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One World in One Lifetime

Archive for the ‘Tennessee’ Category

The First Goodbye

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 20, 2010

September 8, 2003

All Pictures

smoking trees

Smoky?

They are called the “Smoky Mountains” for a reason. The trees smoke. When you go there, the park rangers can explain it to you in more scientific terms. But, basically the moisture in the tree evaporates a lot. Even on cold days you can see steam, vapor, whatever you want to call it, coming out of the trees, giving the mountains a smoky look.

tired

The Last American Days

This stop was the beginning of the last trip I took in the US before moving to the UK. I planned to go to school in Manchester, England for a year and wanted to see my brother and sister before I left. My brother came down from Ohio to meet me at Gatlinburg, Tennessee to say his last goodbyes.

After this, my mom and I drove to Colonial Williamsburg and then to my sister’s place. We toured Washington D.C. and my car was sold. I left for England from Dulles Airport via Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. But all those photos are lost.

at Clingman’s Dome

What, me scared?

I was excited about living outside the US for the first time in my life. I’d traveled to other countries before, but never alone. Everyone else in my family had lived abroad. In fact, I’m the only one who was born in the US.

My mother is from Belize. She went to college in Costa Rica and lived there for 2 years. She worked in Guatemala for 2 years. Then she married a Panamanian and lived in Panama for 5 years. That’s where my brother and sister were born.

My family leaving Panama.

The family moved from Panama to the Cayman Islands and spent 2.5 years there before moving to Jamaica. After 3 years in Jamaica everyone moved back to the Cayman Islands for another 2.5 years. In 1979, they moved to St. Croix. One month after that move, I was born. That’s when the family decided to stop moving.

So, I’d never lived outside the US.

This is my sister driving somewhere in DC

So was I scared to move away from all my friends and family? No. Well… not in Gatlinburg.

The fear started to creep in the day I left for Manchester. My sister was driving me to the airport. We were on the Rock Creek Parkway when it hit me what an insane thing I was doing.

In my head I began to think. “I don’t know anyone over there! What if I get sick? What if I get hit by a bus and die? Would I be buried over there in an unmarked grave since there would be no next of kin to identify me? What do I do when I need money?”

My sister looked over at me and asked me if I was okay. I told her I was feeling a little scared. “What if this is the worst decision I would ever make in my entire life?” I felt like I was about to cry.

She kept her eyes on the road and said, “Oh, don’t worry about it. Once you get over there and start making friends you’ll be fine.”

The view from my dorm room in Manchester

I did make friends very quickly. There were a couple ladies on my flight from Chicago who were also attending the University of Manchester. I would end up seeing much of England with them. We hung out for most of that first day.

Americans in England

What? No Really, can you say that in English?

Because of jet lag, my new friends decided to go take naps and left me on my own shortly after I got to the university. I needed to get some water so I walked to a nearby corner store before heading to my dorm to take a nap myself. I picked up a bottle of water and asked the clerk how much it cost.

Clerk: ????????

Me: “What?”

Clerk: ????????

Me: “What?”

Clerk: ????????

Me: “What?”

Clerk: ????????

Me: “Can you write that down?”

He typed the price into a calculator. Apparently he was used to dealing with the foreign exchange students who spoke very little English. But come on, English is my first language! …my only language.

I could tell that he was speaking English, but I had no idea what he was saying. His words sounded like fast mumbling. “Will all the British sound like this?” I wondered. “How will I pass my classes if I can’t even understand what the teachers are saying?”

I went up to my dorm room and cried for a good hour. I wanted to go home. I wanted to be back in the US where I can understand people when they speak. Then it hit me that I didn’t know where to go to buy things.

In the US if I need a hammer, I’d go to Home Depot or Lowes. Where do I go here? If I need medicine I’d go to CVS or RiteAid. Where do I go here? If I need an oil change I go to Jiffy Lube. Where do I go here? (But really I could just go to Wal-mart and get all those things done.) Then I cried some more.

