I had a good sleep at the Maxwell Millennium House in Nashville, located near the Country Music Hall of Fame. I hadn't seen this much Elvis Presley memorabilia in my life, in a hotel foyer at that. Was still taking some time to get used to the toilets up in North America, there's a lot of water, turds just float around, I think it's wrong but hey Americans want it that way. I got on the cellular and dialled Nate, he put the offer to me to stay at his place, I had already paid for my accommodation at the hotel, but I figured stuff it, can't catch the Southern culture in a hotel, gotta live with some Southerners! I asked if he could pick me up at the Opry Mills shopping center, cause I had some business to take care of..... He said that was cool, he'd bring the kids in the Escalade to pick me up (this was classic, a down the line redneck driving the black man's staple of transport).
I dialled a taxi to get to my biggest American Mall experience. Sure I had been to Canada's Eaton Centre, but this was the USA! The taxi driver, surprisingly, was a white guy, no Indian or Paki like in Adelaide, he had the whole Dudley Moore recovering drunk thing going on. I thanked him for the ride and turned to face the shopping mecca. It was awesome!
My first stop was the sports store, and it was here that I realised the USA seems to be developing another species of human, there were some big bastards in there, the white guy who served me was at least 6'8", yeah that big, with ears to match. I felt like an oompa loompa. I knew some of the black guys here were big, but I was surprised to see white dudes that matched them pound for pound.
After a fair bit of shopping, I got hungry, hit the food court, this is where yanks do it best. I was gonna play spot the fat people, but I was hungry. Decided on Burger King, they have a Fries Pod! We don't have a Fries Pod. I got the regular meal but the drink was larger than the large meal we have Down Under. As I ate I scoped for a crazy mall gunman but it looked like no crazies were gonna go at it today.
I had like 8 shopping bags, pretty much cleaned out the Nike Factory and Tommy Hilfiger, it was time to jet. Nate said he would meet me at the outdoor camping store at the big aquarium. Now here's a place that doesn't really just do outdoor camping... It had a goddamn military section, or as they call it, the Hunting section.GUNS GUNS GUNS. "Hey sir do you want to buy a gun to put next to your guns?"
Nate showed the kids some handguns and tried to tell me about them but I was just tip-toeing around the rednecks and their camping outfitter full of guns. Besides, it was time to hit that Escalade and ride G! Getting into Dickson County, we had to stop off and get some beer. It's here I got my first look at the 40 ounce bottles! Colt 45! I wasn't allowed to take it back to the house, 40 ounce bottles and rednecks don't go together. Nate is such a party pooper!Billy Dee Williams' drink of choice! It won't make you forget you've got a cold, you just won't give a shit anymore.
Nate directed me to my room for the week, it was the same bed Josh had previously passed out blind drunk on in the wake of Saturday night. At least he didn't throw up on it.
The following morning was my first big taste of Southern food. Cracker Barrel.I had already started tucking in to this tucker before I took the photo.
Apparently they do breakfast 24 hours a day. Everything's fried! It's awesome! There were some military men decked out in the fatigues, Julie took the boys to say hello, they wound up coming over to the table and I got my chance to shake hands, told them my old man made a fair few American mates in Vietnam and thanked them for what they do, not just for America, but Australia too. The meal was huge and Nate and Elkan needed a nappy nap, so we dropped them off back home and then it was time for some more shopping! OMG!
Yours truly, Julie, Jeb, and Eli headed off into Amish territory for our first stop. The f***ing Amish! This was gonna be cool. I never saw any horse and carts, but I saw me some Amish chicks!WE'RE ALL LIVING IN AN AMISH PARADISE.
It was onto Clarksville from Amish Territory, a military town up in north Tennessee, near the border of Kentucky. As we were trying to find it, Julie's Tomtom navigation system sent us through a ghetto, there were a lot of black people hanging out chilling on the streets, but no one shot at us even though we were driving an Escalade. Clarksville was another great Mall experience, the kids had Chk-Fil-A, I once again wasn't hungry enough to buy a meal there, but I did try one of their nuggets, Chk-Fil-A rocks. From this mall it was onto another, specifically, Sam's Club, you need some sort of membership at Wal-Mart to enter there. Everything again was so cheap. SHOP, AND THEN SHOP SOME MORE. Sam's Club can load up your car with groceries and leave your wallet largely untouched. America!
Halloween was upcoming so we shopped for Halloween candy and drinks. The kids were starting to get tired and wanted to go to Toys'R'Us, I probably showed that I wasn't entirely keen so the kids missed out as Julie played her smarts to perfection, that's why she's a doctor. Leaving Clarksville for the long ride home, it was obviously Starbucks time. They have a drive-thru like McDonald's! I got the iced latte, it was the greatest caffeine experience I've had yet. I topped off the night with Shiner Bock, Texan beer, it was needed, for tomorrow, I was to hang out with the whole Nate family gathered together....