Memphis, no offence but (code for I’m about to insult you), you’re a bit of a let down.
The first thing that strikes you when you arrive in Memphis, a city only 4 streets wide by the way, is how quiet the place is. The streets aren’t just lacking crowds, they’re practically deserted. It’s bordering on eerie.
Just another busy day on Main Street
The service in bars and restaurants is some of the worst I’ve ever encountered in my life, special shout out goes to the bored, forgetful waitress at the Blue Plate café and the rude, unhelpful staff at The Peabody Hotel. Where’s this famous Southern hospitality guys??
The Peabody Hotel is famous for its ducks, no really, there’s a set of ducks that live on the roof and each morning and evening they get brought down in the lift and waddle into the fountain in the lobby. It’s kind of cute but the fact that it’s the second most famous thing to do in Memphis says a lot. It’s ok but there’s a lot of hype and crowds for a couple of seconds of seeing a duck climb into a fountain.
Oh it also has the dubious honour of being in the top 5 most dangerous cities in the US. Apart from ‘no guns allowed’ signs on the shop doors (as run of the mill as the ‘no food or drink’ signs are here in the UK) the only danger I perceived was being bored and slightly affronted to death.
Sidenote: We did plan to stop in St Louis for lunch on the 9 hour drive from Chicago to Memphis but after taking a wrong turn at some roadworks we literally ended up in the ghetto. Being eyeballed by intimidating looking gangs wasn’t the best experience I’ve ever had. As we fled the scene, a quick google turned up that St Louis is the second most dangerous US city after Detroit. Things have changed since Judy Garland asked us to meet her there then…
St Louis – scarier than it looks…
Graceland on the other hand is absolutely fantastic and not nearly as crowded as you think it would be, it takes after its home city in that respect. Even if, like me, you’re not an Elvis fan you’ll still enjoy it, it’s like a portal back to a more glamorous time. None of the décor is more modern than the early 70’s and it’s mostly 50’s and 60’s. You can’t sniff at what Elvis managed to achieve in such a relatively short period of time, after all he did die pretty young… allegedly. ELVIS is an anagram of LIVES, just saying.
The Jungle Room
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Elvis literally put Memphis on the map. It’s an ok place if you’re just passing through, it’s just not a destination if you get me.
Memphis we’re just not compatible, it’s not me, it’s you.