Monthly Archives: March 2010

A Fun Museum and Passover

I woke up around 10:45 am on March 29, 2010.  Ivan was already awake.  We got ready.  We headed to Eleven Eleven Mississippi for lunch.  Ivan read that it was a good restaurant, but it’s much cheaper at lunch time. 

Ivan and I shared the butternut squash soup for a starter.  Ivan loved it, I liked it as well but it was a bit too sweet.  We also shared a beet salad with grilled chicken and a Eleven Eleven BLT.  Their BLT stands for Bourbon apples, maine Lobster and Thyme remoulade.  We each had a glass of lovely Cape Indaba Shiraz during our lunch.  It was a very good meal.

Next, we drove to the City Museum.  The admission is $12 per person (even kids).  This museums is filled with slides, things to climb up and caves.  This is fun for both kids and adults.  Ivan and I love to play – we still act like we’re kids. The museum is old and some of it is in disrepair.  But, it’s still pretty cool.  They’re currently fixing things in the museum.

We climbed inside the whale’s mouth to explore.  It took us to the second level. There’s lots of slides to go on.  Outside there’s a big structure that you can climb on. 


There’s also a big area with a ball pit.  The balls are bigger than usual.  You can stand over the pit and kids throw up balls.  We tried to hit people with the balls.  Ivan went into the ball pit.  He had fun hitting the kids with the balls.  I hit him from above.

Here’s a video of Ivan playing in the Ball Pit:

Ivan and I went to walk up to go on the 10 story slide.  I was too tired to walk anymore.  Ivan went on it though.  It didn’t go that fast.  I went on a smaller one which was pretty slow too.

We spent 2 hours there.  It was tons of fun! 

Ivan drove us to Crown Candy Kitchen.  Their known for their malts.  If you can drink 5 malts within 30 minutes, you get it for free.  Ivan and I shared a chocolate banana malt.  Big Dave & Lil Dave (the monkeys we’re traveling with) each had a banana malt with extra bananas inside.  The malt was good.  It was Ivan’s first malt.  Crown Candy also makes their own chocolates.  We tried a raspberry filled chocolate.  The filling was way too sweet.  We bought a dozen chocolates for Sue and Ralph.

We drove back to the house.  Ivan helped out with dinner while I took a shower.  Ivan rolled matzah balls.  Ivan set the table.  I got dressed.  I also helped out in the kitchen.  Sue had invited us to Passover seder (a Jewish ritual feast).  It was my first Passover.  Ivan is Jewish and he hasn’t attended a Passover seder in six years.

People starting coming over.  We met Sue’s parents Liz and Henry.  Then, Sue & Ralph’s daughter Julie came.  She was with her friends Ericka and Sophie.

We read from a haggadah that was for children.  Some of the parts were actually wrong.  They read from the haggadah and it was mostly in English.  There was some Hebrew.  I just tried to pronounce it as well as I could.  Ivan can actually read Hebrew.  Everybody takes turns reading. 


There’s different things that you do like dip the parsley in the salt water and then eat it.  Also, you make a sandwich out of matzo, horseradish and charoset (mixture of walnuts, cinammon, wine, honey and apples) and eat it.  The ceremony only lasted 30 minutes.  Sometimes it can last hours.

We had matzo ball soup to start off with.  It was really good.  Ivan told Ericka that he rolled the matzo balls.

Next, it was time for the main course.  The food was set up in a buffet style.  There was beef brisket with carrots on top, kugel and salad.  Sue cooked a baked potato for me, Ivan and Ericka.  I had some beef brisket, kugel and salad.  Everything tasted really good.  Ivan didn’t have any beef since he doesn’t eat red meat.  For dessert, Sue made a tasty chocolate mousse.  It was really sweet and tasted great. 

At the end, half of a matzo is hidden.  You have to try to find it.  Ericka found the matzo which was hidden behind a table.  Usually at the end, you play games.  But, Ivan was going to be the entertainer for the night.  Julie really wanted to be hypnotized.

We went down to the basement.  Ivan did the hypnosis induction on Julie, Ericka and Sophie.  Julie was the most hypnotized while Ericka was the least hypnotized.  Julie talked on multiple phones which were actually people’s shoes, forgot her name, forgot the number 3 and saw Ivan and me as her parents.  Everybody thought it was really funny. 


