Wading through Memphis.
Mother Nature conspired against me this past weekend during my trip to Memphis, but I did not let her win! :)
Already my sightseeing time was short. I was there to give my opinions on certain advertising campaigns and such aimed at people living with rheumatoid arthritis, and that meeting was scheduled from 8am-5pm on Saturday. We also had dinner with the group on Friday evening. This left only late Friday night and Saturday evening for experiencing Memphis, since my flight left before anything opened on Sunday morning.
Friday I met several nice people at dinner, but everyone at my table decided they were hitting the sack early. I was a little bummed, because the night was still young. I called Bryan for a little encouragement, and he told me I needed to take my ass to Beale Street, particularly since it was only one block away. So I did. :)
Beale Street is the Bourbon Street of Memphis. There are lots of bars, clubs, restaurants, souvenir shops... that sort of thing. The street is closed off to car traffic so you can just wander around, and if you get stumbling drunk you don't have to worry about getting run over. I'm sure there's technically some other reason they close off the street, but I guarantee you this is part of the logic.
The first night I just walked up and down the street, only a few blocks, and took in the Memphis party crowd. They actually had a few bands playing in pavilions on the street, so I was able to hear some good blues without the awkwardness of going into a bar by myself. :)
Saturday's session was interesting. I'm fascinated by marketing techniques, probably should have been in advertising, so it was fun to see the campaigns this company is considering and hear and give feedback. Of course, I must admit I was a bit antsy for the day to be over so I could get out on the town!
I met a few people who were staying over Saturday night and we all decided to get together and go out. The forecast called for rain, and this time the weatherman was spot on. Our first stop we managed to achieve before the downpours set in. I headed to the Peabody Hotel with a girl named Jeni, who is from the Outer Banks. The Peabody is famous for its ducks. They live in a "duck palace" on the roof of the building, and every morning at 10 they parade them down to the lobby (via elevator) and they get in a fountain. They spend the rest of their day floating around this fountain, then at 5pm they parade them back up to their palace. Jeni and I got there at about 4:45, and already the place was so packed we couldn't really get a good view of the ducks. We did head up to their palace afterwards, though, and were able to see them up close and personal then. :)
As we left the Peabody, the rains began. We weren't sure where we were headed next, so we went to Beale Street for souvenirs and to see what was going on there. We walked around a bit, ended up at the Africa in April festival, which was plugging along despite the inch of rain on the ground, we picked up some souvenirs, and then kept on walking... we were not going to let this stupid rain impinge upon our tourism! We checked out a map posted downtown and realized we were near the trolley, so we went and hopped on. The trolley took us on a loop through downtown and down to the Mississippi River waterfront, and back up in time to meet our new friends for dinner. Along the trolley route we also passed the Lorraine Hotel, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated and which now houses the National Civil Rights Museum. We were bummed that the museum had closed before our session ended, but were also moved to see the 60's-era cars parked in front of the hotel, marking where King was shot. Next time I'm in Memphis, that museum is a must-see.
We picked up the rest of our group at our hotel and headed to Beale Street to get some dinner and hear some music. Jeni and I both had to go back to our rooms to change, as we were completely and utterly soaked. (The next morning, the flats I had been wearing were still so wet I could squeeze water out of them!) I had only brought two pairs of shoes, and since I had no interest in going home the next day wearing wet kicks, I walked back over to Beale barefoot. Sanitary? No. Effective? Yes. :)
We ate at a restaurant called Pig, and THANK YOU MEMPHIS for your awesomely delicious barbeque. :) I had ribs, and just thinking about them is making my mouth water! Our concierge had recommended this restaurant because of the entertainment, and he was right... the guys playing were awesome!
After we ate, Jeni and I and another girl from Marion, VA named Dana sat around and chatted for a while before we began hittin' the clubs. :) We had a great time chatting with strangers on the street, dancing, listening to a great R&B band... I even found a dude wearing Kanye West sunglasses and convinced him to let me wear his glasses and to take a picture with me. :)
Finally we headed back to the hotel, where the lamborghini from my previous post was parked. It was actually still there when I left the next day... wonder whose it was?
You can check out all of my pictures from Memphis here.