Monday, August 30, 2010

ask not for whom the beale tolls



We planned this weekend trip to Memphis for several weeks....I wanted to meet a girlfriend there before she returned to Alaska to work.  We had met up there when I signed on to work in the bush as a travel nurse, and became fast friends caring for the Eskimo babies admitted to the hospital from the villages.

So this was going to be our last blast together, and we decided to meet in Memphis because I had never been there and wanted to see Beale Street.  Stevie Wonder had never been there either, even though he grew up just 200 miles from Memphis.  So it was blues and barbecue here we come!

We all met at an Econolodge about three blocks from Beale Street...I told Mona to find us a hotel that was clean and cheap...I never have cared where I stayed as long as it was both of the above...to me an expensive hotel room is a waste of money because we never spend much time in one.  After a quick hug hello and an introduction of Steve and Mona, we got in her car and set off for Rendevous, a local bbq place known for its food.

                                              Rendevous   


Mona told us this place was located in an alley, but it had been years since she ate there and couldn't remember exactly where, so I Googled it on my iPhone, and told her the address, she put it in her GPS and off we went, secure in the knowledge that the GPS would carry us right up the alley to the door.

Now I need to digress for a moment and explain how a GPS functions on alley addresses.  It doesn't.

About the third trip around several blocks, with the GPS telling us we had arrived to the address on the right and seeing with our eyeballs there WAS no alley on the right, we did the smart thing...we parked and walked.  Now my faith in technology was still intact at that point so I put the address in my iPhone maps and set it in the pedestrian mode and we started walking, following the little moving dot (us) toward the red dot on the map (Rendevous).  After circling several blocks we stopped on a corner of a street on the side of the street it was supposed to be located (no alleys) and just looked up...as though looking up would give us a sign from above, or at least a buzzard circling the restaurant, and we would find it.

A nice lady took pity on us and asked us where we were going and we told her, and she pointed to the alley...across the street on the opposite corner and side of the street.  We were about on top of it several times and had missed it. 

Thankful to be there, we went inside and had some of the best ribs I have every wrapped my lips around...they had a dry rub on them and the sauce was on the table to add to taste...slaw, baked beans and sweet iced tea added to a meal that was classically southern and unique in taste as only a bbq connoisseur can discern.

Stevie Wonder at Rendevous 

We had a wonderful time, the place was full of local history, Stevie Wonder regaled us with his knowledge of the gun collection displayed on the wall opposite us (his eyes can't read a menu but he can read the manufacturer's markings on a gun at 30 paces).  We got up to leave and walked back up the stairs (the restaurant was located on a lower level) and headed outside.

I decided to take a photo of the security guard (an off duty policeman) so I struck up a little conversation with him and said hi, how are you doing, staying cool enough, etc., etc.  He was nice and friendly and didn't mind the tourist taking a photo at all.

friendly security guard
 We headed back up the alley and to the car, and drove back to the hotel to check in, and realized the hotel was 2 blocks from the restaurant.  We'd driven 5 miles in circles following a GPS and walked about 2 miles in circles following an iPhone GPS.  But it was worth it...and I decided that karma or no karma I was going to have a perfect weekend....


We checked in and decided to have a short nap before we went out that night to BB King's place.  I was rolled up in the bedspread and getting into some serious napping, and then all hell broke loose...


But that story is for another day... :D
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