Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Walking into Clarksdale

I'm on me hols. Going to Nashville, ultimately, but so far have spent two hours circling Houston in a hurricane, two hours on the ground in Austin avoiding a hurricane in Houston, a couple of hours running from terminal to terminal in Houston, and an hour or so chasing down my luggage, which didn't make it on to the plane with me. (I'd blame the hurricane, but the system knew *I* was on the plane, so I'm not sure how it failed to get my baggage along with me. And also I didn't actually plan to check the damn bag anyway - they insisted I did because "the plane is full" by the time I got to walk down the jetway, which wasn't my fault (I suspect the $45 checked baggage charge has a lot to do with it). ) Oh, and I spent about three hours on planes actually getting to Memphis, which is where I am now.

After all that the plane shennanigans, we drove down to Clarksdale to stay in a tin shack (in my case) and a wooden shack (in my companion's case) at the remarkably well-done, well-marketed and all around fun Shack Up Inn.

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That's the Pony outside a few shacks. Her name is Lucifer.

So far we've discovered:

a) The Mississippi delta is really flat.
b) They grow a lot of cotton here.
c) Apart from crops, the main export is selling Blues kitsch to tourists like us.
d) The Crossroads - you know THE Crossroads - is still there, sort of.

We've eaten catfish, and fried green tomatoes and hush puppies and deep fried battered green bell pepper rounds and hot tamales. Hot tamales (at Hicks) were essential, as delta hot tamales are legendary. Robert Johnson sings about them.

We went to the Delta Blues Museum, where I had a choice of harmonicas in C or in C - so I chose C; even though I don't need a C harp, I suspect Clarksdale needs the money. And we trawled a bunch of folk art stores - including Cat Head - with some wonderful pieces that wouldn't survive a trip in stupid Continental airline's stupid Baggage Losing service, so we didn't get any.

Then we went to Tutwiler. But I'll talk about that later. More southern food calls.

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