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Beale Street Blues (Visit to Memphis)
Carlos Santos, November 2000
Photo by Sandra Santos.

 Perspectiva de Beale Street.

Whoever strolls by in this street can't help imagining young Elvis walking by. That street has the scent of tradition, the blues are listened in each blues bar, each shop and restaurant; the commercial houses have speakers with the sound coming out to the exterior and each one plays its blues. If someone tells you "Good Morning" with every step you take, that's... Southern kindness.

Let's enter Elvis Presley's Memphis Restaurant. Whoever goes through the big doors will find a spacious place, with a decoration that touches the luxury, a stage with a giant screen where footage of some Elvis show are being shown and those speakers always providing the sound of the big songs of the legend that names this restaurant. 

In several exhibitors you can see many Elvis belongings that will astound you. In a Portuguese restaurant of that category, you'd come inside and would be served if you were wearing a suit and tie; not over there. Dress with jeans, shorts and t-shirt, go with tennis shoes or sandals, and you'll be served with all the kindness and attention - you won't feel a foreigner, you'll be wonderfully treated. The menu is great and you may well ask for one of the king's favourite dishes. For €30 / 6.000$00 two people are very sell served, surrounded by Elvis objects and music.

On the way out, after lunch, you can profit from admiring the windows of several shops, decorated with old and beautiful guitars, the most of them autographed by big blues legends. Be careful when you're walking, you may step on the marks of Jerry Lee Lewis hands on the sidewalk. Whatever shop you may visit, you'll see so many Elvis articles it will drive you out of your mind: from guitars that cost €498,00 / 1.000.000$00, to nailcutters that cost €2,50 / 500$00. If you want to visit a shop that has got everything, step inside Shwabs - a three floors store, so big that you hardly can move inside due to its many items for sale. Don't forget to photograph Elvis' statue in front of the restaurant where you just had your meal. Spend the afternoon shopping, since you don't have to spend lots of money in order to buy a bunch of beautiful things - I advise the great Elvis t-shirts. Stop in one of the many cafés to order a drink, it can be a cold Budweiser, and stay there just talking and, who knows? maybe, suddenly, you meet Jerry Schilling, a big Elvis friend. Talk to him, he's quite nice and will easily give you an autograph.

Let the night catch you in Beale Street, the neon signs will light up to greet you; they're so many, one more beautiful than the other, you'll want to photograph and film everything... and then, you stop and realize you're stepping the same grounds Elvis did, you're facing B.B. King's Blues Café on a street by the name Beale, where Elvis drank the spirit of the great men and became Elvis Presley. You thank Elvis for rock'n'roll... and then you feel those tears that aren't the least funny...


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