded here, and this is where Elvis recorded his first hit, and countless others such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, BB King and Roy Orbison have used the facilities.  In more recent times Maroon 5 and U2 have also recorded there. On the tour you get to visit the actual studio and stand on the spot where Elvis stood, where history was made! 

Ben then took us for a little surprise in the form of seeing the ducks go to bed at the Peabody Hotel.  Has anyone heard of this before? I hadn't, so bizarre.  So the story goes, two hotel guests went out hunting with two ducks as bait for capturing other ducks.  They also took a bottle of JD and basically got trashed, forgot to shoot any ducks and returned home with their two bait ducks, who they then let loose in the hotel lobby fountain.  They woke with hangovers the next day, remembered the ducks, ran down to find them and found them happily swimming about in the fountain.  The hotel decided to keep them, and now every day at 11am and 5pm the ducks are marched to and from their penthouse pond to the ground floor fountain in a very elaborate ceremony.  Apparently even Oprah has got involved and has hosted the ceremony.  Personally I think it's a little cruel, pretty sure their wings had been clipped and they spend their day swimming in circles in a fountain.  But I guess they won't get eaten by a fox or anything so swings and roundabouts. 

Afterwards we headed for a quick stroll down to the Mississippi then went for dinner, to another world famous place, Charles Vergos Rendezvous.  It's an amazing ribs restaurant frequented by the President, Justin Timberlake and other famous names.  The main staff members have all worked there since the 1960s (we were served by Robert Jr who is probably about 70 and was a bit crazy in a good way and has worked there since 1963) and they serve the best pork I've ever had.   Craving nutrients after a chicken lunch I had a Greek salad but with a portion of pork shoulder on the side, and everyone else had racks of ribs which I may have stolen some of. Yum.

In a bit of a meat coma we headed out to Beale St for some live music.  We ended up in Jerry Lee Lewis's bar watching an amazing rock n roll band called Jason James.  They were AMAZING and we all had a great time, they lit their piano and drums on fire, the pianist was playing with his feet and his bum, the drummer played one handed, the bassist played backwards, they were amazing and had such energy.  I want to start a rock n roll club in London!!!!  I can't describe how amazing the band was.  I took a little video which is on my Instagram and Daniel took a longer video on his phone so I'll try and upload it here at some point.

This morning we made a quick pitstop to the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was assassinated.  I felt a bit sad seeing it, he was only 39.

Anyway that was Memphis! I loved it! We left there this morning and we're on our way to New Orleans which I'm very excited about, we'll be seeing jazz bands and eating more food!


  1. Ah it all sounds amazing!!! You are getting to see and do so much ❤️ Xxxxxxxx

  2. So glad you're doing this, you'll remember it much better this way :)



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