dimanche 18 mars 2012

Driving Back from Texas - Day 9 (Tennessee)

Memphis is not a city for children. For blues fans, music fans, bar-hoppers, and Elvis junkees, yes, but children, no. The city centre is designed for adults. There are very few parks (1) for running or climbing or walking, and there are virtually no stores. There is a vibrant music and pub culture, and the business centre seems active, but for two boys the biggest attraction was the breakfast bar at the hotel, and even there they got a nasty stare from the staff when they tried to grab a second box of cereal.
So after we checked out of the hotel, we headed out of town and stopped at the `King`s` house - Graceland.
Elvis was before my time, and way before the boys` generation, so we were surprised to see that there are actually still lineups to visit his house. We waited in line for an hour before getting in, and wow, shag carpeting on walls! We stripped an acre of the stuff out of the last house we moved into, but I had forgotten what a fad that had been! Every inch of the walls was covered with something - shag carpeting, fabric, or wood panelling. Nothing was left untouched.
We loved looking over the costumes that Elvis wore during his music tours, and all of the gold records really impressed the boys. "Are they really gold?" they asked in wonder.
I had also forgot that Elvis had been buried at Graceland beside his mother and father. This is the spot that drew most of the crowds for the longest, and we all said, "can you do that?!" I imagine once Michael Jackson's home, Neverland, goes on tour, the crowds and comments will be very similar. It is fascinating to see how a person who is so public actually lived privately.

   We had an interesting cultural encounter at a McDonald's drive through on our way to Nashville. "What accent is that?" the server asked. "Canadian," I said.
"We don't have an accent!" said the boys.
 "Why, is it hard to understand?" I asked the server.
"Yes, it is a bit ma'am," replied the server.
I smiled, and the boys were stunned. "I can't believe he thinks WE have an accent."

We arrived in Nashville an hour and a half too late to see Athena. Inside of Centennial Park's Parthenon, is a giant statue of Athena, a replica of the one in Greece. But what is most impressive is the sheer size of this reproduction. Like everything in Nashville, they did it up big.
The 'Parthenon' means nothing to the boys. What is important and impressive to them is the fact that this is where a significant scene in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief was filmed. They could walk around the parts where 'Percy' searched for the stone and imagine where the monsters entered. They loved it.
Centennial Park itself was also beautiful at this time of March. All of the trees were flowering, the birds were nesting, and the water fountains had just been turned back on for the beginning of the wedding season. Aesthetically, is was peaceful and calming. A serene break from highway 40 North.
After an 'all-you-can-eat Sushi meal' at a Chinese restaurant for St. Patrick's Day (all of the local cafes were full with revellers in green), where we learned that you are considered an adult at 9 if you are eating in at a Chinese buffet, we continued North to Harrodsburg, Kentucky - the oldest city in KY.

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