Saturday, February 24, 2007

More Memphis

I have now had a chance to ride around the town of Memphis a bit. It is a curious place, of contrasts. On the one hand, there appears to be some great affluence in places. On the other hand, there also appears to be great poverty as well. I am still quite struck by the relative lack of business chains. Although these are present, they do not seem to be a prevalent as they do in many places. Of this, I approve.

One of the things that is quite striking is also the large number of small business establishments, with sometimes amazing names. There is a pawn shop that calls itself 'The Happy Hocker', a hairdresser called 'The Salon of Focus' and an establishment that rejoices in the name of 'Eversky's Big Mens Clothing'. The place called 'The Supreme Learning Center' appears to have been rather optimistically named. I was not too sure what to make of the 'His-Hers Lounge'. However, the 'Dogs Rule Day Care' sounds positively worrying.

Close to The University of Memphis, is 'The Normal Masonic Temple'. One is inclined to wonder where the abnormal masons go. The University is not very pretty. The architecture is largely late 1960/70s concrete and brick in construction. This I do not like. The whole place is made slightly more bizarre by the fact that they appear to be in the middle of demolishing the Students' Union. Although the building is mostly intact, one corner is missing.

One thing that is slightly disconcerting is the fact that there are a number of events going on in town. The effect of this is that I keep running into people I know from home. I must have seen a dozen people I know. Perhaps this explains in part why so many places seem to offer Cajun food.

One thing is clear though, barbecue ribs are king in this town. We stopped in a one place, that was highly recommended, only to find that it was not open (despite the claim of the neon sign). As we were about to leave, a guy pulled up outside the business. It was the owner. He explained that he was going to be opening late, due to having recently suffered from a heart attack. What was strange was the hint of pride with which he said this. He then explained "I eat my own ribs."

Thus, Memphis continues to be interesting, being both familiar and unusual. As my session was yesterday and went well, I can now afford to kick back a little. This is proving to be both a fascinating and strange trip.

The CP


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