Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Our Trip to Atlanta

We just got back from a 3 night trip to Atlanta, Georgia.

I had a fantastic time.

I want to do a bit of a trip report so my future self can be reminded of her Atlanta adventures in September 2018. And hopefully a few other people (present or future) might find this sort of interesting.

So...

Starting out. We took an evening flight on Southwest Airlines.  This meant we got to go to the small, gentle Love Field airport in Dallas rather than the overwhelming DFW airport. Well, and the best thing about Love Field is that they have my favorite Mexican chain, Moe's.

I didn't enjoy the flight. I felt very antsy. I started thinking how I might not ever be able to handle traveling to Australia or Asia again, because I can't even handle a 2 hour flight. I thought that I might need to concentrate on visiting places like Canada. Well, in terms of international. There are many domestic possibilities.

That being said, I felt fine on the early morning flight back to Dallas this morning. I think it's just a night thing. If possible, I should probably avoid flying at night. Or...I'm starting to consider some type of medication. Maybe.

After the flight, we waited a bit too long for the shuttle to the hotel. Then....

Well, I can't remember anything interesting happening that night.

I think the biggest thing was each of us trying to decide if we should take a shower at night or go straight to sleep and shower in the morning.

Sunday was our first touring day.

The biggest highlight was meeting Jack's friend for the first time. That wasn't the highlight of the day. It was the highlight of the whole trip. This is a good thing, because our actual purpose for going to Atlanta was to meet Jack's friend.

Before meeting the friend, we had a quick bite at Starbucks.

I had Moon Cheese, which I really love. I'm never seen it outside of Starbucks, but I'm guessing it exists somewhere. Hopefully at a cheaper price?

Tim got a drink. I'm usually not a fan of Starbucks drinks, but I tried this one and liked it. Tim thought it was too sweet. He decided to dilute it by adding some extra almond milk. He went to the counter to request some, and while he did that, Jack and I drank quite a bit of Tim's drink.  Tim came back and added the almond milk.  I declared that he ruined it. Tim pointed out that we had drunk most of it, anyway. I then realized we were kind of to blame for the over-diluting.  If we (I?) had not drunk so much of it while Tim was away, it would have probably been much less diluted.

Anyway....

After Jack's friend joined us, we all drove to Duluth where we went to a Japanese festival.

That was crowded.

It was pretty okay. I guess.

I think, there, I had the worst dessert I've ever had.

I always long to get Asian shaved ice-desserts. They had them there. I was interested but hesitant,  because the desserts were huge!  They looked like they could feed five people.

I went back and forth between wanting the dessert and thinking I should skip it.

Once I decided to go for it, I had to pick out the flavor. Tim said he was okay with whatever I wanted. Though when I told him I was going to skip the matcha-red bean (my usual favorite) he was pleased about that.

After saying no to my usual favorite, I had to figure out if I wanted something fruity or chocolatey.

I ended up choosing chocolate.

Big mistake!

I was a bit surprised when we ordered and they told us the price was 7 dollars. I was picturing something much higher than that.

Well, guess what.

We pretty much paid for 4 small brownie pieces, a small pinch of M and M's, a tiny squirt of chocolate sauce, and a huge amount of shaved ice.

I've had shaved ice desserts before, and usually they're good...because the ice is FLAVORED!

This ice had no flavor.  Once we ate the toppings, we were left with plain ice.

I don't get it.

It would have been much better if they put more chocolate flavoring...or how about some condensed milk throughout the ice?

I'm kind of hoping they made a mistake and forgot the milk.

Anyway, I think the fruit ones might have been better, because maybe the juice of the fruit would have flavored the ice.

Moving on....

After the Japanese festival, we all went to Hmart the Korean grocery store.

I love Asian grocery stories.

They're one of my happy places.

In the evening we went to a little town called Covington. It's where the Vampire Diaries was filmed. I don't watch that show, but I have seen the spin off, The OriginalsThe Originals was filmed nearby in Conyers and that was on our maybe to-do list.

We ate dinner in Covington at a restaurant called City Pharmacy. Tim and Jack liked their food more than I liked mine, but I didn't mind it. And I enjoyed the atmosphere of the restaurant.

After dinner, we were blessed to have a meet and greet with a non-starved, properly fed "tea cup" pig, a ferret, and some lizards.

We were educated about the tea cup pigs. They're sold to eager pet owners who are told the pigs will stay tiny. But this only works if the pig owners follow a certain diet...which is essentially causing the pigs to be malnourished.

SO sad.

But the pig we met was being properly fed and very much loved.

Before I move onto the next day...I wanted to talk about my feelings towards Atlanta.

It's funny. I now think of Atlanta mostly as the place where Jack's friend lives. The next thing on my mind is that it's the place where Tim did exhausting commutes to works with our friend Greg. That was a few years ago.

After that...comes the zombies.

This is the stuff I have in my mind when I think of Atlanta.

Then we were driving and I suddenly remembered Tim and I actually first met in Georgia!  Not in Atlanta but in the northern mountains.

