February 17, 2011

Walking in Memphis

The last weekend Leila and I traveled from Knoxville to Nashville, where we spent a couple of great days with her parents. We went to another beautiful cemetary which is one of the activities that come from hanging out with egyptologists that spend months working on papers about writings on ancient tombs :) Cemetaries have a very peculiar and usually very peaceful atmosphere, especially if they are old. And the cemetaries I have been to on this trip have both been from the mid-nineteenth century. Great places for sunny afternoon walks!

So now, since Monday, I am in Memphis. I am staying with a couchsurfer near the University of Memphis, which is one of the two universities in town. The campus is about 10 kilometers from downtown, so I would be a little cut off from the life of the city, if it it wasn't for my great host who lets me borrow his bike. My face is tan and my hair is all sunny and bushy from the driving wind all day. I went geocaching of course, which led me to great places such as Chickasaw Park which I doubt many tourists ever get to see, because it is a secluded rather rich neighbourhood with a lake in the middle. They even have turtles in their pond that disappear under water when one gets too close. Places like these let you forget that Memphis is one of the cities with the highest murder rates in the US.

Everybody I have talked to has warned me of certain things. Don't ride the Greyhound bus (which I have done twice now, without any problems), stay away from the dangerous areas of town, don't you dare to hitchhike (remember: axe-murderers everywhere) and don't come close to the border with Mexico. The drug cartels sometimes kidnap people like me for ransom. So this fear and fright that is ever present when talking to Americans about my trip has left me wondering. Am I really a target? Is this a dangerous country? I agree that there are guns everywhere and every major city in the world has areas you should not be wandering around in at night, but my experience so far has been extremely positive. It's always better to be on the safe side, so I mind every warning I get, but if every driver on the road was an axe-murderer, where do all the normal people drive?

Anyway :) I have installed an album for all who want some pictures to illustrate my stories here in the upper right corner of this blog. Just click on the picture and you are directly transferred to the album at Picasaweb. It's the easiest way for me to constantly update and share pictures with you, so check back with the album every once in a while for updates.

Have a great week everybody!

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