Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Atlanta

Well, now that I have some time to do something other than stress out if the railroads ran where I wanted them to go and if certain towns had been incorporated yet, I can finally catch up on writing about my life in the past month!

So, I figure I'll start with our trip to Atlanta.

I had been really, really, really looking forward to seeing Mike and Lesley and going to Atlanta for a long time. As it got closer, it seemed like everyone I knew had been to Atlanta and we started getting tips! "Go to where they make the Cabbage Patch Kids" or "Go see the 7 story escalator at CNN" or "Go to Atlanta Underground". My main thing I wanted to do was go see Turner Field, where the Braves play, since I used to be a rabid Atlanta Braves fan.

So we arrived a little early, and I was real nervous about finding our way around that airport, because it is so stinkin' big and I had to find the baggage and find Mike too. True to what I expected, we were parked at the far end of one of the terminals, and I swear, it took us 20 minutes to get down to where the train was to go to the main terminal to find the luggage. Our bag was sadly swirling around on the carousel, waiting for us, but that was actually good, since we didn't have to wait around for it.

We went outside and Mike was waiting right there for us, so it was all very convenient. We went home and had a grand tour of the house and a really good dinner of beef stew and then hung around a while and went to bed.

The next day, we hit Atlanta proper. Mike showed us where the Olympics and Olympic bombing happened and we went to CNN. Jacalyn wasn't lying about that 7 story escalator. I felt a little woozy just looking at it. So we bought our tour tickets, but our tour wasn't till later, and so we decided to go to the Olympic Park and walk around. It was really nice there and all the bricks were inscribed by people who bought them for their loved ones, so Mike tried to find the one his family bought for his parents, but they weren't able to locate it, sadly. The park is beautiful, I really loved the tall towers that had the Olympic flames burning on top of them. It was pretty cool.

On the way back, we stopped at the Chamber of Commerce and I went in to get some brochures and all the woman at the desk said was, "There are some magazines in the back." Sheesh! Nice job with the tourists, lady! We got a couple magazines and then went to get on line for the tour of CNN.

The tour before us was packed with school kids, so we thought we'd be safe, but our tour was packed with kids too, and in particular this one obnoxious kid who kept jumping in front of Michael and elbowing people out of his way so he could be first in line. We went up the escalator, and I was pretty pleased when I went up that they had TV screens so I wasn't forced to think about the fact that we were going straight up in the air with nothing on the sides of us really. I get vertigo a lot on the DC Metro stations that have the steep, deep escalators. Sadly, when we got to the top, Lesley had suffered as I usually do! She said she nearly fainted going up there.

The tour itself was not that great. We were ignored for the school group--for instance, there was one of those guys who takes the scam photography that they try to sell you, and he asked the kids if they wanted their picture and the hell with us and one other couple of guys who were there.

The guide himself was a kind of smarmy, "I'm too cool for you idiots" type. Lesley learned that he was hoping to break into the reporting business in California. I wanted to give him a shave and a haircut so bad--does this mean I'm getting old?

The tour takes you past 3 large windows overlooking 3 different news rooms, plus you get to watch 2 videos--one live showing how it looks in the control room as they're scrambling all the stuff to make a cohesive show, and the other at the end with all the CNN reporters talking about how it is to be a journalist. The big excitement of the tour was that we got to see Jenny McCarthy from a distance of several hundred feet as she wrapped up an interview. They were doing CNN International while we were there, so there was no news being taped in the newsroom.

Afterwards, we were all pretty hungry, so Mike and Lesley took us to an Atlanta landmark, The Varsity! It's the world's largest drive in restaurant, but we ate inside. It was YUMMY! Chili dogs and the best onion rings I've ever had. I have been dreaming of those onion rings ever since. Seriously.

When we had filled ourselves up, Lesley and I decided to go to the Atlanta Aquarium and I really, really enjoyed it. I find that scaly things kind of give me the creep-out, but the Atlanta Aquarium was beautiful, one of the nicest I've ever been to. They had a lot of touch tanks, so I got to touch some sharks, some sting rays, live shrimp (they feel exactly the same as the dead ones do), a sea anemone, starfish, and sea cucumbers. I saw some sea creatures I had never seen before, including the amazing sea dragon, which looked kind of like what I envision the Loch Ness Monster to look like, and then Lesley took me to this tunnel where all the fish swim all around you. They had giant sharks swimming over your head, and a lot of butt ugly fish besides. After you go through, there is a big wall that showcases the tank and you can just sit there and watch the fish as long as you want, which is what we did. I also videotaped the fish, and I might post that to YouTube. It was so relaxing. I loved it.

