Happiness in a fishbowl? Only in Memphis.

Posted in Road Trip by Jacqueline Iannacone on August 16, 2010

Wondering what “Happiness in a fishbowl” means? Well here’s your answer: Vodka and whatever flavor slushy you’re little heart desires in none other than a nice big fishbowl…. possibly the best thing on the planet on a hot Memphis day.

Happiness in a fishbowl

The temperature wasn’t the only thing that was hot in Memphis. For starters the music/dancing/drinking scene in Memphis was one of the best we experienced in the country. If you haven’t heard of Beale Street, or if you’ve been to Memphis without spending a day on Beale Street then you’re missing out on one of the greatest places to visit in this fantastic city. Beale Street, for those who are unaware is a block in Memphis where you can drink alcohol in the street. So what does this really mean? How does bars on the sidewalk, literally… the dance floor is the pavement! If that’s not good enough how about live music in approximately 4 different locations along the block featuring all different types of musicians. From one man bands to full on soul music in the park, the music on Beale Street was unlike any other venue.

The guitarist at a bar in Memphis

My favorite time of the night was when everyone who had been drinking and shopping all day sat down for an AMAZING jazz band in a park smack dab in the middle of Beale Street. There people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds danced and danced and danced… and danced until they retired for the night. What impressed me about Memphis was the talent that resided in these singers and dancers… One boy who couldn’t have been much older than 8 had talent that most developed dancers don’t hold in their 20’s. He was entertaining, comical and impressive and wasn’t afraid to get down and dirty… on the dance floor that is!

An unlikely pairing

This guy went from being an annoying solicitor to the life of the party… all it took were a few fish bowls!

I think he was with the band...

That covers the drinking, but what about the fried chicken! Of course we couldn’t go to Memphis without hitting up the cities best fried chicken joint, Gus’s Fried Chicken. The wait was long but worth it.

Gus's Fried Chicken

Another significant part of our trip to Memphis was the unforgettable past it holds in the revolution to ethnic equality. As we know the movement to stop slavery was at the forefront in Memphis, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. resided. While visiting I wanted to make a point to visit the place where the King had died. The point though was not to see the hotel room where he spent his last days but was to see the cultural landmarks that have developed since his passing. When first arriving to the site you are faced with the home of a protester who had been living outside the motel since the day it was closed down and turned into the National Civil Rights Museum. At first glance this sight angered me… Who would have the audacity to denounce the efforts this noble man put forth to better our country? Why would someone do that… I immediately jumped to the conclusion that this person was ignorant, stubborn and without a doubt racist.

A protestor outside the motel turned museum

After speaking with some locals I learned that the woman had lived in the motel for many years prior to the shooting and she didn’t feel that she should have to move out when it was transitioned into a motel. She wasn’t ignorant. She wasn’t racist. Stubborn, yes… but she wasn’t protesting out of hatred, she was protesting to protect her home, the only thing she had, and that you can’t be angry about.

Below are some other photographs from the National Civil Rights Museum.

Sign outside where MLKJ was shot

Signage at MLKJ museum

The final stop on our travels through Memphis was Graceland, the place where Elvis… the other King… lived, played and died. This was a great place to visit, as you could imagine the rooms were very… Elvis. Out of respect I decided to not photograph inside his home, instead I did my best to take in all of my surroundings. A place like this isn’t to be seen through the peep hole of your lens, there’s too much you could miss while hiding behind the camera.

Me at Graceland

Next stop Nashville!
For more on the meaning behind this journey click here.
Detroit . Chicago . St.Louis . Tulsa . New Mexico . Grand Canyon . Las Vegas . Los Angeles . San Francisco . Yosemite . Memphis . Nashville

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