We said goodbye to everybody as they left. 


Driving to Saint Louis

Ivan and I packed up our backpacks on March 28, 2010.  We checked out of the hotel. 

Ivan drove to Wolfgang Puck Express for lunch.  We went to the counter to order and then we sat down.  They bring your food to your table. 


Ivan got a bowl of tortilla soup and a spicy chicken pizza.  I got a margherita pizza.  The food was awesome. 

We started driving to St. Louis at 4 pm.  We drove through Kentucky and Illinois.  It was rainy for the beginning of the trip.  I don’t like driving in the rain.  But, you gotta do, what you gotta do.

We got to St. Louis about 9 pm.  I stopped at a Subway to get a chicken flatbread sandwich.

We arrived at Sue and Ralph’s house at 9:30 pm.  They’re a married couple who are couchsurfers.  We would be staying with them for a few nights.  We talked to Sue and Ralph for awhile.  Ralph went to bed early.  Sue talked with us longer.  She’s very friendly.  She showed us the tour of the house.

We went to the basement (the room we were staying in) and used the internet. 


A Chill Day

Ivan and I packed everything up on March 27, 2010.  We followed Kristina to the Loveless Cafe at 2 pm.  She recommended that we go there.  It’s also high up on the Nashville restaurants on Tripadvisor.

It was a long 30 minute drive there.  We were told that there’s an hour and fifteen minute wait for a table.  It was a great day out so it seemed like everybody was at the cafe.

We walked around the shops around the cafe.  I really liked the store Curious Heart.  The wait was actually only 45 minutes.

We were brought biscuits with three different jams.  The biscuits were hot and tasted great.


Kristina, Ivan and me at Loveless Cafe

Ivan had the grilled catfish and I got the chicken fingers with BBQ sauce.  It was great food!

We said goodbye and thank you to Kristina.  We had a great time with Kristina and Chris in Nashville.  They’re lots of fun and very giving people.

We drove to Aloft Hotel.  We checked in there.


We got a nice room.

We wanted to chill for the day.  We were so tired.  We watched some tv and used the free wi-fi in the room.

Ivan drove a few minutes to the movie theatre.  We saw the funny movie Hot Tub Time Machine.

We were driving around to find a place to eat.  We decided to go to Wolfgang Puck Express.  You can either eat in or do take out.

Ivan ordered a tortilla soup and a salmon salad.  I got a pesto chicken sandwich.  We took the food back to the hotel.  The food was delicious.

We chilled at the hotel for the night.  We watched The Ricky Gervais Show and then off to sleep.


Popsicles, Art and Karaoke

Ivan and I left the house around 1 pm on March 26, 2010.  We drove to Las Paletas Gourmet Popsicles.  I saw it as the #1 Nashville restaurant on Tripadvisor.  The popsicles are $2.50 each.  Ivan got the creamy chocolate banana while I got strawberry blueberry.


It was really good!  The popsicles are made of real fruit.  There’s nothing artificial about these tasty popsicles!

Ivan drove us to the Farmer’s Market.  We stopped at the Jamaicaway restaurant for lunch.  Ivan had the jerk chicken while I had the chicken curry.  The food tasted great.  We walked around and bought a few things.

We went to the Frist Center Art Museum.  There was a kewl exhibit with kinetic sculptures by U-Ram Choe.  The metal sculptures actually moved.


It was a small exhibit though.  I didn’t know that you’re not supposed to take pictures in the museum, but I took a few before they told me.  We saw the Heroes exhibit which has objects related to Myths of Greece.  Then, we went to Artquest.  It’s for kids, but we enjoyed it a lot.  You can draw pictures in there, make your own video and make a vase out of charcoal.

We stopped by Las Paletas.  We bought popsicles for Chris, Kristina, their kids and us.  We drove back to the house.

We chilled at the house.  We were all a bit tired.

Kristina drove Chris, me and Ivan to dinner around 9:50 pm.  We went to Suzy Wong’s House of Yum.  You can get shared plates, salads and bowls.  We got edamame, spicy tuna roll, chicken katsu bites and potato & tofu bites to start off with.  The food was delicious!  The spicy tuna roll wasn’t actually a roll, it was in a seaweed cone.  The chicken katsu bites came with two great sauces.  We decided to get Chicken Penang Curry bowl with brown rice.  The chicken penang was awesome.  We had a great meal.

