Part 1 – Part 2
Friday night I was supposed to be getting ready for the weekend but instead found myself eating ice cream and watching Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and telling myself I’d get right on it.
Unlike Chicago and New York, I didn’t have to get up before sunrise as I snagged a midday flight. The next morning I parked in the Green Lot at Dulles and got the shuttle and went on into the terminal. No suitcase to check. Just my little bag with me. I brace myself for the TSA line and head down the escalator to it… to find no line at all. I walked straight over to the guy who checked my ID and boarding pass and mentioned I’m not sure I’d ever seen the TSA line not completely packed. “You just missed it,” he replied.
Way early for my flight, I went to the long C&D concourse where my gate was, near the beginning of the C gates. And I got to do something I’d always wanted to do but have done before: Walk from one end to the other! Touched the wall by C1 at 10:40am and walked all the way to the other end, touching the wall there at 10:55am. As I approached the latter, by a gate that was not being used at the time, some guy who worked at the airport was sitting in one of the chairs, watching me. Once I touched the wall and started back, he said, “it’s a long way, isn’t it? how long did it take you?” I told him 15 minutes and continued. Okay, so I guess this is a common thing here.
On my way back, I noticed this giant anthropomorphic kinder egg outside a duty free shop declaring a love for DC. Aren’t kinder eggs illegal in the US? If this thing is here, I can only assume it stowed away on a flight from Europe but got caught at customs. Must be waiting for a flight back out of the country. The professed love for DC must be trying to make nice with the locals so maybe it can stay, or it’s gloating that it got this far. Not sure which.
Departure time neared so I returned to my gate to charge my phone some before boarding. Around me were more passengers on my flight steadily arriving, as well as this nursing mother jail.
Then we were boarded and in the air for a couple of hours, and we descended, and I saw below the five large parallel concourses that make up Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson, in all its oversized glory. We landed and out we came to navigate that monstrosity.
Well, actually, our gate was like right past security, so those five large parallel concourses were unneeded.
Anyway, I brushed by all the airport stuff, being in a bit of a hurry, to the airport’s MARTA stop. I bought a card in a machine and was soon on the train heading toward downtown Atlanta. My destination was Peachtree Center, or would have been, but I had to go on ahead to Midtown to pay my respects to something that’s made quite an impact on my life.
I’m referring of course to…
What? Cartoon Network has been a major part of my life! Before it, the cartoons were on TNT and TBS, and holy crap, I’m showing my age here.
Also, Adult Swim mural!
And Adult Swim itself.
My rational mind tells me all that’s inside these buildings are offices, but some part of me insists that inside is a crazy cartoony fun house that I really wish were giving tours. Someday. For now, well, I’m in Georgia in late August so naturally it is HOT! Back to the MARTA station, a wait for the next train that makes DC’s Metro look like a paragon of efficiency, and now I got out at Peachtree Center, and over a couple blocks to check into my hotel.
Ohhh, there’s fruit infused water in the lobby! Yay! A little confusion finding the correct elevator because of the hotel’s weird layout, and I found my fancy little room.
But I was running behind on time, with the long wait for the MARTA train at Midtown canceling out any time I gained from my flight arriving early. So after unloading unnecessary items from my bag in the room and enjoying the lovely air conditioning, I was back outside.
And over to Centennial Olympic Park. Remember the 1996 Olympics?
Ah, so here’s the crazy Turner fun house. By which I mean CNN Center. Over a food court where I got a much desired late lunch.
Wait. Is that..?
It is. It is!
CARTOON NETWORK STORE!!!
Oh, it’s small. But Cartoon Network stuff!!!
A bigger CNN store was adjoining, and really all one big Turner store.
Outside of which was a Conan dolphin, for some reason.
And a depressed Rick.
So I was going to buy out the stores, but I was in a hurry, and resolved to come back later. Back out through Centennial Olympic Park…
Oh, look, fish!
I had tried to buy a discounted ticket for entry after 4pm for the Georgia Aquarium the day before, which they said was available only on their website, but the website wasn’t cooperating with me. I said as much at the ticket window, and they gave me the discounted ticket anyway. Yay!
Anyway, fish tunnel.
Also, whale shark.
This little fish is tired and just wants to rest on this flower. Got a problem with that?
Archerfish spits a jet of water at a bug to knock it in the water, eats it, and says “Do you want ants? Because that’s how you get ants.”
Piranha has seen some things, man, and some stuff. Wouldn’t recommend it!
Penguin sees you. Penguin doesn’t care.
Otter in the water is all like “hey, let’s play” while the other is like “go away, I’m chilling”.
This friendly grouper says hello.
I still had time to walk through each exhibit at least twice as well as catch the last dolphin show. There was also some petting of sting rays and even saw a guy propose to his girlfriend in the tunnel not long before closing. I just barely had time to buy a couple of things at the gift shop, and back on out into the park.
Pretty lively for after 9pm, but it was still rather hot, so that Olympic fountain was certainly refreshing to all those little kids.
So my phone and I were both starving, so I headed back toward my hotel in search of food and an outlet. My hotel was one of several in downtown Atlanta with a revolving restaurant at the top, so I went on up to check it out.
And after a “hahaha, NOPE!” at the plate of three shrimp that was like $35 and the literal teaspoon of chocolate mousse that was like $10, I walked around the revolving part to see out the windows before hopping back down the elevator.
I settled for the much more sensible $6 steak salad, a pretty decent portion, too, from the hotel’s other restaurant back down in the lobby.
Finally back up to the hotel room, where I planned the following day and fell asleep watching Hunger Games.
This has been Day 96 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 16.