Hello, friends! Before I launch into the multi-part rehash of the Trip of Northern Aggression, I have to thank my wonderful guest posters, who definitely brought The Awesome while GP and I were busy soaking up the charm and humidity of the southeastern United States (for real, y’all, it was a bit much…and it’s only April!). We technically returned last night, landing at SFO a bit after 9pm, but there was no way I was getting a post in, as our biorhythms (or whateverthehells) were still determined to be on East Coast time and we were pretty wiped, despite the relative awesomeness of our Delta flight.
At any rate, the trip began early Wednesday morning, when we woke up at 5 to make it to the airport for our 8am flight. (Note: if any of you decide to visit me– and why the heck not? I’m fun, and I have multiple fold-out couches, as well as an OG Nintendo, where you can play Mario to your heart’s content– please try to fly into SJC, as that is a mere 10-minute drive from The Apartment. I’m just sayin’.) My dad had stayed over, and had graciously offered to drop us off. The flight itself was fairly unremarkable, as far as cross-country flights go, but it had been awhile since I had flown Delta, and I was pleased to find a super-sweet in-the-back-of-the-seat-in-front-of-me video monitor, where I could create playlists from the roughly 75 albums (ranging from High School Musical soundtrack to Feist and Amy Winehouse) and play trivia with my fellow passengers (you know I kicked their asses, too). Landed in ATL a bit before 4pm, grabbed the luggage, and hopped on MARTA.
I’m giving MARTA its own (pretty brief) paragraph here, because I think it is merited, and because you, internets, are not the boss of me. As far as mass transit goes, the MARTA system is, I think, pretty typical of what most American transit systems are; it doesn’t extend much past the dense center of the city, despite extensive suburban surroundings, its fee structure and ticketing interface are a bit confusing, but it gets the job done. After listening to GP bitch about the layout and flow of the ticketing kiosk (he’s an interface guy, it’s what he does), I was not ready to be friends with MARTA, but she was redeemed by running a healthy number of regular trains, which is refreshing given the scarcity of our local light rail trains and my general impatience with life. Luckily, Atlanta has the good sense to extend their mass transit to the airport (which BART has only done in the last few years), and the airport is within about six stops of where GP’s college friend lives, in the Five Points area of downtown.
We arrived at the friend’s apartment, which is inside a cool, early 20th century building, but sadly unairconditioned due to some freon deficiency, and settled in with some beers and a rooftop tour of Atlanta’s downtown. From the building’s roof, you can see the CNN Center, Centennial Park, the enormous Grady Memorial Hospital, giant buildings for AT&T, Coca-Cola, and SunTrust, and a bunch of other general Big City-type stuff. Our dinner place was in the hilariously named Poncey-Highland district, and was quite reminiscent of a lot of places that we have here in California: dark and loud, with more personality than quality. There was a bit of confusion with our waiter, who I am pretty sure may have just been a busboy and knew nothing about their wine list…but I will stop before I sound like an unreasonable snob. Determined to have an Authentic Southern Experience, I was polite and ordered some gumbo and a cheese plate to go with our bottle of California wine (come on, I drank tons of bourbon later in this trip!). The food was delicious, and we returned to the apartment so I could watch the boys play some RBI Baseball on the NES (because we are classy and it is 1985), and then pass out on one of the two twin air mattresses that constituted our bed (it was very I Love Lucy).
Oh, and what did we do on our first full day, you ask? Nearly all the things. But you’ll have to wait for the next chapter in my ToNA miniseries to find out exactly what…