Nashville Day 1: Susannah Wanted a Hot Dog!

Nashville, Day 1: Friday, October 7th, 2016

Tara's birthday is coming up next week, so we decided to go on a weekend getaway to Nashville to celebrate!

Tara and I left straight from work to the airport in the evening. After enjoying the delicious amenities of the United Club Lounge such as chili, couscous, hot cocoa, cookies and chocolate covered pretzels, we were off to Nashville!

poring over the latest Economist while Tara catches up on Tail magazine in the United Lounge

The flight was super short; once the seatbelt sign turns off, the drink cart comes around and then it’s time for descent.

The Nashville airport greeted us with large advertisements containing larger-than-life photos of Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash, as well as soft instrumental country music playing over the loudspeakers. We spotted no less than three people wearing cowboy hats before hopping in a Lyft to the hostel. The Lyft driver blasted “Highway to the Dangerzone” when we didn’t specify any music request and then proceeded to talk about how awesome Top Gun is.

The hostel had a lively atmosphere upon our arrival at midnight. After a brief tour of the space, including showing us to our room, named after a famous musician (ours was Janis Joplin, flanked on either side of The Doors and The Rolling Stones), we were on our own.

Our first task was to drop off our luggage to explore. We entered the pitch black bedroom to a sleeping roommate and another one shutting off her phone and tucking herself in. After noticing there were no lockers in the room, we stepped back into the hallway to plan. After a visit to the front desk, I discovered the lockers were on the second floor, and free to use with your own lock. I returned to our floor to inform Tara of this, and she was standing in the hallway, bemused at the fact that I roped her into staying in a hostel wherein one must enter a room of sleeping people. Desensitized to this after being that exact person entering the room at 4am or later nearly every night in the Baltics, I just think it’s all part of the fun (and price point).

We dropped our stuff into the lockers and off we went to explore. We amused ourselves by witnessing Broadway past midnight, a neon-lit strip of bars playing all varieties of country and western tunes, crowded with a drunken swarm of people who would take advantage of the diagonal crosswalk signals even if they weren’t a thing (but they are, so no one gets hit by a car, fortunately). We see loads of bachelorette parties wearing matching shirts or bedazzled hats or some other sort of bridesmaid uniform. We hear a woman standing beside a hot dog street cart, shouting into her phone why she and her friend aren’t meeting their group at the bar yet, “because Susannah wanted a hot dog!” Tara witnesses a woman walking one moment, and then face-plant on the sidewalk the next. We see a Pedal Tavern, which is an open vehicle of sorts on which patrons can pedal and drink beer, all while jamming to “Turn Down for What” which is blaring from the vehicle’s speaker system.

And we can’t wait to be participants in all of it tomorrow night.

We stop in one of the late night souvenir shops and Tara decides that her souvenir of the trip is going to be a bolo tie, so she checks out her options but is disappointed by the cheap quality and high price tag. In the same shop we see a mannequin wearing pajamas printed with Elvis’s famous bedazzled white jumpsuit, martini glasses etched with cursive “Nashville” and some bikinis created with confederate flag-printed fabric. There’s a market here, but it’s just not me.

We afterwards check out the quieter Printer’s Alley, where the music city vibe continues with sounds of blues and rock streaming from the open bar doors. It’s also where we see a man grilling and selling hot dogs with a setup that just looks like a dude who decided to make some money off of cooking hot dogs on his portable Weber grill. This ain't some professional hot dog cart; this is essentially a Fourth of July BBQ setup in an alleyway.

As it nears 1:30am, we head back to the hostel, then linger in the hostel lobby for a bit to plan our day for tomorrow. We decide we will stay downtown and hit all the touristy sites.

A random hostel patron, who we find out is about 37 years old and currently very drunk, tells us that he once peed in the bathroom with an advisor from the Bill Clinton presidency, and he asks us about our jobs and tells us he sometimes consults for media companies. Not sure where he was going with all of this, but it was a super boring and one-sided conversation.

He says he's here for his own bachelor party and is sharing a room with 9 friends. He then talks about not knowing what the hostel life is like and he and his friends were in Europe and oh, did you know that Europeans just hate Americans? No, I corrected him, I think that Europeans hate obnoxious Americans, as anyone would. He frowns and says his friends are good people. They’re absolute jerks and assholes but good people! They get belligerently drunk but they’re good people. He isn’t sure why the Europeans hated them so much while they were visiting. I told him that belligerently drunk Brits or Mexicans or Brazilians or whomever would be treated the the obnoxious people they are.

We get bored of him and head straight to our lockers. Despite the lockers being located in a very open space near the lofty overlooks from the upper floors of rooms, we decide we’re just too lazy to go anywhere else and change right in the open. Fortunately, no one comes by.

As quiet hours on the dorm floors are 11pm until 8am, we quietly head to our room to sleep. As we’re drifting asleep to the sounds of the snoring roommate on my bottom bunk, we suddenly hear a group of guys singing in the hallway, accompanied by someone playing a guitar. It quiets down after about 15 minutes, from what I assume was an angry almost-asleep hostel patron scolding them, based on the interaction I overheard.

The number one rule in hostels, if I haven’t already mentioned it, is that there must always be one dude playing a guitar. In the lobby or at 2am in the dorm hallway, you gotta have it. Otherwise, you ain’t in a hostel.

Tomorrow we are off to see the Country Music Hall of Fame and more!