As the old saw goes there's two kinds of man, the Elvis man, and the Beatles man. You can like both (in fact, most do) but the love is never equal. You always like one more than the other. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am most definitely an Elvis man, and today I went to the mecca of Elvis men. Yes, I have been to Graceland. I have stepped in his house. I have seen his grave. I have bought much of the crap they sell with his picture on it. Unfortunately I forgot my camera like a moron, so all of my pics are off my iphone.
Graceland is basically separated into two sections. The first is the original mansion and grounds which remain pretty much intact from the days when Elvis was alive. The second is actually across the road and that's where the parking lot and all of the exhibits and the many many many gift shops are located. After purchasing your ticket, a shuttle bus will pick up a group and take it literally across the road -- a 2 minute trip at most. You're handed a little digital walkman-y thing which lets you listen to specific facts about specific parts of the house.
The first impression you get from the mansion is that it's not very big. I mean it's much smaller than most of the standard McMansions that now populate the suburbs of every major city. The tour in many ways is a lot like taking a tour of a regular house. Here's the living room, here's the kitchen, here's his parents' bedroom, etc.
Once you hit the trophy room that all changes. Gold records all over the place. The 'racquetball court' is even more impressive, especially since it looks like this now:
The 'meditation garden' is where Elvis's grave lies. It's hard to believe that one man is responsible for so much of world pop culture. The popularizer and pioneer of rock and roll, the first truly global celebrity, the first honest-to-god rock star.
I spent the rest of the afternoon in Memphis and I still can't figure out this city. I spent some time on Beale St (the birthplace of, if the museums are to be believed, rock and roll AND soul) and it was as crowded as a tourist corridoor could be expected to be on a Tuesday afternoon. Yet not two blocks away I stepped into (what appeared to be) a very new mall with a lot of very expensive features (fountains and ponds etc.) that had the entire upper level cloaked in darkness. On the plus side I tried this chocolate cake batter ice cream.. Delicious!
On the way back to the hotel I saw another park. Instead of Jefferson Davis, there was another statue in it. I thought it was a fitting end for the day.