“I don’t have a car anymore!” More tears.

Then I stopped. Going back was not an option. I had already paid for my return ticket to visit my sister at Christmas and started paying for my tuition. There was no money left for me to turn back now. I washed my face.

The thing I needed most was more friends. When you’re in a new country, the one thing you can’t have too much of is a social network. So I went downstairs into the courtyard and socialized. I spent the rest of the day hanging out with Irene from China. She was a great person.

My sister was right. By the next day I was fine!

All Pictures


 

The United States of America

How to get there:

You can enter my country by land, air, or sea. But I think flight would be your transportation method of choice.

I have no clue how to get a visa to the US or who needs one. Just assume that you need one if you are not American or Canadian and check with your local US embassy.

Phone:

  • Use 911 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance
  • Use 411 for information (This might cost money.)

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • It’s a big country. You’re going to need a car.

The Great Smoky Mountains

How to get there:

From Gatlinburg –

  • Take I-40, exit 407 (Sevierville) to TN-66 South.
  • At the Sevierville intersection, continue straight onto US-441 South.
  • Follow US-441 through Sevierville and Pigeon Forge into park.

Address:

107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Phone:

  • (865) 436-1200

Website:

Downloads:

Cost:

  • FREE!! This is actually the only free national park in the US.

Hours:

  • Open year round 24 hours a day.
  • Closed only for bad weather

Clingmans Dome

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 35°33’46.0″N 83°29’54.5″W
  • Turn off Newfound Gap Road 0.1 mile south of Newfound Gap.
  • Follow the 7-mile-long Clingmans Dome Road to the large parking area at the end

Website:

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • Clingmans Dome is open year-round.
  • The road leading to it is closed from December 1 through March 31,
  • It is also closed whenever weather conditions require.

Notes:

  • It is a long hike up to the dome, but not so difficult that an average semi-healthy person could not make it up there eventually. But it is not as easy as it looks.
  • This place has an amazing view of both Tennessee and North Carolina, but not on foggy days. Check the weather forecast before you hike up there for nothing.
  • The Appalachian Trail crosses Clingmans Dome.
  • It can be 10 -20 degrees Fahrenheit cooler up Clingmans Dome than the rest of the area.
  • It was named after Thomas Lanier Clingman.

Map:

Posted in Cherokee, England, Gatlinburg, Manchester, North Carolina, Tennessee, United Kingdom, The, United States, The | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The King Just Ain’t Worth It

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 6, 2010

July 17, 2010

All Pictures

The hotel next door

When in Memphis, see the King.

We were in Memphis which just happens to be the city of Graceland. The song, Graceland, by Paul Simon was in my head during the whole drive from Kentucky. Unlike Paul, my marriage was not falling apart — I’m not even married. I still felt obligated to see Elvis’ home.

We tried to get out of paying the $10 parking fee. We drove around looking for a Wal-Mart or shopping center for free parking, but there wasn’t one close enough. We paid the parking fee.

Then we got to the ticket booth. The cheapest ticket was $30. There were three of us. None of us really liked Elvis’ music. Mark and I were here, because it was what we thought we should do when in Memphis. My mom came because Mark and I dragged her along.

I remembered my brother telling me that Graceland was quite disappointing. So, we didn’t go in. We just walked outside the gates of Graceland and took a few photos. We went to a gift shop and to the Heart Break Hotel next door. The King was just not worth it to me.

Sorry Elvis.

Letter from Mr. Rogers

Presidential

When I looked at our map, the one in our KOA campsite book, I saw that Little Rock, Arkansas, pronounced “R-can-saw”, was only a few hours away from Memphis. Why not go?

Our first stop in Little Rock was to the Clinton Library. It was like walking through my childhood. Even though Carter was president when I was born and there had since been Reagan and Bush, I don’t remember much of them.

