That Vacation Trip, Day 3-B: A Guitar-Shaped Pool

Now that the holiday is over and my judging responsibilities have been met, back to catch-up blogging–at least for awhile yet.

So, we saw Graceland. There was so much more I had wanted to see of Memphis if we’d had more time: the Sun Studio, The National Civil Rights Museum in the old Lorain Motel where Martin Luther King was shot, the parks on the banks of the Mississippi, and more. Diamondqueen did drive us over to Marion, AR to look for the Sultana sites I described here, so by the time we were back in Memphis we were absolutely shot. We rested and snacked; because of our huge breakfast at iHop, we’d planned to skip lunch and have a decent dinner.

After awhile Diamondqueen and S.Hooligan decided to go swimming in the hotel’s guitar-shaped pool. I was torn. On the one hand, I was still exhausted even after a nap; and my vaginal discomfort had morphed into a constant dull irritation at best–I wasn’t sure what would happen if I went into a pool full of chlorinated water.

I let S. and Diamondqueen go on without me, but the opportunity to swim in a guitar-shaped pool was too strong. I changed into my bathing suit, staring in dismay at how badly the abdominal hernia was protruding on the left side. (I looked mildly pregnant in a lopsided way.) I crossed my arms across my belly, left J.Hooligan behind (he had no interest in swimming), and headed for the pool.

The guitar-shaped pool at night.

The guitar-shaped pool at night.

The hot sun had been beating on the water all day; it felt more like a hot tub than a swimming pool but still refreshing. I didn’t notice any spike in irritation from the chemicals, so I swam freely and really enjoyed it. (Although when I first approached her in the water, S.Hooligan shot out one of her long legs and kicked me right in the hernia. She definitely meant to kick me, just not right there.) We were relieved to see that S.Hooligan hadn’t forgotten how to swim. She paddled sleekly through the tepid water among the interesting assortment of hotel guests. We heard German and maybe one other language. I had to wonder how big a thing it was for a foreigner to stay in that weird hotel.

I had my heart set on going to dinner somewhere on or near Beale Street. I wanted to at least see the famous street, if only as a point of reference. Naturally, nothing I suggested from our tour booklet sounded good to anyone. J.Hooligan was okay if the restaurant served cheeseburgers. S.Hooligan insisted she was NOT going out to eat, and from there things got ugly.

We finally settled on the Hard Rock Cafe, since the menu was somewhat familiar from other visits and J. could get his cheeseburger. However. S.Hooligan went into hysterics and wouldn’t leave the hotel room. J.Hooligan and I stood the havoc for awhile, then we decided maybe it would be better if we waited in the parking lot.

We had a long wait in the early evening heat. Finally I said we’d better go back to the room and check. Diamondqueen met us with the room door half opened. They were close to being ready, she said. Just give them a few minutes.

J.Hooligan and I returned to the parking lot. I opened the van so we could sit down and enjoy a little air-conditioning. At last Diamondqueen and S.Hooligan appeared, both looking very worn around the edges.

S.Hooligan distracted by a video at the Hard Rock Cafe.

S.Hooligan distracted by a video at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Downtown, we managed to find a parking lot about a block over from Beale Street that wasn’t charging an arm and a leg. It wasn’t quite dark yet. As we walked to the Hard Rock Cafe, we saw that there was a massive congregation of motorcycles in one stretch of Beale Street that had been closed off to regular traffic. The neon lights of the clubs and eateries had already come on and gave the area a carnival feel.

We had a decent enough meal at the Hard Rock Cafe. I was surprised that my pulled pork was actually pretty good. S.Hooligan ate something, I don’t remember what, but at least she settled down and even communicated from time to time. Videos broadcast on large screens provided valuable distractions.

A very crowded, very colorful Beale Street.

A very crowded, very colorful Beale Street.

After dinner I insisted we had to walk at least a block on Beale Street. It was clogged with people and noisy on several levels, but it was fun to just walk through. We popped into a few souvenir and gift shops, although they were heavy on Elvis crap or just pure junk. Sometimes we passed a club and got a sample of the music and crowd noise through the open door.

We circled back to the parking garage. On the drive back to the hotel, Diamondqueen followed tourist signs to the Lorain Motel. We parked a few seconds and gazed; I don’t think the walkway where King was assassinated was visible, but at least I had some sense of where it had happened.

I had another difficult night. My stomach was upset and my crotch hurt. I was just as glad we’d be starting the first leg of our homeward trek in the morning.

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