Kristina drove us to The Corner Bar.  It was time for karaoke.  Kristina and Chris are regulars at this karaoke bar.  We met a few of their friends.  We all wrote down a few songs to sing.  We gave it to the karaoke host.  Kristina sang Spiderwebs by No Doubt.  She’s an awesome singer and she makes actions while she sings that match the song.  Ivan and I sang How Much is that Doggy in the Window?  I made doggy barks throughout the song.  It was really funny.  Chris sang Roadside Blues by The Doors.  He’s an awesome singer as well.


Chris, Tavius and their friends doing the YMCA

Ivan and I sang YMCA.  The karaoke host turned down Ivan’s microphone for no reason.  What a jerk!  He did it a couple times when we were both singing.  He’s not a good karaoke host.

We also sang 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton.


Grabbing Ivan's fake boobs

Ivan stuffed his jumper in his shirt to make it look like he had boobs.

We had a fun time singing karaoke with Chris, Kristina and their friends.

Kristina drove everybody to Waffle House.  We met their two friends there.  I can only remember the guy’s name which was Tavius.  I can’t recall his girlfriend’s name.  She was so cute though.  Ivan and I shared the hash browns with onions and mushrooms.  We each had a waffle.  The food was really good.  We arrived back at the house around 4 am.


Hockey Game

Ivan and I were up around 11 am on March 25, 2010.  Chris drove us to meet Kristina at Couva Calypso Cafe for lunch.

We sat down and ordered food.  Ivan and I shared the black bean dip and half of a rotisserie chicken with Jamaican curried sauce.  The chicken dish came with sweet potatoes and coleslaw.  The chicken was very tasty!

We chilled at the house and used the internet.  The kids came back from school.

We got ready for the hockey game.  Chris let Ivan wear his old Predator’s jersey.  Kristina got free tickets for the Predators game.  Chris drove us all to the hockey game.  It started raining really hard while we were driving towards the arena.

Ivan wanted a Gnash sign – it’s a sign with the mascot and a pom-pom attached to it.  It was stupidly only for kids 5 and under.  Ivan went back later and said that his kid lost his sign and was now crying.  So, he asked if he could have two more signs.  The person asked where was his kid.  He said he was upstairs.  The person did give him the signs.

The game was the Nashville Predators versus the Phoenix Coyotes.  We had good seats.  It’s really fun being in the audience cheering your team on.  Ivan and I got tasty chicken noodles bowls for dinner.


The game was exciting.  We liked waving around our Gnash signs.  A guy kept yelling Let’s Go Phoenix.  But, I thought he was saying Let’s Go Penis.  We thought it was really funny.  The game was tied, so it went into overtime.  Nobody scored in overtime, so it went to a shootout.  The Predators won the shootout, winning the game 4 to 3.

Kristina thought we should go honky tonkying on Broadway.  We met up with Julio, a couchsurfer from Florida.  Julio asked me to hold a shot glass for him so he wouldn’t lose it.  I put the shot glass in my purse.  Our first stop was the very crowded bar Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.  We just walked through there.  It was too crowded to stay.

Our next stop was Robert’s Western World.


There was a band playing there.  We grabbed a table in the back.  But, it was right by the bathroom, so it smelled like piss.  We had a drink in there and then left for the next bar.

We walked across the street to Paradise Park.  It’s a trailer park themed bar.  There was fake green grass, a wrecked car and lawn chairs in the front.  It didn’t really have much theming to it in my opinion.


The bar has a trailer park restaurant.  Ivan decided to get a grilled cheese sandwich for us to share.  It was alright – I thought they needed to melt the cheese more.  There was a band playing fast country.  We don’t like country music, but this band was pretty good.

Chris asked if we were ready to go and we said yes.  Chris had to work in the morning.  We said goodbye to Julio.  He was headed back to Florida in the morning.

Chris drove us back to their house.  I noticed that I still had the shot glass in my purse.  So, he did lose it after all.  But, we gained a shot glass.  So Thanks, Julio!  Chris said that Ivan could keep the Predators jersey.  How sweet!  We used the internet for awhile and then it was bed time.


