Weekend in Atlanta
With Barbara Thompson & Me

        After two seemingly long fights, I stepped off the plane and immediately recognized Barbara Thompson who was waiting for my plane to arrive.  We drove to the hotel (The Embassy Suites), I checked us in and then we parked the truck for the weekend.

        After getting up to the room, I let Brian know that I was safe-n-sound and then we unpacked and had a bit of a wind-down party for me.  While the clock said 1am, my body was telling me it was only 10pm and I wasn't ready to go to sleep!! Barbara was patient and talkative and eventually, I unwound enough to go to sleep.

        On Sunday morning, we awoke at 8am to get ready to go discover Atlanta!  We had our breakfast in the restaurant areas and had our choice from hot egg/sausage/bacon/hashbrown breakfasts to bagels and fruit and cereal.  It looked like good stuff but I had my usual: bagel and cream cheese with a banana.

        Barbara and I left the hotel and, after our first "adventure", ended up at the MARTA (Metropoitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) station which we took to the stop for Centennial Olympic Park.
 

How's that for a unique pose?  This is, of course, Barbara Thompson at one of the entrance gates to Centennial Olympic Park.

One of the many artistic sculptures.

View of the park; Barbara on the right.

Water sculptures were also
prominent in the Park.

View of the landscape in the Park.

Water art and playland-- lots of fun was being had by all when we were there!

We walked around the park for a little while and then, headed on over to the World of Coca-Cola.  Cute building and theme but, neither of us was interested in "doing" the museum-- just the souvenir shop (of course!).  After making our purchases, we went over to the Underground which is a neat not-entirely-little underground shopping mall with unique stores and kiosks.

In the Underground, Barbara stopped to buy a bear-- it is a tradition between her and Bob to collect and give bears to each other and, upon seeing the display, she couldn't resist.  Its an interesting set-up because they have you help with the "birthing" of the bear.
 

Barbara helps to hold the bear as his skin is filled up.

As the bear was being filled with the stuff, Barbara had to hold down the pedal to make sure that the stuffing kept coming.
(I couldn't get both her head and her feet in this shot-- sorry, Barbara!)

Still pedaling and filling . . . 

. . . and more filling.

And then, a bear is born . . .

        After we walked from one end of the Underground to the other, we went back to the opposite end to catch the MARTA train again.  This time, we were going to the Perimeter Mall to shop.  Unbeknownst to us, there were two northbound trains: one going to Doraville and one going to North Springs.  We needed the one that goes to North Springs but didn't realize that until we ended up at the stop called "Lenox" in what was obviously an unfamiliar area.  We got off and caught the next southbound train and, at the Lindbergh station, we de-trained and asked someone what we should look for to know which way we were going.  He explained the difference between the two trains (as described above) and we waited for the next North Springs train.  It didn't take very long for the next train to arrive and we got back on and headed up to the Perimeter Mall.

        We got off the train there and headed off on foot to the mall.  We shopped and shopped (okay, so I shopped and Poor Barbara followed along!) and then we tried to get back to the hotel.  It turns out we weren't anywhere near where we thought we were-- well, we were within 2-1/2 miles but we thought we were about 2-1/2 blocks away from the hotel!!

        After a phone call to the hotel to send a shuttle, we got back to the hotel and I layed down for a half hour to rest my back and feet (which were duly pained) and then showered and dressed for dinner.  We dined at Pittypat's Porch, enjoying a sumptuous meal of grilled beef/chicken/pork ("Rhett's Mixed Grill") over a bed of rice. One of the treats for me was the salad bar: they had all different kinds of salads including cucumber, seafood, artichoke, and the other standards.  I could've eaten only that and been happy but our main dinner was great, too-- The Zinfandel (& dijon) sauce was fantastic!!

        After dinner we strolled around downtown a bit but decided there wasn't anything to see and there surely were no open malls to hit for that last sale!! Without a mall to hit, we decided to go back to the hotel for some wine. Unfortunately, we picked the one escalatored entry that scared the you-know-what out of me when we came out of MARTA earlier in the day!!  I have a fear of heights, usually, and this escalator was definitely a challenge!!  I have ridden on the escalators in London's tube and the difference between the two is that the Atlanta escalators are shorter but, the London rides had MORE people on them so I wasn't afraid of falling forward or backward-- really weird!!

       Anyway, we made it down and got back on MARTA for the ride back to the hotel again.  My guess is (and I'm bad at judging distances) that we ended up with about 5-6 miles in hiking distance when all was said and done.  Between downtown (really mid-town) Atlanta and the mall and to-n-from MARTA stations, etc., we walked at least that distance, I think.

        The people of Atlanta are friendly and helpful-- if we looked even remotely lost, people would stop to ask where we needed to go or if we needed help with directions.  It was great but then, as I remembered my experience in Dallas, that is a trait of the South, I believe.

        The highlight of the weekend was meeting Barbara though-- thanks to her good taste, I picked up a nice pantsuit while shopping on Sunday and I'm really glad I had it yesterday!!  I looked especially professional and particularlyTHIN for the quarterly sales meeting Monday!!  ;>)

[There are a few more pictures but they are "panoramic" views of the City and I'm not sure if they will scan or be reasonably downloadable because of their size.  When they are developed, I'll put them up here if they are able to be downloaded.]

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