Monday, December 26, 2011

Canton, Mississippi

this morning, christmas day, we left memphis and drove all across the state of mississippi!! it was very grey out and later during the day we had quite some rain, unfortunately... but it was amazing. while we first drove on the highway, we later left it for the smaller roads, leading us trough small villages and with too many new impressions... im just really amazed about how many houses, small (or larger) shops and gas stations are left abandoned... some already half collapsed, burned down, or otherwise damaged. we saw a lot of trailer parks too, and many houses so small, in the middle of nowhere.... some well-maintained, others surrounded in mess and old rusty cars etc. some poshy houses too, but not too many.
above is the city of canton, where we briefly walked around. isnt it cute? and isnt it like in the movies? (it has been the decor for some movies, just check wikipedia... ) we also stopped in jackson, the state capital, but everything was deserted, on this christmas day.... even many fastfood restaurants were closed... 
now i wish i knew more about this all! i wish i knew all the history, and facts. on wikipedia, i just saw for example that there are only 3 cities in mississippi with more than 50,000 residents, and 60% of all mississippi residents lives below the poverty level....
then we arrived in louisiana, and passed by the beautiful lake pontchartrain, eventually arriving in new orleans! you can defenitely feel that the air is different here, and although still chilly, its a bit warmer than memphis. we went to the french quarter for dinner. unfortunately it was dark already, but i think this area must be beautiful by daylight, we will see tomorrow... :) 

Oooh Elvis!

i think its fascinating how everyone in the world, or so it seems, knows elvis. i know who he was, that he was pretty, and the hair, sideburns and the dancing. and his final years in which he almost seemed like a caricature of himself, with even more hair and sideburns, and the weird tight jumpsuits. i knew it all (how? tv?), yet he was dead before i was even born... 
so, yesterday we went to graceland. that wasnt cheap, 60 dollars entrance! (already an 8 dollar coupon subtracted) and 10 dollars for parking... but for that we spent 3 hours marveling at everything elvis. first parts of his house (which was completely over the top!), then more about his rise to fame, his grave, next to his parents behind his swimming pool, his cars (he had multiple, and had 1 painted in pink and 1 in purple!), how he was despised by the press very early on, and how his performances were not decent (how stupid am i, only then i understood why he was called elvis the pelvis!), many many pictures of him (my goodness was he goodlooking!), his planes (golden seatbelt buckles...). i learned so much more about him, and yet still know so little about his life! they focused on his stardom, and emphasized his cuteness, but barely anything was revealed about his private life (other than how generous he was and how he liked to play and had many motorized toys to drive around graceland, while nowadays its strictly forbidden to walk on the grass, haha). so... yesterday night i spent most of the time reading more about him on wikipedia... haha. also, i am curious now how elvis was perceived in europe. when did he become famous, did my parents like him, etc etc.... :)
after that we drove around memphis a little more and went to the motel where martin luther king was assassinated. its now a museum about civil rights, but unfortunately it was closed as it was christmas eve, im still really frustrated about that! (and spent quite some time reading about that event on... yes, wikpedia..) then we had a beer in beale street, accompanied by some life music. that was nice, but the street was still pretty much deserted (perhaps also because of christmas).
it seemed like 50% of the buildings in memphis are abandoned and collapsing or about to do so, that was a bit tragic to see.... also the area around graceland did not seem to be very good. the only amazing thing was that there, in the middle of nowhere, we went to an aldi supermarket and found stroopwafels!!! probably the most dutch cookie there is! that was a pleasant surprise.. :)