Saturday, January 15, 2011

Atlanta: or, the Land of Not Walking

I had an opportunity to go to Atlanta with such perks as a free hotel and mostly free food (thanks, the government, for sending my boyfriend on business trips), so of course I seized it (after all, the flight was only around $200).

My boyfriend got there on Sunday. I arrived Tuesday morning, exhausted from getting up at 4 am and driving, bleary-eyed, to Baltimore (damn you, cheaper but further airports!). I zombie-walked to the MARTA station, and pressed some sort of random buttons on the ticket machine (and ended up spending twice as much as I should have, thanks to sleep deprivation). The hotel was thankfully easy to find. Luckily, Jeff was able to leave a key for me at the desk. I grabbed it, went to the room, and slept until lunch. Jeff and I met up for lunch at a place called Think Sushi, which was good until we saw a roach on the table.

After that I looked up some stuff on my nook then wandered around in random circles. I found Atlanta Underground but didn't go in. I turned back from finding a cupcake place because I got intimidated by the large groups of men smoking and staring at me. Then I went back to the hotel to wait for Jeff to be done with work. Once he was, we went to the World of Coca-Cola. We tried lots of cool flavors!

Then we talked to Jeff's old co-intern Ian. He picked us up and took us to the Midtown Vortex Burger, which he lives right next to. I had wanted to go there, and it was quite tasty! He drove us back to our hotel, where we watched some TV and went to bed.

The next day I got up and went to Reuben's deli for lunch (delicious) then headed to the Georgia Aquarium. It is amazing. Expensive, but worth it. There's the biggest aquarium tank in the world there! It has 4 whale sharks and 4 manta rays. There was a crawl tube in the penguin tank that let you get face to face with the penguins! And the beluga whales were awesome. They're adding dolphins this summer (sad to miss that!). There are touch tanks as well.

That evening we went to Rare, a soul food tapas place. It was tasty and tapas are fun. We went to the Publix grocery store across the street to find dessert. Didn't find any, but found a guy being wheeled away on a stretcher... We didn't do much else that evening.

Thursday I got up and went to the Arts Center station. I got lunch at Carolyn's Gourmet Cafe, which was pretty crappy. Then I went to the Center for Puppetry Arts to see the museum which is free on Thursdays from 1-3. The Jim Henson stuff was neat, and otherwise the museum was a little creepy since it was just me and the puppets, basically. After that I walked across a bridge to Atlantic Station, which is basically a larger version of New Town in Williamsburg. I tried on some clothes and some purses, to kill time. They had a shuttle to the metro, and at the metro there were Travel Channel people promoting the show 'The Wild Within' and they gave me some trail mix.

Dinner that night was at Dogwood, a fancy southern place. It was absolutely wonderful. We had pimento grits, apple/bacon fritters, salad, and I had fried chicken with mac and cheese and green beans. It was the best service I've ever gotten at a restaurant, and the best grits I've ever had. Mmm!

The next day was my last in Atlanta. We got up and trekked over to Little Five Points, a neighborhood where people supposedly actually walked around. We ate lunch at Savage Pizza, which was great, and then went into a bunch of novelty shops, thrift stores, and comic book stores. It was quite a cool neighborhood, definitely the best we found in Atlanta. After that we went to The Varsity for dinner, a big drive-in that is famous in Atlanta. It is greasy. Very greasy. But pretty good.

I then gathered my stuff and went to the airport, where I had a very smooth process of getting through security (5 minutes) then getting a bagel and coming to my gate to find I could get right on (they had started boarding early). The flight was short and I drove back home uneventfully.

It was a good trip, but I didn't really like Atlanta. Nobody seems to walk anywhere (unless they are a creepy loiterer or a homeless person). We were asked for money more than we are in DC, but in a generally more polite way. Atlanta is pretty sprawling, so the amount of driving makes sense. It's like LA in that way. But the reason I like cities is the fact that you can walk around or take public transportation, and Atlanta was not as accessible in those ways. Some of Jeff's coworkers for the week asked if he felt safe on the MARTA, so I guess it sort of has a reputation or something. I was interested in going to the Natural History Museum, but it wasn't really accessible at all by public transportation. So I'd say I wouldn't want to live there at all, and it ranks near LA in my least favorite cities.

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