The first presidential election I remember was the ’92 election. That’s when I first heard of Fleetwood Mac by way of the Clinton-Gore campaign song Don’t Stop.

1992 was the year I first asked, “What’s the difference between the candidates?” Let’s see, if I can remember… Clinton was the candidate that was more in-tune with the younger voters. He went on MTV and told the nation that he was a boxers man. George H. W. Bush was the candidate not unlike your grandfather. He was the incumbent, but I got the feeling that he didn’t deliver on his promises. Plus, his vomiting on the prime minister of Japan didn’t help.

Third guy, Ross Perot, was the crazy uncle. His full crazy potential wasn’t realized until the ’96 election, but the buds of craziness had already began to bloom in 1992.

An easier way to fetch water

Teaching Men to Fish

Right around the corner from the Clinton Library is Heifer Village. Heifer International is the charity that I give money to each month. I try to give at least 50USD a month. It doesn’t change my life at all by decreasing my income by 50 bucks, but it could change the life of someone out there.

Heifer International, to me, works by the “teach a man to fish” principle. You know — “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; you have fed him for a lifetime.”

When going to the Heifer International website each month I buy a family somewhere an animal or insects, either entirely or partially. This animal is then used by the family to generate income. The family sells the wool from sheep, the milk from goats, the honey from bees, etc.

T-shirt economy

At Heifer Village you can read literature on the many programs they have set up to help people around the world. They also have exhibits on tools and equipment, like the rolling bucket, that people in poorer countries can use to make their lives easier. They also have lots of information booths about, on the economics of the things we buy.

If you are looking for a charity where most of your money goes to actually helping people, then Heifer International is a good option. Look through their catalogue and give what you feel you can.

A shared contribution can be low as $10. That’s where you put $10 towards a gift and they add that to the $10 donations of other people until they have enough to buy the entire animal for the family.

If you want to buy an entire animal yourself, the lowest priced ones are the flock of ducks, chicken, or geese. Each costs $20.

Personally I like buying bees for some family. I like honey and I feel it makes the world a sweeter place. (Pun intended.)

All Pictures


 

The United States of America

How to get there:

You can enter my country by land, air, or sea. But I think flight would be your transportation method of choice.

I have no clue how to get a visa to the US or who needs one. Just assume that you need one if you are not American or Canadian and check with your local US embassy.

Phone:

  • Use 911 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance
  • Use 411 for information (This might cost money.)

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • It’s a big country. You’re going to need a car.

Graceland

How to get there:

Address:

734 Elvis Presley Boulevard

Phone:

  • (901) 332-3322

Website

Download:

Cost:

  • Parking – $10
  • Adult admission – $34 – $72 depending on the tour
  • Kids under 6 – free

Hours

Notes:

  • It costs $10 to park
  • You can get a 10% discount if you show your AAA card or if you are a senior citizen, student, solider, cop, or firefighter.

William J. Clinton Presidential Library

How to get there:

  • 34°44’47.1″N 92°15’30.0″W

Address:

Clinton Presidential Library and Museum
1200 President Clinton Ave
Little Rock, AR 72201

Phone:

  • (501) 374-4242

Website

Downloads:

Cost:

  • Free on President’s day
  • 7USD for adults

Hours:

  • Sun         13:00-17:00
  • Mon-Sat 9:00-17:00

How to get there:

It’s just around the block from the Clinton Library. It’s a 10 minute walk.

Address:

1 World Ave
Little Rock AR, 72201

Website

Contact

Cost:

  • Free

Hours:

  • Mon-Sat 9:00-17:00

Map:



Posted in Arkansas, Little Rock, Memphis, Tennessee, United States, The | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Walking in Memphis

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 6, 2010

July 16, 2010

All Pictures

outside the motel

Walking in Memphis

Martin Luther King, Jr. had been getting death threats for several months in 1968. We know this because the FBI had been listening in on Dr. King’s phone calls and taping them*. Dr. King seemed to know that his end was near.