Music Tour and Nashville

Ivan and I woke up around 10 am on March 24, 2010.  We packed everything up. 

Ivan, Renaud and I left Gabe’s house around 10:30 am.  Gabe is a funny guy and fun to hang out with.  Renaud was also going to Nashville.  So, he would be joining us on our drive there.  Ivan and I wanted to check out the Peabody Ducks at the Peabody Hotel.  The ducks are led by the Duckmaster (a guy in a red suit) that takes them from their Penthouse on the roof and they come down in an elevator.  The ducks walk along the red carpet into the fountain in the lobby.  Unfortunately, we were like 2 minutes late, so we missed all that.  We saw the ducks swimming away in the fountain.  At 5 pm, the ducks are led by the Duckmaster up the elevator back to their Penthouse. 

We went up to the roof (floor S in the elevator).  We saw the Duck’s Penthouse there.  The view was nothing special.  You could see a lot of the Downtown buildings though.

We walked to McEwan’s for lunch.  Ivan saw that it was the #1 Memphis restaurant on Tripadvisor.  He also read online that it was a lot cheaper at lunch time.  Ivan and I shared the smoked trout salad which was really big and tasty.  We had the grilled yellowtail tuna dish and the special which was grilled shrimp with soba noodles.  The dishes are reasonably priced with the most expensive dish being $11.  We talked with Renaud.  It was a delicious meal.   

We walked to the Backbeat Tours ticket window.  Ivan had already booked the Memphis Mojo Tour.  Renaud bought a ticket.  Ivan picked up our tickets.  We had time to spare before the tour.  We checked out a souvenir shop and then sat down in a bar.

We got on the bus and grabbed some musical instruments on the way to our seats.  Ivan grabbed the drums while I got the tambourine.  Renaud got an egg shaker (a maraca but in an egg shape).

Our tour guide was a guy named Jake Fly.  He sang good.  He told us about music history and sang songs. 


We got to play our instruments along with Jake.  It was lots of fun!  We saw lots of different places like WDIA radio station, the apartment where Elvis lived before Graceland, Sam Phillips Recording Service, Overton Park, the place where Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and Stax Records.  We made a stop at Sun Records.  It was time for a bathroom break.  You could also buy souvenirs there.  Sun Records is where Elvis recorded his songs for the first time.

Here’s a video of our tour guide singing:

I started driving to Nashville, Tennessee at 3:50 pm.  So far, we’ve driven 4,039 miles on our trip.  We did stop at Wal Mart.  I had to buy a memory card reader since my old one broke.  Ivan bought some food. 

We arrived in Nashville at 7:40 pm.  We dropped off Renaud near Fido’s.  He would be meeting the couchsurfer he was staying with there.  We said good bye to Renaud.

Ivan drove us to the couchsurfer’s house we’d be staying with.  It’s a family.  Kristina and Chris are the parents and they have three kids – twins (a boy and girl) and another boy – all about the same age.  The kids are so cute!  They gave us a tour of their lovely house.  The kids went to bed maybe 15 minutes later. 

We talked to Kristina and Chris for awhile.  They’re really funny and fun.  They love karaoke.  We said good night and went off to bed.



Ivan was already up when I woke up at 11 am on March 23, 2010.  We got ready.

Doug drove me, Ivan, Renaud and Trent to CK’s Coffee Shop.  It’s really weird because it’s a smoking establishment so you have to be 21 years old to eat there.  We walked in and it was like an oven.  It was very smoky – it needed to be aired out.  It was really gross.  The food took 30 minutes to arrive.  Ivan and I both had the omelet with onions.  The food was average.

We went back to the house.  Ivan drove with me, Renaud and Trent in the car.  We were headed to Graceland.  Ivan and I aren’t big fans of Elvis Presley.  But, we heard Graceland is pretty cool to see.

We all bought the same package for $34 each.  We boarded the shuttle.  It took us across the street to the Graceland house.

We walked through the house.  The audio guide is really good.  We couldn’t go upstairs since Elvis thought the area was private.  He only allowed guests to the house to access the downstairs area.