Afterwards, it was time to meet the boys again, and we went over to Mike's sister's house for dinner. She was a real live wire, her name was Susan, and she collects Coke memorabilia. I had never seen so many Coke bottles in my life.

On Saturday, Lesley and I had plans to go to tea at the Ritz Carlton, so after lunch, we got all dolled up and headed over there. I'm not going to lie, it was nice to be in the lap of luxury. There was an aura of hushed elegance on the place, and we had a wonderful time catching up over tea. We agreed that the sandwiches weren't so great, but the pastries were to die for and the tea was really good. We had a tea called Blue Sapphire that was blended especially for the Ritz and it was great. We had our own tea girl who made recommendations and she packed up extra pastries for us, and scarcely blinked when I asked her for a souvenir menu to take home (I know, what a tourist I am!). Lesley and I wandered upstairs to find the restrooms, and believe it or not, the Ritz had little gold stickers on their TP!!!!!!! I peeled one off and put it in my wallet. Priceless.

We got home and it was supper time and then we took a little driving tour of downtown Atlanta at night. I got to see Turner Field, and the Georgia State Capitol Dome and then Mike roared into a Krispy Kreme and got a dozen hots, and we all ate hot donuts and drove around Atlanta. It was AWESOME. Those donuts were amazing. Atlanta is a really nice city and it was nice to be able to drive around it and not be worried about the traffic. The streets were really basically empty compared to even Fredericksburg standards. In that way, it reminded me a lot of Little Rock. My friend Tim and I used to cruise Little Rock at night because it was so easy to do.

When we got back, we all hung out in front of their fireplace, playing board games and watching TV. It was so relaxing. It was like a commercial on TV for the good life. Friends, a roaring fire, fun around the coffee table. A cat curled up nearby. Yeah.

Sunday, we did a little literary tourism. Lesley told me that Margaret Mitchell's gravesite was there and so we hauled it on over to the cemetary and took some pictures. Then we went to the Margaret Mitchell House and did a little retail therapy at the gift shop. When we come back, Lesley and I are definitely doing the tour--we didn't really have time that day.

Then we went to a fun little part of Atlanta and had Indian food for lunch. Michael actually ate it, we found a meal he would eat there, and he loved it. Lesley and I went shopping at a kitschy little junk shop where I got some stuff for my sister and for me, and then we headed back to their house, since Mike's family was coming for dinner.

It was so much fun--we met his dad and his sister and nieces also came over. Michael and I played poker and blackjack with his dad and sister and Mike and we had a big dinner of chicken and the most wonderful macaroni and cheese (Lesley, if you're reading this, please email me that recipe!) and cake and ice cream for dessert. Mike's dad is a real kick in the pants too, and we all decided afterwards that the best show on television would be a reality show starring my dad, Michael's dad, and Mike's dad. That would be a smash hit.

And then it was over all too soon. :-( Mike dropped us at the airport and we headed back to Richmond, and then drove home to the 'burg. I had my newspaper interview that afternoon, and then pretty much crashed. It was so nice to get away and to spend time with Mike and Lesley! Thanks for everything, guys! Hopefully we can do it again soon!!

2 pearl(s) of wisdom:

Seraphim9 said...

Wowee, sounds like fun. Reckon us Glecks have a lot to live up to when you come to visit us in Savannah. We Georgians sure know how to "put on the dog" don't we?

Well, we don't have a fireplace or a cat - but we do have a dog (maybe even 2 if Nettie brings Maddox) and a gas grill. And we play a mean game of Scrabble!

Talmadge G. said...

Atlanta is a really nice city and it was nice to be able to drive around it and not be worried about the traffic.

You've got to be kidding. Right?

Then again, I suppose DC area traffic makes Atlanta's look rural by comparison. *shudder*

Ahhhh, but you haven't experienced the sheer madness that is Savannah, Georgia traffic.

We'll "put on the Dawg (this being Georgia, and all)" in our own charmin' way ... heh heh ....

(and we have Krispy-Kreme, as well ... "Hot Doughnuts Now" .... [swoon].....)

Looking forward to it. The SCRABBLE board awaits.

--Talmadge "two Z tiles up his sleeve, now where's that Triple Word Score?" Gleck