Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Cheers Atlanta!

Ok as promised by humble me, here's the pages-and-pages travel report on our Atlanta trip last weekend (Ok ok its not that long :-p). I'm warning you, proceed only if you want to read my rant about all the places we visited in Atlanta and how we spent each and every moment. If you are reading this line, then I'm assuming you really have no other better work to do at this moment and hence you have agreed to read till the end. Its a binding contract failing which you'll be sued :-D. As usual, click on the photos to view all our Atlanta snaps. Again I repeat, limited offer :).

Lets start at the very beginning, a very good place to start (I must admit that I stole this line blatantly from the song "Do Re Mi" from the Sound of music movie :-D). There were 3 main purposes to visit Atlanta.

  • Sri's friend Anjay was shifting to a job in Atlanta and needed our help in moving some of his things.

  • Sri's cousin Uday lives in Atlanta and he had a baby recently.

  • Though Sri had worked in Atlanta before, he hadn't seen some of the things its famous for. Moreover he wanted to show them to me too (very kind of him :-p).
Since last weekend was the weekend Anjay was shifting, we also decided to go there at the same time.

14th October 2005:

We left Lexington at about 2:00PM on Friday noon. Yup, I had to finish all my assigned work early and Sri came home early. So we were off. The drive from Lexington to Atlanta is more than 5 hours. Anjay had left in the morning itself, so he'd pick up his stuff from us after we reached. Everything was fine until there was a whopping traffic jam when Atlanta was just an hour away!! We were stuck for more than 1.5 hours and reached Atlanta only at about 9:30 PM in the night :-(. Just landed at the hotel and settled for the night.

15th October 2005:

Saturday early morning, we set off towards Atlanta downtown to visit CNN headquarters. CNN has a huge building (obviously what with them having so many channels and minting huge amounts of money :-p). Sri had bought the tickets online the previous day and only had to show the printout at the counter to get the tickets. We had a breakfast of some sandwiches at the CNN food court and were ready for the 9:00AM studio tour.

The tour started with a security check and climbing an escalator which is supposedly world's steepest escalator. These Americans have the tendency to find the impossible thing and tag it to their attraction. One escalator is steepest, another is longest, yet another is shortest, widest, so on and so forth :-p. First we saw how the images are mixed and telecasted.

Later we were taken to one studio and the guide even demonstrated in front of the green screen how the weather is telecasted. The anchors are not supposed to wear clothes with the same green colour, or the microchip will replace the green with the weather image :-D. Next we were taken to the studios from where CNN was being telecasted. We could see the anchors and the people collecting news working there. All this from a glass window. And we weren't allowed to take any photos from this point of time. Maybe CNN thinks we'll sell them to a rival channel and mint money. And of course they don't want anyone else to make money other than themselves :-p. We were also taken to the CNN Headline centre and later to CNN International where news keeps pouring from all over the world. In between these studios we were shown many shows on the working of the channel, how the famous anchors started etc. All in all very interesting :).

Our next place of visit was the Coke Headquarters in Atlanta downtown. Since it was a walkable distance from the CNN building, we walked :). On the way, there is a place called Underground Atlanta which is full of shops and carts like in India :). The following is a shot of the fountain in front of Underground Atlanta. It was a 3 level fountain and I absolutely loved the bronze statue:

So finally we found the Coke centre and entered it. Again there was a tour which we took. The tour had history of Coca Cola (secret formulas which they never revealed ;-) :-D) and how Cokes are bottled etc.

We also saw how previously Coke was actually sold as a Fountain drink and took photos everywhere. But the best part was the "Taste Coke flavours from all over the world" section. There were ginger, litchi, fruit punch, cherry, vanilla etc flavoured drinks. One of the worst I tasted was the Italian Beverly Bitter Coke which is actually bitter and worse than medicines. I drank it first, grimaced and conned Sri into drinking it, saying its very nice. Poor guy, the expression on his face was worth the prank :-D. The tour was probably not worth the money we paid, but it was pretty informative :).

Next we headed towards Stone Mountain park, which is one of the very famous National parks near Atlanta. They have carved a Memorial Carving on the stone mountain which is very famous.

We enjoyed the aerial tramway to the top of the mountain. The views were beautiful all around. The walk around the mountain was also very exciting :). Yup I did take hell lot of photos :).

After coming down the mountain, we caught the pumpkin express. Its a train which goes around the mountain with comedy show stops in between. After that we found a nice place on a lawn and waited. What were we waiting for? The Laser and Fireworks show that Stone Mountain Park has every Saturday.

The show started at 8:00PM and went on till almost 9:00PM. And it was awesome!! The synchronization between the songs, lasers colours and the fireworks was simply amazing. I had never seen any fireworks in US before, so this was my first one and it was just what I expected :). Most of the songs were about American Patriotism and it was really nice to see people around us even joining in some of the singing :). The photos didn't come out that well though :-D. But that's ok. It was a really enjoyable experience :). After the show, we went back home and retired for the day..

16th October 2005:

The first objective of the day was Anjay collecting his things from us. The second was to visit Sri's cousin Uday and his wife Kruthi in Alpharetta. It was a reliving of memories for Sri, as he had lived in Alpharetta before for a project in 2002. He showed me his office and the house in which he lived. The excitement was evident on his face :).

