Friday, August 29, 2008

Day Four: Music City.

Had a nice relaxing morning, made some much needed phone calls and organized some of the later parts of the trip before going into town. We decided to hit up centennial park which was built primarily in the last decade of the 1800's for some sort of world's fair celebration type thing. It may have been the strangest park I've ever been to in my life. For starters, they have a life sized replica of the Parthenon which was just a really really bizarre thing to see in the middle of the South. Plopped down in the middle of this huge expanse of park, for seemingly no reason at all, to 'inspire the greatness of ancient greece in Nashville' or some baloney like that.

We kept wandering and found... with no explanation at all for its existence, a huge prow of a ship in the park, again plopped down, as if flung through the sky at random and just fell there and no one decided to move it since then. An enormous concrete piece of confusion. Also, there was a giant clam shell in the park (like 10 feet high). You get the idea... it was weird.

Tried to find some authentic Nashville cooking for lunch and failed miserably by winding up at a chain roadhouse, but the food was decent enough so whatever. Went to public library, local brewery, got ripped off for parking, other tourist crap etc etc.

Then went to Opry land to see the grand ole opry, which if you don't know is the place that housed the radio station(of the same name) that 'started' country music. It was extremely depressing. The building was torn down/rebuilt in the late 60s I believe (the original is known as Ryman Auditorium, which I have heard is still an amazing venue). What was once known as an impromptu free-wheeling relaxed good time featuring musicians like Johnny Cash, Flatt&Scruggs, Bill Monroe, Minnie Pearl, and countless other classic and excellent bluegrass/country/old-timey music, is now a huge commercial mega-stage with absolutely no soul, surrounded by huge malls and right next to Opryland, the largest hotel in the country. Evan had worked at Opryland as a caterer so gave us a bit of an insider's tour, which was pretty neat. The have indoor atriums that are practically jungles and everything is just enormous. It reminded me a bit of the Venetian hotel in Vegas, in that over the top, fake, touristy crap everywhere sense. Definately interesting to see, as well as a little depressing.

Next we dropped in on Beth's other friend from Rochester, Mike, who was having a birthday party that night and didn't know Beth was in town. It was a good surprise, and stayed at the party for a bit and met some pretty cool kids. Took the long drive back to Christiana with visions of N'awlins ahead...

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