It seems like there was always something going on at Graceland.

I saw a video of Elvis on a show.  They made him wear a suit and he sang Hound Dog while singing to a bassett hound who was wearing a little hat.  I thought it was really funny.  The dog didn’t know what was going on.  He was just chilling there.  Elvis hugged him while he was singing to him.

We checked out his automobiles.  The Pink Cadillac was pretty cool.

We went to visit the new exhibit Fashion King.  It shows so many shirts, scarves, hats and suits that Elvis wore.


He was very fashionable and loved to look good.

After every area, there was also a gift shop.  It was like they didn’t want you to miss out on an Elvis souvenir.  It’s too bad that none of my family members like Elvis, otherwise I wouldn’t be short of things to buy.

We left around 4 pm.  Ivan and I had to print a few things off – so we were in search of a Fedex Office.  We finally found one after two failed attempts.  The GPS told us that Kinko’s were in two spots but it was wrong.  Fedex bought out Kinko’s so now the Kinko’s are becoming Fedex Offices.

We got back to Gabe’s house at 6 pm.

We took two cars to the restaurant SOB (which stands for South of Beale – with Beale referring to Beale Street).  It was me, Ivan, Gabe, Renaud and Trent.  Gabe’s friends own the restaurant.  Everybody shared the big portion of hummus.  It comes with olives, red peppers, eggplant, anchovies and unlimited pita bread.  We talked and joked around.

Ivan and I shared the delicious Ahi Tuna with crispy rice balls, spicy mayo and avocado.  We also had a white fish meal.  We each had a glass of Riesling.  For dessert, we shared a nice chocolate creme brulee. It was really good food.

Gabe, Renaud and Trent went back in Gabe’s car.  Ivan and I decided to walk along Beale Street.  It was a lot busier than the night before.

We didn’t want to stop in the bars so we headed back to the house.


Renaud, Ivan, Gabe and me

We said goodbye and thanks to Gabe.  Soon, we went to bed.



Ivan and I checked out of the Shack Up Inn at 12:30 pm on March 22, 2010. 


We walked around to see the shacks and took a few pictures.

We drove to the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale.  It’s owned by the actor Morgan Freeman. 


Ivan read that Morgan Freeman visits his blues club weekly with his wife.  Ivan and I shared the chicken salad.  Ivan had a tasty catfish sandwich while I had a chicken sandwich with grilled green peppers and onions.  The food was tasty.

Ivan started driving towards Tunica, Mississippi at 2:50 pm.   Tunica is a town filled with casinos.  There are different casinos like Harrah’s, Gold Strike, Sam’s Town and Fitzgerald’s.  We went inside the Gold Strike.  It’s just like any other casino we’ve seen in Las Vegas. 

Ivan started driving towards Memphis, Tennessee.  We arrived at 5:45 pm.

We walked around Beale Street.  We checked out souvenir shops and the menus of restaurants.


We decided to have dinner at King’s Palace Cafe.  Ivan and I shared the tasty crab cakes for a starter.  Then, we shared the Voodoo Chicken which is a chicken breast marinated in dark plantation rum and cajun spices.  The chicken breast had a great taste, but it was really small.  It came with a heaping cup of mashed potatoes.  We wished that it came with more chicken instead of the mashed potatoes.  Our waiter kept calling Ivan “Young Man”.  But, I asked him to bring hot sauce and he called me Ma’am.  I didn’t think that was right.  I should have called him Old Man.  There was a guy playing the guitar in the lounge.  He was just alright.

We went across the street to BB King’s.  It was a $3 cover per person to get in.  We got seats at the bar.  The BB King All-stars were starting to play.  A singer named Rodney Tate joined in to sing.  He had a great voice and he kept dancing around and clapping his hands.  Renaud (the French couchsurfer we met in Jackson) sent a text and said he was in a bar on Beale Street with another couchsurfer.  We were planning to meet them soon.

We went to the bar but we didn’t see Renaud there.  Ivan got a text a few minutes later that Gabe (the couchsurfer we would be staying with for 2 nights) was now at home. 

We drove to Gabe’s house.  It’s actually in a suburb of Memphis.  We arrived at his house.  We met Gabe.  We also met Trent, a guy from San Antonio, who would also be staying at Gabe’s.  We said hello to Renaud. 

