Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee

It is 2:17am and I am in a railway station in Fulton, Kentucky. It is a 'station' in function only -- the structure is a cross between a shed and a small Boy Scout hall.
I disembarked here with the sorriest group of people I have seen for, well, about three days. The all-time record goes to the procession of recessive deficient midget carnie freaks who visited a downtown New Orleans convenience store I went to recently. The main features of the interior were two 29" TV sets demonstrating, in full closeup fisheye glory, that you were being monitored for security purposes. Only a criminologist would take any pleasure in reviewing the footage of God's cruel mistakes buying 40-oz bourbon, returning sandwiches, and providing living proof that universal suffrage is a flawed conceit.

My last two days in New Orleans were spent in the music-ridden French Quarter, the Garden District, at a Latin Mass, and on Canal St.
The French Quarter is filled with restaurants and bars and street performers and broken glass, and is busiest on Bourbon St.
The Garden District is filled with palatial antebellum Southern mansions and follies, many of which are mildewed in genteel poverty.
I went to a Latin Mass at St Andrews, a 150-year-old cathedral, with the Brazilian guy who resolutely wore shorts everywhere. It involved a lot of standing, sitting and kneeling at seemingly random times, solemn parishioners, and flailingly bored children in their Sunday best.
Canal Street, the main drag through town, had sparse black pedestrians and me. Most of the larger buildings were boarded up and nail and hair salons predominated, perpetuating the increasingly bizarre decorative stylings of black teenage Southern girls, as if sporting pink sparkling nails and a plastered-down helmet can make up for having a fifth-grade vocabulary and directionless teeth.

I continued my search for edible American cuisine. I had a po' boy (Subway-style foot-long sandwich, but 50% wider), which tasted like somebody crying. I tried to get a sno-ball, but couldn't find anywhere that sold them; likewise a muffelletta.
This morning I connect with a train to Memphis, where the profitable parts of Elvis' memory generate money at $27 a head for the company which bought the Graceland tour rights twenty years ago. Also the spot where Martin Luther King got shot, the studio Elvis and Johnny Cash got their start in, and something to do with ducks living in a hotel. From there I will continue to Chicago, which I didn't give a fair shake last time, and on to Denver before going down the East Coast.

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