Atlanta was uninspiring but had some good moments – met a 3D graphic artist and chatted computers for a while. Also, when I ended up stuck in a bar for 4-5 hours waiting for the next greyhound bus, I met some guys and had a good drinking session that I had to drag myself away from to not miss the bus ! I slept good that night…
And awoke in New Orleans which is very nice although a little heavy on tourists and scam artists ! It’s my first day, so I won’t say much yet, other than I’ve found an internet cafe to upload my camera pictures (finally) which should all be in place in the next day or two.
Sidetracking for a second – movie news !
Over the few weeks, being alone many evenings, I have digested a few movies and feel obliged to point out that Terminator 3 and The League of Extrondiary Gentlemen are dire movies barely worth seeing for the effects. Of the two, Terminator 3 disappoints the most, as it looks back at the “man vs machine” and then “machine vs machine” previous movies and reguritates those idea badly, adding nothing new, leaving predicatble turgid filth.
Bad boys II was funny though, and possibly better than the first one – making it one to add to the “sequels better than the original” film list – so go see that if anything 🙂
Motels have turned out to be the answer – although not so hot for meeting people you can get a nice room to yourself for $40. Also not so good for getting out and abuot downtown at night – as you are really relying on buses to get you there and back.
Anyhow, Nashville was Country-tastic, and then I moved onto Memphis where my accomadation problems worsened – there were 100mph winds raging the previous day and most places were without electricity, or in some cases, walls. So 3-4 hours of wondering around I got to a bar at the edge of town around 10pm, made a few last calls and gave up. And at this point Steve, the guy next to me at the bar, overheard my plight and offered me a floor to crash on – which turned out to be a floor with an airbed + beer + a rooftop pool. Both very hospitable and nicer than the places I’ve been paying to stay, even without electricity. Shower in the morning was a bit cold though…
So I saw the sights yesterday – Graceland and Beale Street. Most other things were shut down or wrecked by the storm. Then I got an overnight bus to Atlanta, Georgia.
Today I’m quite tired – and bitten. It seems me ‘n’ Steve had wing-ed friends in Memphis, and I now have over 100 bug bites all over me – there are over 40 bites alone on the inside of one foot ! Needless to say I am in some for of tired – itchy – irritable state and not really feeling up for this travelling lark – that and all the places are starting to feel the same. I think I just need some good rest, although given the volume of the parrot in the hostel I found, that may not happen.
Ok – I’ve got to Nashville now – but facing a small problem – accomadation (for under $50) ! The only option is looking to be a bus in and out of town for 4-5 miles to get to a “Motel 6” – which is my entire daily budget just on accomadation. Given I can then spend the next day on a Greyhound bus (free accomdation) I guess this balances out – but it still kinda sucks.
Europe was littered with Hostels I seem to recall – is the US just not so hot for Hostelling ? Answers / useful URLs for finding non-HI hostels on an e-mail 🙂
St Louis was the change of scene I’ve been looking for – it’s mid sized town with a big arch as it’s main attraction, but the hostel is located just south of downtown in the French Quarter, Sulard. Initially sceptical, I bumped into a few drinking buddies and discovered Sulard has bars on most corners, all hosting some excellent Rythmn and Blues music, and serving fine long island ice teas !
The people playing are all local and superb muscians – and there is a really nice vibe going around, as they invite other musicians up to play bass for this song, and then play this other song as it’s someone in the bars favorite. It was the tonic I needed from big city tourism, so I’ve decided to extend my stay for a couple of nights and party some more.
Thanks for all the mails, apologies for those I don’t have time to reply to ! It’s really nice to hear what’s going on at home, so do keep me posted. Saturday night I should be on an overnight bus towards Nashville or Memphis – pushing onwards into the southern states !
Chicago was loverly, weather was perfect and has some of the best architecture I’ve seen – expect many tedious building / skyline pictures when I find a decent internet cafe ! I saw some really goot art and stuff in the museums, making use of free days – one museum (the natural history or “dinosaur” museum) had cancelled it’s free day, but when I said that I had no money and went to leave, the security guy let me in for free, saying that he’d been in England a while ago and they let him into the museums in London for free, so he was simply returning the favour. I hadn’t the heart to tell him they are free to everyone all the time 🙂
I spent some time with a guy from Liverpool, Rick, who made an excellent companion for wondering around, laughing at stupid american things and going up the Sears tower with, but a terrible drinking companion as it turned out he was only 19, and ID laws are very strict out here. In the end I brought a 6-pack of bud lites and we smuggled them into the hostel TV / common room and sneakily drunk them like 14 year old kids in the park with cider. Turns out drinking your own purchased alcohol anywhere in the US is illegal, except in your own home – which kinda sucks for cheap drinking – bars are expensive.
Anyhow, final day in Chicago passed quickly with some Krispy Kreme donunts (v. nice) and fireworks in the evening (sponsered by Pepsi !) and then an overnight bus trip took me into St Louis where I arrived and promptly slept 3 more hours in the bus terminal, waiting for the day to start and the hostel to be open.
So, one overnight Greyhound bus later, and I’m in Detroit – CITY OF ZOMBIES !!!
Ok, not quite, but it was a very “28 days later” feelign as I wondered around the downtown area. All the shops were shut and no-one was around (Ok – so it IS 10am Sunday) – but over half the buildings are shutdown permanantly / abandonded – cardboard / wood boarding up the windows. I should also add that the one and only Detroit Hostel shut down a while ago. Along with most non-alcohol serving industries, it seemed.
So I was kind of getting the fear – I walked out of downtown up towards the “cultural center”, which turned out to be about 2-3 miles along a long straight main road, flanked by shutdown buildings and a few remaining party haunts. Eninem was due to play that night, and I had a feeling that any minute I’d hear a growing roar, and in the distance, thousands of slim shady fans would comgin piling ove rthe horizon line, tanked on gin and juice and turn this way-too-quiet urban scene into a sprawling melee. Ok – I was tired and a little over-dramatic at this point – but I jsut needed to sum up my frame of mind for the record 🙂
So early afternoon I got back onto the greyhound and went over to Chicago where I am now. More on Chicago another time – but briefly, this is looking to be one of the best cities so far !