*The contents of the tapes are legally sealed until 2027.

The night before his assassination, he gave an impromptu speech that became known as his “Mountain Top” speech. The most famous part of the sermon goes like this: “…He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you.”

While walking through this museum, things came together in my head. There were many things that I already knew, but not all together. I had a better understanding of the type of man Martin Luther King, Jr. was.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born into a middle class family. He was not poor. In fact, for a black person in his time King was pretty well off. He was well-educated and very smart. He skipped two grades in high school and started college at the age of 15. He could have been very successful in anything he did in life. He could have been the first black CEO, he could have been a scientist, he could have done anything.

But he chose to help the poor, the ill-treated, the people to whom civil rights were not automatically given. It just so happened that the majority of people, at the time, in this boat were black, but he campaigned for the rights of poor white people too.

He knew there were threats on his life, but he went to Memphis anyway. He risked his life to help garbage men, because they were men and had rights like everyone else. Dr. King was shot on the balcony of his motel, the Lorraine Motel, as he and his companions were getting ready to go out for dinner.

where the shot supposedly came from

It Came From Over There

I learned in school that Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed by James Earl Ray. They found Ray after the assassination and put him in jail. He died in 1998 behind bars.

I didn’t know there was anymore to the story, but there is more… a lot more. There is some question as to whether James Earl Ray was set up or was helped. Did the Memphis police force sit back and let this happen? Was the FBI involved in any way? Was James Earl Ray just a scapegoat?

Just like the Kennedy assassination there are some who think that the King assassination is part of some conspiracy. Did the shot really come from the bathroom window as those who arrested Ray claim? Or did the shot actually come from behind the bushes like the people, who were there at the time when King was killed, said.

Jacqueline Smith

Ms. Smith

Outside the museum that was once a hotel, sits a lady in protest. Her name is Jacqueline Smith. She has a story and an opinion.

After Dr. King’s death the Lorraine Motel continued to operate and have guests. The cement block stained with Dr. King’s blood was replaced. Many guests came and went.

Ms. Smith worked as a housekeeper at the Lorraine and while she worked there she also lived there. But hard times fell on the hotel and the owners were forced to sell it.

Even though she had lived and worked at the motel since 1973, in 1983 she was kicked out. The hotel would be turned into a memorial to Dr. King. This enraged Ms. Smith.

Is she right?

She feels that Dr. King would not have wanted this. He would have been displeased that $9 million were spent on a museum in his honor. He would have rather the money go towards the education of the poor, or for the health care of the poor, or some other aid.

I can’t help but wonder, “maybe she’s right?” Maybe this is not what he would have wanted. But, which is better, to give money to the poor or to the help people not forget our past?

All Pictures


 

The United States of America

How to get there:

You can enter my country by land, air, or sea. But I think flight would be your transportation method of choice.

I have no clue how to get a visa to the US or who needs one. Just assume that you need one if you are not American or Canadian and check with your local US embassy.

Phone:

  • Use 911 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance
  • Use 411 for information (This might cost money.)

Website:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • It’s a big country. You’re going to need a car.

National Civil Rights Museum

How to get there:

  • 35°08’04.0″N 90°03’27.0″W

Address:

450 Mulberry Street
Memphis, TN 38103

Phone:

  • (901) 521-9699

Website

e-mail: cdyson@civilrightsmuseum.org

Cost:

  • 13.00USD Adults
  • 11.00USD Seniors/ Students
  • 9.50USD Kids 4-17 years
  • Free Kids under 3

Hours:

  • Mon, Wed – Sat    9:00 – 17:00
  • Sun                        13:00 – 17:00
  • Closed on Tuesday

Notes:

  • The museum is free on Mondays between 15:00 to 17:00 for residents of Tennessee.

Map:

Posted in Memphis, Tennessee, United States, The | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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