After saying good-bye to Derrick, his wife, and their baby, I headed towards Memphis, TN, passing through Arkansas along the way. Unfortunately, Arkansas isn’t a state to visit, but a state to drive through. There is nothing for tourists, but offers plenty of scenic driving routes that didn’t fit my direction anyways.
However, there is a giant Korean-style gate and memorial in Little Rock, AK called H.U. Lee International Gate. It’s to commemorate this Korean guy who lived in Arkansas and founded the American Taekwondo Association. Never in a million years would I have expected to find anything Korean in Arkansas, but adventure leads you to the least expected discoveries.
Sadly, I really had to pee when I got to Little Rock. I was hoping this Korean gate would have a public restroom but it was in a small place without convenient parking. I circled around the area until I thought my bladder was going to burst. So I just peeked at the gate from a far distance from my car then just headed towards a gas station with a bathroom since the possibility of an exploding bladder heavily outweighed my desire to visit a random Korean gate in Arkansas. Even after finding relief, I was so mentally worn out that I just went on towards Memphis without a second glance at the Korean gate.
In Memphis, I went to the Civil Rights Museum which is built around the old Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Having just previously been to where JFK was assassinated, I somehow found myself at a place of another assassination.
The Civil Rights Movement is such a big movement that I was overwhelmed by the flood of information, and ashamed at how little I knew about it. As an Asian in America, I benefit from the sacrifices and martyrdom of so many black folks of the Civil Rights Movement, yet I hardly know anything about its history. For the second time this year I wished I had paid more attention in history class.
After the museum, I went to try what “real southern BBQ” was like. I ate at “Central BBQ” which was admittedly one of the better BBQ I’ve had, but I wasn’t blown out of my mind. I guess I’ve been spoiled with too much great food in LA and Chicago.
When I finished eating, it was dark and raining pretty hard. However I had come too far to let petty rain hinder my tourism. I walked lonesomely through the downpour across the Harahan bridge across the Mississippi river to the border of Tennessee and Arkansas and took some selfies with my feet in 2 different states. I was the only one there and I looked as sketchy as heck but thankfully the police at the base of the bridge didn’t stop me.
By the time I drove to Beale Street, the rain had let down a bit. Beale Street is a strip of restaurants/bars/shops where live bands play every night. As the birthplace of blues and soul music, there was an unknown indie band playing at every other bar/restaurant. I walked into a random bar, drank whiskey from a plastic cup, and listened to a band I didn’t know for hours. I didn’t know any of their songs, but it was awesome to be in an environment where everybody loved music and played what they loved, regardless of how not-famous they were.