bluesinthenorthwest on tour – Day 2 – Tue 7th Oct
Posted on: Thursday, Oct 9, 2008
On Tuesday we took breakfast at the hotel. I still don’t like biscuits and gravy; I have stayed in cheap hotels and luxury 4 star palaces but the biscuits are always the same.
First we drove out to the Stax museum. The museum is in a run down area and I had to take care as it is very easy to get sucked into poverty tourism by taking pictures of the locals.
On the advice of our hotel staff and about a dozen tourist books we lunched at Leonard’s BBQ Buffet on North Main Street, Memphis. This restaurant is a Memphis legend and carried the bluesinthenorthwest.com seal of approval. The food was fabulous and incredibly good value. Well done to Pete Evans for choosing the smaller “Sandwich Menu” while the remaining greedy ones had the full 13 dollar buffet.
After lunch we headed back to Beale with full stomachs. The Museum of Civil Liberties was closed; this museum is set in the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968. Some of the party went to the Gibson factory, some to the Memphis Rock And Soul Museum. I took a walk through town mid rain showers. The city was surprisingly quiet with very little traffic and very few people.
I took a stroll through the famous Peabody Hotel and the fabulous shop Lansky’s – outfitters to Elvis. The clothes were ace and not as expensive as I was expecting although some were very dear. I found a killer jacket for $675 that was absolutely beautiful, but luckily a bit too heavyweight for what I was looking for.
The rest of the afternoon was shopping in Beale Street. There is a huge amount of absolute tat, but a great music shop for CDs and DVDs “Memphis Music”. I nipped into a poor shopping mall during a big shower, again there were few people and absolutely no atmosphere. The best coffee I could find was a Starbucks (and I am not a fan, not in the UK, Spain or the US). Luckily for you I don’t have the time to write the diatribe on the quality (or lack of) in US coffee. Just pity the poor buggers in the travel party that have had to endure the whining of this committed Spanophile and Café Nero fan.
For dinner we set off for Beale in the rain. We decided to call for a beer on the way, I was looking for a bar called the Flying Saucer that I had seen the previous day (after my good beer knurd experiences in Dallas, TX ten years ago). I was looking for this bar so that resident beer expert Paul Farmer could give his expert opinion but I missed the bar and the rain was pouring so we called into Huey’s for a pint.
Due to the timings of different rounds of eight people we had had three beers before it was time to leave so we decided to eat there. There was a selection of sandwiches and the biggest plate of nachos that I have ever seen. Paul Farmer said that the only place that he knew about with bigger (and better?) nachos is in Vegas (quelle surprise)
It was on this day that I realised that I was the only Englishman on the trip, the rest are Welsh. Ian Williams was born in England but has lived many, many years in Wales. Of course in no way did the mismatch in nationalities become a talking point. We hardly made constant jokes and jibes putting down the other country. We are not like that <**whistles**>. Luckily history books are written by the victors and I am the one writing this entry (albeit while the Welsh are tucked up in bed sleeping at 1am).