We talked with everybody.  Gabe’s roommate Doug came home from work.  We chilled and chatted.  Everybody’s really funny and cool.

We used the internet for awhile and then went to sleep.



Ivan and I slept in on March 21, 2010.  We woke up at 11:30  am.

Carl wanted to take us to Lumpkin’s BBQ for lunch.  We drove about 20 minutes to get there from his apartment.


Lumpkin’s BBQ is a buffet.  There was lots of black people there who were dressed up.  Carl told us the night before that they would be dressed up because they had just come from church.

Ivan and I grabbed some food.  I had some grilled catfish, corn, chicken and corn bread.  The catfish was really good.

Carl makes a CD for practically all the couchsurfers that stay with him.  We forgot ours, so we headed back to his house.  We said good bye and thanks to Carl.  We s. aid good bye to Renaud and Whitley.  We would be seeing Renaud again on Monday since he’s staying with the same couchsurfer we’d be staying with in Memphis, Tennessee.  We had a great time staying with Carl.  He definitely knows how to show couchsurfers a good time in Jackson.

We listened to cool Carl’s CD in the car after transfering it to my iPod.  It has blues and r ‘n b on it.

I drove the whole way to Clarksdale, Mississippi.  It took 2 hours and 45 minutes without any stops.

We checked in at the Shack Up Inn.  They have farm shacks that have old style furniture and decorations inside.  We decided to take a room that’s built in the old cotton gin which they call Bins.  The friendly lady at the front desk told us that a Mexican restaurant and a Pizza place should be open for dinner.


We put our things down in the room.  It has a tv, fridge and a microwave in the room as well.

Ivan called the Pizza place and it was actually closing at 8 pm which was in 10 minutes.  Ivan found out that the Mexican restaurant was open until 10 pm.

Ivan drove to Atzimba Mexican Restaurant.  We got some guacamole.  We shared the chicken soup, chicken burrito and shrimps in a hot sauce.  The hot sauce wasn’t very hot at all.

We went back to the hotel.  We watched a few episodes of The Inbetweeners and then went to bed.


St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Ivan woke me up around 11:30 am on March 20, 2010.  We had to get ready for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  Carl had already left since he would be riding his bike in the parade.

I was running behind.  Everybody showered.  Ivan drove me and Renaud to the parade.  Carl texted to say that we should go around the Capital Building.

Carl said it would be hard to find parking close by.  Everybody was parking on the side of the road or on the grass or gravel.  Then, they would walk to the parade.  We found a spot.  It took us a few minutes to walk to the parade.  

There was lots of floats coming back.  There was lots of green, Oscar the Grouch, Kermit the Frog, Shrek and other green characters.  Some spent a lot of time on their floats while other didn’t. 


People were throwing beads from their float along with toys and t-shirts. 

We saw Carl come by on his bike.  He got off his bike trying to rile up the crowd and put beads on people. 

We kept walking along the St. Patrick’s Day Parade during the pauses between the floats.  We walked a lot that day.  It was really tiring.

We reached the end of the parade.  Renaud (the French couchsurfer) sent a text to Carl to see if he could meet us at the end of the parade.

Ivan made a big necklace that was made out of linked beads.  One end was around my neck and one around Ivan’s neck.  Ivan came up with the idea of playing jump rope with it. 


Carl decided to jump in our necklace rope.  But, eventually the necklace breaks since it’s not really that strong.

We left the parade at 4:50 pm.  We were going to a coffee shop but Carl’s friend Steve called him.  He said that he was having a party at his house.  So, we drove to Steve’s house.  He has a lovely house with a big porch out front.  Steve told us to make ourselves at home.  We met his pretty daughter Emily.  We chatted with the locals.  We some some drinks there.  Everybody was very friendly.  It was great hearing their Mississippi accents.  We had some pizza and salad there for dinner.

Carl said it was time to leave.  We said thank you to Steve and left.

Carl drove us to our car.  We followed Carl to F. Jones Corner.  There was a crappy band on outside.  We walked inside and nothing was going on.

We drove back to Carl’s apartment.  Everybody was so tired from walking a lot during the parade.  We used the internet and then soon went to bed.

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