25 days in America

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Hello all!

Its been 9 days since I’ve had both enough to write about and “decent”
computer to type all this on. I’m now down in New Orleans! Having been to Chicago and then Memphis… lets review. I’ll write more the closer to today it gets, but theres a lot to cover!

We finally made it out of Buffalo, NY on Tuesday Night at 1am (train was already 1hour late when we got on). When we awoke after a less than comfortable night we found that our train was stuck behind a frieght train, making us 3 more hours late.

Anyway, once we escaped that and got off at Chicago, we checked into the Arlington House Hostel and got out to see the Chicago nightlife.
Its good. The drinks prices were still hurting our budget a bit, but we were finding bottles (longnecks) as low as $3.50. We also blagged our way into a small bar and got to see a pretty good live act for free! The next day we roamed the streets and stumbled across the Apple Store, where we spent rather more time than we should have done gazing longlingly at iPods. A bit of maths shows that the 20gb 4th gen photo ones are GBP 209 in the UK, but GBP 168 here…. part of me thinks it would be rude not to. Our 3rd Hard Rock Cafe visit was also made.

On our last clear night we went to House of the Blues, again, live music was heard. Pretty decent stuff, and a nice opener for the Southbound Leg of the trip, which as Jason puts it, is about music!

In the evening of the next day we headed south to Memphis. A big Superliner double decker train was our bed that evening, plus I got to watch Guess Who in the lounge car to pass the time. Once we got to Memphis we realised that it wasn’t a great move on our part picking early sunday morning to roll up. We had to wait 3 hours (in a visitors
centre) for the busses to start running and take us up to Graceland.
We set up the tent on our site, rightbehind the heartbreak hotel and 200 yards from Graceland! Damn sweet location if you ask me. It also turned out it was the start of Elvis week!

Back to town… our 4th Hard Rock visit. Unfortunatly this was followed by a migrane on my part which dominated most of the day.
After tea, we parked ourselves in the Heartbreak Hotel Bar for a few and met a rather intresting soul, Andrea.

Andrea, mid 40s, scary, basically said “Do u mind if I sit here, No”
and plonked herself down and wouldn’t leave us alone, insisting infact, on telling us about her wonderful way of commiting benifit fraud and what West Wales was like. After 1 hour of scary storys and uncomfortable silences that just didnt drive her away she decided to go. Me, Jason, the Barmaid and the Irish folks in the bar all breathed a comunal sigh of relief.

Day 2 of Memphis was Graceland. $24 for all the Museums. Graceland was very indepth and a great insight. Frankly, I’d love a house like that!
I didn’t expect to see Elvis’ grave I must admit! The other museums that we had were not as good, perhaps the exception being Elvis’
plane.

Day 3 we visited Mud Island and ran into a guy called Lee. We first met this guy IN MANHATTEN at the first hostel! And we just bumped into him in the cafe! Small world! It turned out he was on the same train as us to New Orleans the next day. After getting some leads on good things to do, we went to the Rock and Soul museum. Jason enjoyed this a lot, I found it quite intresting but not really my thing, but I did learn a lot about Rock and Soul.

That evening we went out on the historic Beale Street for tea. I was challenged to a game of pool by some crasy American, and I lost by fouling on the black! We found a bar that did 2 pints (I think, how many fluid oz in a pint?) for $3 and free crisps, we took full advantage.

Up early the next morning, taxi did not understand the phrase “half five” and turned up at 5. On the train to New Orleans we met Lee once again. Hopefully we will be seeing him again while we are here.

We checked into the hostel to the news that we had been upgraded to a suite at no charge… a suite you say? for $25 a night each? What does that get us? Just the biggest twin room we’ve seen on this trip! Full double bed (mine), air con, ensuite, fridge + kitchenette! We hit the jackpot, just wish we had a TV.

To end that good news day we headed to Burbon Street in the French Quarter, much seedier than expected. Strip joints etc all over, but lots of 3 beers for $6 deals + balconys to go out on. Beeds were also been thrown for stunts! Saw ANOTHER great live band! 2am return home was too early, but we were out of money. This is easily the best going our city we have been to, and we have loads more time here, thank god!

Today we woke up late, lunch in the French Quarter and then went to the markets etc to buy gifts for people, and were turning up good stuff.

I hope all of you are well, I’ll be back 6 am on the 24th August! I’m expecting my beloved phone to go nuts when I turn it on.

H

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