by : Chris
An ode to Memphis:
- Where Justin Timberlake is the new King. It seemed like everyone had met him and had a story of how cool and down-to-earth he is. We heard where he favorite table to eat ribs was, what he liked to drink, how he’s too good for his wife, and accounts such as how he’d agreed to go visit a guy’s parents’ house and ended up mowing their lawn.
- Where trains at least 200 cars long go right through the city then unexpectedly stop, blocking traffic and poor pedestrians like me for over half an hour.
- Where they have awesome barber shops owned by Penny Hardaway and named after me, “Christyle$”, full of basketball memorabilia, basketball video games, and a pop’n’shot carnival game, but nobody willing to risk trying their hands at cutting a white guy’s hair.
- Where Tinder may not be the best way to meet single girls. Though I’m in a relationship, it’s always fun to check Tinder for, you know, anthropological interests. Memphis was not so fun. I went through 100 girls and only three were worthy of the right-swipe.
- Where you never know whom you’ll meet. The guy who drove us from our hotel to the bus stop via the Lyft app (see tips below) moonlights as a driver while teaching French immersion during the day. He’d actually spent a winter in rural Quebec learning the language. We ended up having a conversation in French with the guy the whole ride. I’d never heard a Southern American French accent before. It was delightful.
- Where people just wanna say, “Hi”. I walked. A lot. From our hotel through South Main, to Mud Island, back through Downtown and the Peabody Hotel, along the Edge to Sun Records, through the Victorian Village, out to Overton Square and Cooper-Young in Midtown, then all the way back past Stax Studios to our hotel. All along the way most people I crossed on the sidewalks would nod, smile and greet me, and people one their porches would wave.
- Where bartenders at a haunted ex-brothel will tell you story after story of the famous people that’ve come through, and from the past of the establishment. This happened to us at Earnestine and Hazel, a famous dive bar we stopped by. Among stories we’d heard was that when Sean Penn was there scouting the site for an upcoming movie, he decided it would be more comfortable to sleep in the abandoned brothel rooms above than in his room in the Peabody Hotel. Wanting to spend his night there the way it was meant to be spent, he flew in two of his ladies to accompany him for the night.
- Where there appears to be intense rivalry for the best lawns. The sign in front of the house in the picture below apparently won “Lawn of the Month”. Congrats! When I took this picture, the guy sitting next door yelled at me, “Hey watcha doin?”. I yelled back, “Hi. I’m taking picture. Is that ok?”. He said, “Oh ok. Just wonderin’ what you was doin'”. The excitement undoubtedly made his day.
- Where the Grizzlies are in the heart of the city. We saw support, T-shirts, and all sorts of propaganda related to Memphis’ NBA team everywhere. The Memphis Grizzlies were once the Vancouver Grizzlies and I was expecting to hate the city and its people for taking my team, but ended up acknowledging that there is no better second home for the team. Memphis deserves a team. Also to note, I wore my Vancouver Jersey throughout my time in Memphis, and it didn’t go without notice. Street cleaners, barbers, bartenders, cameramen, and other pedestrians stopped me to compliment it.
- Where they had the genius idea to put BBQ pulled pork onto nachos. These here are from Central BBQ.
Dear Memphis, I will be back.
- Watch out for large lines for the National Civil Rights Museum. When we got there at around 11am the lineup was over an hour long.
- Renting a bike would be a very good and efficient way to explore Memphis. It saves money versus taking cabs, saves time versus public transit, and I’d advise it over walking because some sites (Sun City, Stax) are quite far from the center and there’s not worth seeing slow-motion walking style in between.
- If you don’t want to get too much exercise, try the app Lyft. It connects citizen drivers who are looking to make some extra money with people looking for cheap rides. Just for downloading the app, we got ten free rides. We used it twice and it was much more efficient and inexpensive than using a cab.