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Published: August 6th 2007
We boarded the G train from Nostrand and Bedford, transferred to the A line at Hoyt and rode it one stop to Jay Street. Then we hopped on the F train and stayed on thru Manhattan and then over into Queens. At Roosevelt Avenue, we jumped on the Q33 bus which took us straight into La Guardia airport. It was Sunday, June 3 and we were headed to Atlanta. The barebones AA flight was boring and we slept thru the entire two-hour journey. Aaaaaah. ATL, ATL
. We had been there before. Back in 2005. And we loved it then. We landed around 2pm, cleared and waited in the atrium for Shanna's mom, Mama Marcia, and stepdad, Ton (pronounced "Toe"). There were platoons of US Army soldiers in the waiting area. The packed area burst into applause as the soldiers filed neatly thru the hall. The spectacle was both touching and troubling at the same time. We saw one soldier walking and talking to a lady with a baby in a stroller and we wondered if he was going to combat and if he would return. We hope he would. We watched them pass all gladiator-like. Some saluted the crowd but
Picking up the rental
From the airport terminal, we were brought to the Alamo pickup
the crowd saluted them all.
Mama Marcia and 'Toe's' flight from Amsterdam arrived on time and by 5:30 pm, we were hopping into a red Dodge Grand Caravan. Vibert was the designated driver and Shanna, the navigator fulled equipped with google maps on her smartphone. Vibert pulled the big car skillfully on to the six-lane higway and with expert directions found the Wyndham Gardens hotel on Piedmont Avenue with no problem. From there, it was a comedy of errors. First, the guard charged us USD 40 parking fee for the 4 nights we were going to stay although we did not yet have rooms. Then, the rooms were not ready at 6pm. Then, Shanna was asked to produce ID so that she could be allowed to sit in the bar area while we waited for the rooms. The lady said she looked like 15. A few minutes after we got into 303, room service brought us a nice fruit, wine and cheese basket with a card from management thanking Sheila Rolfe
for choosing the Wyndham. The cheese, crackers and fruit disappeared in a second and we hid the wine bottle. 'Toe' would take care of that later. The card
we left on the table and headed out to dinner.
It was still bright outside at 8 pm. Sunset was around 9. After 30 minutes or so we pulled up in front of Olive Garden and prepared to feast. And a feast it was. The portions were very generous, the salad divine and freely refillable and there was also free refills for the extra tall glasses of lemonade. Vibert had dessert. The bed was so nice that sleeping overstuffed didn't bother us at all.
Atlanta is a vibrant city which New Yorkers call 'country'. It has stately pine trees, standalone homes with garden space and, of course, the usual skyscrapers. It is probably best known for hosting the 1996 Olympics and as the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr.
A little after midday on January 15, 1929 in the neighbourhood of Sweet Auburn, in an upstairs bedroom on 501 Auburn Avenue, a son was born to Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr and Alberta Williams-King. He was the middle child between an elder sister, Willie Christine, and brother, Albert Daniel. Later on, MLK and his father would minister at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. He became very involved with
the American Civil Rights struggle and founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, a group which capitalized on the authority and organizing power of black churches to conduct non-violent protests for civil rights reform. King was also instrumental in the organization of the March on Washington in 1963 and it was there where, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, he made his famous "I Have A Dream"
speech. An assasin's bullet to the throat ended his life at 6:01 p.m. April 4, 1968, on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
His body now lies in the center of a reflecting pool in the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site. His crypt rests on a raised pedestal. On it is engraved the inscription: "Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929-1968,
Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, I'm free at last."
After leaving the MLK site, we proceeded to Centennial Olympic Park - a 21-acre public park with the Fountain of Rings, a popular attraction for both children and adults on a hot day (see video above)
. At night, we rode segways thru the chilly ATL streets and back into Centennial Park. The Atlanta City Segway tour would take us right pass some
of Atlanta's 'haunted' buildings.
Most of the next day was spent in the Lenox and Perimeter Malls and at the DSW Shoe Warehouse. Mama Marcia is a 'shopaholic' and we could do nothing else but follow her around and sit whenever we got a chance. At 'Dick's Sporting Goods', Vibert would find a decently-priced multi-day backpack to replace the aging one his brother Tyrone had left behind. We explored Atlanta and its suburbs by car. It's not the kind of state you could see on foot. In one 'burb', Decatur, we would see a Guyanese flag in a window and Vibert would, quite excitedly, turn the car around. Speedy's Roti Shop became a favorite eating place for us. We had roti with curried channa, pumpkin and green vegetables. 'Toe' wolved down a 'curry goat' with 'dhall pouri' and washed it down with sorrel drink. We had ginger beer and fudge, pine tart, cheese roll, plait bread and 'pholouri with sour'. It was the best food we had eaten in a long time. Guyanese food rocks!
We spent the morning of the last day in the world's largest aquarium - the Georgia Aquarium. Its tanks hold back more than
Outdoor sporting goods store
Checking for a multi day back pack for Vibert
8 million gallons of water and numerous marine animals and plants. The most remarkable exhibit, we would conclude, was the Cold Water Quest where we saw two graceful, white Beluga Whales gliding effortlessly thru the climate-controlled ultra-chilly water. We walked thru an acrylic tunnel and above and around us swam sharks, gant rays, monster sea bass and sawfish and hundreds of other varieties. The tunnel led us straight to the biggest tank we had ever seen. It was the home of thousands of fish, big and small, and the newest additions to the Aquariam - Yushan (pronounced U-Seeyan) and Taroko (two whale sharks) named to honor their country of origin -Taiwan.
ATL is, in our estimation, a more liveable city than NY. It's cleaner and more spacious with much less smog. It has an almost ideal mix of big city and country and many things to see and do. This was certainly our 'luxury leg' and we thank Mama Marcia and 'Toe' for 'sponsoring' us.
And then it hit us: we really, really wouldn't mind having to thank many more 'sponsors'. Hint. Hint. 😊
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Cheese cake Factory
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