Walking in Memphis

Walking with my feet 10 feet off of Beale.

But do I really feel the way I feel.

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Decided to check out downtown Memphis while I’m in town for a bridal show this weekend. My last visit was a super short drive by of Graceland. Don’t worry, as much as I wanted to go in I didn’t. I’m still waiting for mom to come down for that experience

Google helped plan out how to get there and where to park, the rest of the day would just be spent exploring. Beale street was first. It feels a little like Bourbon Street but with less grime. More quality looking restaurant options in historic buildings and super friendly people. Walking past one of the establishments, a doorman asked if I was ready for lunch yet, and pitched me the meal special with 3 sides for $9.99.

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While the street spans the length of downtown and leads you straight to the riverside, the entertainment portion spans maybe 2 blocks. It ends with the newly relocated Hard Rock and a statue of the King himself across the street from the famous Orpheum Theater.

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The Orpheum has a smattering if golden stars surrounding the sidewalk outside of the acts that have performed on its wonderous stage.

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And countless others including Robin Williams.

While it is a miserably humid summer Saturday, I was still expecting some sort of crowd downtown. I found a city map that led me to my next point, the National Civil Rights Museum.

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The artwork project beautifying the city is inspiring. And as I follow a family down the ramp towards the ticket tent, I can’t help but wonder how long its taken to get to this point. I think back to just a few nights ago walking through New Orleans hand-in-hand with my Jamaican coworker just to see the reaction from others on the street.

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There was the crowd I’d been searching for, lots of matching tshirt wearing groups sweltering in the heat for the chance to better understand the struggle and history right under our noses, hosted in the hotel Martin Luther King Jr . was tragically assassinated in.

I’ll wait for another time to experience that, so I turned a 180 and started heading towards the riverfront. Its always cooler on the water.

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Its a quiet solitary walk, taking in the city, with a few cars honking at me as they pass. I stumbled upon a lonely zebra striped Piano on the raised sidewalk that makes me wonder how many renditions of  “chopsticks” have been pounded out on its frail keys and reverberated against those old brick buildings.

I wish I’d remembered more tunes from my 8th grade lessons. Sadly all I can muster is When the Saints Go Marching In these days. I was always a little heavy on the chords… Maybe when mom visits I can convince her to entertain.

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I expected to walk straight up to the river as in NOLA but was pleasantly surprised at the elevated view that greeted me. And man, what a view. If I ever moved to Memphis, I’d want to live in the houses or apartments on the hill overlooking the water

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Continuing along my stroll I meet a couple working out on the ropes the city has installed. Its a cool idea really, even in the awful heat, there they were supporting and encouraging each other to keep pushing.

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I happened upon an odd hill reminiscent of the tkts counter in NYC and quickly realize there is indeed a building beneath it. The Riverboat and tours location at Beale Street Landing. Sweet salvation, air conditioning and a water fountain to quench my thirst from the 104 degree heat.

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I checked the time and Google to find me a local favorite for lunch. I was directed to the Flying Saucer Emporium and Draught House. Always one for trying the local flair, I ordered the Home town Flight.

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 3 out of the 5 weren’t bad, the Southern Magnolia one was my favorite, but then again I’ve never really been a fan of the super hoppy IPAs anyway.

The waitress told me I needed to check out the Monroe hotel at night. It boasts a rooftop view of the city all lit up and is where she typically takes her friends. She also asked if I’d seen the Bass Pro Shop yet. I had in the distance, its a giant silver pyramid… Kind of hard to miss. I contemplated walking the 1.2 miles there but had a nagging feeling that there was something else important I needed to see. Sun Studios.

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The place where it all started for Elvis. He walked in to record a song for his Momma for her birthday and that was it.

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Can you tell how hot it is..

I finally found it after misreading the address on the website… I read it as 106… Not 706, so just under a mile walk from where I was passing back and forth like a lunatic checking the building numbers and shaking my phone for continually repeating “you have arrived” liar.

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I took a peek inside, mainly to save myself from passing out from the heat. They offer a tour of the studio complete with the microphone Elvis used to record that first record. Another tour for another day. And I headed back to the car and on to the Bass Pro Shop.

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What a cluster of rednecks. There was also an NRA seminar and a women’s self defense seminar happening inside. Oh yeah, and a hotel… You can actually STAY there…

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Yes that is an aquarium, pond, and a full size pontoon boat in the middle of the store. There’s also this giant highlighted tower .

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Where you can of course pay a fee to ride to the top and look out over downtown. Walking through, one of the other shoppers managed to poke me in the eye trying to direct whoever she was talking to towards whatever it was they wanted… Here’s your sign, done. Time to go.

Bass pro shops; where nobody can remember where they parked so you hear a chorus of horns honking their locations in panic.

I found my way out of the twisted maze of ungrateful vacationeers, back into the heat and finally back towards my hotel.

I did happen to pass by a Target before I got there, so my evening was spent in a new swimsuit by the pool with 3 new books, A quick facetime with the family, and then pajamas by 6:30.

And I’m perfectly okay with that. I got my exercise in for the day.

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