We found Uday's place very easily. I had never met them before, so we had introductions all around. Then we met their just-over-one-month-old baby boy Varun. We had a nice time what with me holding him, him sleeping without any concern and his parents complaining about how he kept them awake all night :-D. We also met Kruthi's parents who had come recently to visit their grandson and had a lovely breakfast with them. So after presenting Varun with some gifts we had taken and taking loads of photos, we bid goodbye to them.

Our next objective was to go to Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga which is about an hour away from Atlanta towards Lexington. To visit a waterfall called Ruby falls. The Ruby Falls is an 145 foot waterfall inside a cave. Its supposedly the largest falls inside a cave!! Its still privately owned. We were pretty horrified at the fee they were charging, but bought the tickets anyways. We were taken underground in an elevator about 130 feet below the ground! The caves were also beautiful with lots of interesting formations like the cactus, candle, chandelier, Frozen Niagara etc formations. Moreover we were shown history videos on Plasma TVs and there was surround sound everywhere in the cave. No wonder they were charging so much!! But the falls were pretty much worth it. It was wonderful. The photo may not show the beauty as it was pretty dim-lit, but take a look:

Next we visited a place called Rock City Gardens. Its built around rocks on Lookout Mountain and the paths go over rocks, under rocks and between rocks :). The paths are beautiful and the whole place is constructed like a magical getaway place :). The best part about it was a waterfall in a place called Lovers' Leap :).

Our last stop for the whole trip was at the "Lookout Mountain Incline Railway". Its supposedly the steepest tram railway. I believed that!! Man, its oh so steep!! The trip down and then back up took only about half an hour in total. But it was exciting and a great experience. We almost expected thing to speed up like a roller coaster :-D. Sadly, it never did :).

By then it was about 6:00PM in the night. Lexington was still about 4 hours away. So we set off. Thankfully, we didn't have any traffic jams on the way back and we were able to reach Lexington at about 10:45PM in the night. Sri was the only one who drove the whole way and back, so he was tired. But I, who did nothing, was also very tired. Guess the trip took its toll :).

BTW now I'm wondering whether I did the right thing in commenting all those things about the various places. If in India a blogger is sued for something he wrote, I'm in America!! What if they all read this and sue me? That's a very distressing idea :(. Hehehehehe :)). Me just kidding. Who reads my blog :-p!! So this is it. Another great end to another lovely trip :). Adios folks and have a good day :).


on9thcloud retorted...

Looks like you had fun..Nice photos.It's informative too.
We are planning to visit Atlanta and now that I know what I have to look forward for:-)

geethamh retorted...

hgvery good narration!By sitting hereitself i have visited Atlanta!

Deeps retorted...

>> Lavanya >>

Yup :). It was lots of fun. Each place is a discovery here, which is what I love :). We actually wanted to visit another place called Lost sea, which is 2 hours away from Atlanta, but never got the time :(. Well, maybe next time. And hope you have a lovely trip too :).

>> Mom >>

Hehehee :). Ista aaitha? Good :).

Missy (Ms. C) retorted...

Nice write-up!

I am curious to know how much they charged for the ticket at the Ruby Falls? :)

Deeps retorted...

It was about 13$. May not seem like much, but till now we have enjoyed some cave tours with fee ranging from only 6-8$, so this did seem like too much for us when we first saw it ;-) :-D..

Thanu retorted...

So did u like Atl? That is my fav place, maybe b/c I grew up there I'm biased. We alwaz used to take our guest to Ruby falls. U didn't got the aquarium in Chatnooga. They have a great collection. Glad to know that u had a great time


wise donkey retorted...

:))hey people read ur blogs, just that ur readers are not the suing kind:D

great to know u had a fab time:)
and loved the pics :)

Deeps retorted...

>> Thanu >>

Yup especially Alpharetta :). The colony where Uday lives is absolutely fab :).

>> Gaya >>

As long as anybody from CNN, Coke or Ruby falls don't read this, I'm ok :-D. Thanks :).

Soumya retorted...

I was out of town for the weekend and by the time I came back & settled down, there's three posts to comment on!!!...Well, it took me all these days to read all of them and think on what to write...

Atlanta brings back memories of my sister's first trip to US...At that time, she'd write us long emails every weekend and tell us about all the places she visited...Those emails were my first introduction to "weekend", "downtown" and such "Americanisms"...

Ur description of the trip is so complete and detailed that all I can say is go to many more places and keep writing ur travel experiences which are so enjoyable...Really u've got a way to make the reader feel as if he was himself there...Good work yaar...Keep it up...

The traffic jam must have been a frustration though...Also, the tramway looked scary to me...But to a "bungee jumper" (if at all there's such a term) it must have been cakewalk...

Deeps retorted...

Soum, memories are very short lived. I mean, even though you might remember you had been to a place, after sometime you might not remember the intricate details of the trip.

I write travel posts not only to tell my family what we did during the trip in detail (which is impossible to explain over phone) but to also preserve those little details. Now I can always come back and read and remember ;-) :).

And yup, the tramway was pretty scary. I did wish I could have bungee-jumped from there hehehee :)).