Okay and one other thing. I spent most of my teen years in Atlanta! I pretty much forgot all that when were planning to come to Atlanta. It's kind of odd, since I recently read all my diary entries from my Atlanta days.

I was talking to Tim about this.

I think new memories just replace old ones.

It's the same for me with NYC.

When I think of New York now, I more often think of the times we visited with Jack as tourists than when we lived there.

Okay. Now I'll move onto the next day.

We went to the zoo. Before getting there, I was texting back and forth with my sister Melissa. Melissa was having doubts about zoos wondering if they were a bad thing.  We both talked about this, and I  concluded that zoos aren't perfect but some treat animals well and sometimes its better than the alternative.

After spending about an hour in the zoo, my conclusion about the Atlanta zoo specifically is that it's probably good for the non-human animals, but not so good for the humans.

I think it was one of the most boring zoos I've been to.

I spent most of the time being lost. And tired.

They do have pandas, though, so that's exciting.

But the thing with highlight animals—pandas, koalas, Tasmanian devils, etc. I get so excited to see them. Then when I get to the exhibit, it's like....uh, okay. I guess I've had enough now.  Sometimes the idea of seeing the animals is more exciting than actually seeing the animals.

Or yeah. It IS exciting. But, to me, it gets boring after about 3 minutes.

After the zoo, we...

Well, I forgot the order of things.

At some point, we drove to the building used in Hawkins lab in Stranger Things. There was a lot of commotion there, and we had the idea they were filming something else.

There was security at the building, so it turns out we couldn't park our car, get out, and play Stranger Things.

Tim told them that we had taken the wrong turn and asked if we could turn around. They let us drive through to the exit, and I quickly snapped a few pictures.

I have a feeling that a many people take the same "wrong turn", and that the security is used to this...and maybe mildly tolerant of it. They probably knew we were going take photos. Otherwise I think they'd either insist that we exit by backing up or sternly tell us to go through very quickly.

We tried to have lunch at this place called Ponce City Market. It was a bit overpriced, we couldn't find a cuisine that pleased all of us, and there didn't seem to be enough seating.  So we decided to eat at Moe's!  I was quite excited to get Moe's twice in one trip. But after eating a whole plate of nachos, I felt I might be over Moe's. At least for awhile.

We tried to figure out what to do next.

After some discussion, we ended up at Stone Mountain park.

I was a bit shocked that to just enter the park is $20.  Or at least the parking fee is that much?  Maybe if you walk into the park, it's free.

Maybe it counts as a national park? I remember hearing that there were price increases with those.

After entering the park, we drove to this amusement area near the mountain.  I don't think that was there when I lived in Atlanta.

We didn't get to experience much of it, because it was open but closed. They were doing construction—setting up for some event. Halloween, I think?

We could walk around and look around, but all the shops and food venues were closed.

The bathroom was open, so that was a plus.

We took advantage of that.

I enjoyed taking some photos; though I think I would have enjoyed the experience more if it had been less hot. And I was tired of seeing signs for various unavailable treats...like soft serve ice-cream.

I was amused by some of the signs, because it said the whole "Pardon our dust. We're getting ready for."

I thought that was usually used when something was open, but certain aspects were blocked because of construction.  It was kind of nuts to say that when everything! (besides the bathroom) was closed.

I was a bit annoyed that we weren't warned-before paying the 20 dollar entrance fee-that the main park was closed. I can kind of understand, though, because there's a lot to do at the park besides the amusement area.  But still. I imagine that MIGHT be one of the main highlights. And perhaps they could have a sign at the entrance warning people about the closure.

After Stone Mountain, we had the opportunity to tour a funeral home/crematorium. That was a special experience. I thought it could be morbidly fascinating without being sad. And it WAS fascinating. But it got sad very quickly.  There were no mourning families there, but I could very much imagine them being there.

I liked, though, that they offered green burial options. You can be buried with a shroud or simple box rather than a super fancy coffin. And they have this area that's more like a beautiful nature park rather than a cemetery.  It looked very peaceful. That being said, I think cemeteries, themselves, are often quite lovely.

Onto less morbid things....

We had planned to eat at a fancy Mexican restaurant. But our Moe's meal kind of put a dent in that plan.

We opted for Japanese instead. I had sweet potato sushi for the first time. It had little bits of tempura and was quite yummy. I'm not a huge fan of tempura, but I think it worked well in the sushi.

Wait. I left the morbid things prematurely. I forgot. Before we ate dinner, I finally got my chance to see The Originals filming locations!  I say morbid, because the show is about vampires.

 I was very excited, though it's been some months since I've seen the show. I can't say I walked on the street and said I remember this! and I remember that!

I took tons of pictures, though. So if I watch the show again, maybe I can look back at my pictures and recognize stuff from the show.

And...that's our Atlanta adventure.

All in all, it was one of those wonderful trips that are not wonderful because of what you see, do, or eat, but because of who you're with.

I loved it.


P.S-In case anyone is interested, here is my Flickr album of the trip.