the wonderful world of veena.

06 May 2014

17 of 52: a visit from Shalini.

My friend Shalini came to visit last week, and I had a blast showing her around our great city of Memphis.

Shalini is a friend of mine from Bangalore, and she came to the States for grad school at the same time I did, completing her MPP from the Ford School at Michigan and picking up another Masters degree along the way [read: she's super smart]. She is currently working in DC but is preparing to move to Paris in a month to join Uday, her husband and another great friend of mine, who recently got transferred there as part of his job with the bank BNP Paribas. Her work is slow at the moment since she'll be leaving soon, so it worked out for her to make a quick trip to Memphis, which made me very happy.

I love showing visitors around Memphis, because there is so much to see and do. There's something for art and music lovers, for history buffs, for foodies, for drinkers, and for sports fans. And we tried our best to hit up something from each of those in the 3 days Shalini was in town.

On Saturday morning we met Natasha, in town for a wedding, for lunch at Young Avenue Deli, a spot in Cooper Young that I've probably not been to since I graduated. After lunch, we headed over to Rhodes to grab a drink at the Lynx Lair [still feels weird to say that] and to show Shalini the campus. We then picked up our Earth Day 5k race packets at Shelby Farms and took a little stroll along the lake. It's been crazy cold in DC recently, so Shalini was excited to have some nice weather and be able to spend some time outdoors. And then Saturday night saw my mum, Shalini, and myself heading down to the FedEx Forum to cheer on the Grizz. We lost a heartbreaker in OT, but I think Shalini enjoyed her first NBA experience. Because come on, what's not to love about a Grizzlies game [other than the loss, of course]?

[love that i can get jackalope at the lair. where was this when i was in school?]
[beautiful afternoon at shelby farms park]
[growl towels up. #believememphis]
It was raining cats and dogs on Sunday, which is what happens when you get two Bangaloreans together. We were sad that the 5k at Shelby Farms got cancelled, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that both of us loved the rainy weather. It was a proper Bangalore day, so we were both happy. Instead of going out, we spent most of the day watching Friday Night Lighs reruns, and we made yummy kheema and stuffed okra for dinner.

Monday was our crazy tourist day. The rain stopped in the early morning, so we took full advantage of the cool weather and cloudy skies to get out and see the city. Our first stop was Blue Plate for breakfast, where Shalini got to experience proper Southern biscuits and gravy. After that it was on to Graceland, my personal staple for anytime friends come to town. It helped that Shalini is also a bit of an Elvis connoisseur, so not only did she enjoy it immensely, but I didn't feel bad about taking an extra long time through the trophy building or watching the concert in the racquetball room for a solid 20 minutes.

[creepy little bugger who hangs out in the tv room]
[i guess he was pretty good]
[shalini and me in front of the mansion]
From there we made a quick stopover at the Nike Clearance Store, since it's just down the road from the mansion, and then we were off to Beale Street. We headed to Alfred's first for a drink, where we nearly had the place to ourselves and had a few interesting conversations with our bartender. We were starting to get hungry, so it was down to Blues City Cafe for some gumbo and ribs, which were delicious and gnawed down to the bone.

Following our lunch, we took a walk down to South Main to peek in a few galleries, pick up some Grizzlies swag, and check out the exterior of the Civil Rights Museum since it was too late to be able to see the inside [note: the renovations just finished and the museum re-opened a month ago, so be sure to go and check out the new exhibits!]. We then grabbed a drink at Silky's and enjoyed watching the goats wander aimlessly in their pen out on the patio. And we rounded out our day listening to the band playing on the pavilion in Handy Park before heading home. It was an exhausting day, but we had a blast.

[monday evening entertainment on beale st. just another day in memphis]
And on Tuesday, we had an awesome lunch at Curry Bowl - complete with free phulkas and free mango lassi - before stopping by Sweet Noshings so Shalini could pick up some popcorn to take back with her.

[in overton square before heading to the airport]
It was a whirlwind few days, but we got to see and do a lot, we enjoyed a bit of rainy Bangalore weather, and it gave me a chance to hang out with Shalini one more time before she heads off for her European adventures.

other highlights included: downtown trolley night; new Memphis restaurant discoveries; a nice walk around Shelby Farms with Walker and Lena; father-daughter Friday lunch; fun night at Dugan's in LR for some basketball-watching -- met a Packers fan, a girl who graduated from Rhodes a few years ago, and a 70ish-year-old man who grew up in Helena, ran into Mitchell and his mother, got to hang out with Vamsi, AND got told by the bartender how sexy it is when a woman can talk sports [that last one was a great boost for my ego]; my cousin's daughter's saree ceremony in Little Rock.

[earnestine and hazel's during trolley night]
[friday night scenes at brewery untapped] 
[loving my finds from reel2reel on south main]
[damn straight]
Now, who is going to be my next Memphis visitor?

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