Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Atlanta is a strange and interesting mix of old and new, brand spanking modern high-tech new, with miles of fibre optics, steel and glass towers, technology buildings, CNN Headquarters, vs. old memories of South, The Confederacy, racism and civil rights struggles.
Aggressive panhandlers, slightly scary first time on MARTA, ranting and raving, wanting to engage, shouting and swearing, but I walk away and ignore, just the same strategy as with the Invader from Mars.
MARTA to Fivepoints, can't get to Eastbound to King Memorial, so I walk through Underground Atlanta, where another street guy spies me eyeing a map. He asks, "What you looking for?” but this guy smiles, doesn't seem crazy, so I get directions to the ball park, and when he asks for money, I give him some and he seems pleased. Stroll past the State Capitol, statues of great Georgians (including Jimmy Carter) but also plaques describing the heroics of Confederate Army leaders during Sherman's occupation, destruction of the city, and then the March to the Sea, right there, on the Capitol Mall.
Turner Field was locked up tight, so I peer through the gate at a modern (retro) facility where KevMck and I saw a playoff game some ten years ago. Old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium footprint is directly outside the Braves' home, and is marked with a blue wall, now serving as a parking lot.
Returned via CNN Headquarters, remarkable as a huge atrium, with food court with all the usual suspects of fast (and bad) cuisine, adjacent to basketball/hockey arena. The building opens up to Centennial Olympic Park, a civic jewel with fountains, open spaces, artwork, monuments to 1996 Olympians, lots of people using, walking, touch football, both Atlantans and tourists. Decided to forgo World of Coca-Cola ($15 for more diabetes!) and worked my way northward.
While stopping to snap a photo of an old Carnegie library, still another street person comes up. This time, the line is, "Are you an American patriot?" I reply, "I'm an American....," and the pause cracks him up...he claims to be a gulf war veteran, family man, on food stamps, kid at home......I tell him I'll give him a dollar, and he's pleased. On my way again, passing Gladys Knight's Chicken and Waffles restaurant.
Instead of waiting in line, hoofed it to the Varsity, an Atlanta institution that serves two miles of chili dogs daily, or so they claim. Gut bomb time. Great pictures of famous eaters, including Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Roy Blount, George Bush Sr, Evander Holyfield, Warren Buffett...."What'll ya have?" Fed my face and digested by walking around Bobby Dodd Stadium at Georgia Tech.