Tuesday April 23, 2019
The weather has finally been warming up. I can leave my heavy winter jackets at home and walk out with a hoodie - today I even wore shorts. The grass is regaining its full green hue and the trees are beginning to grow their leaves back, and in a few weeks time, we'll start getting some cherry blossoms in High Park.
I spent Easter in Atlanta for a friend's wedding. When they first sent the invitation out, it said "Athens" and I thought to myself what an awesome holiday it would be to go to Greece, especially since I missed that part of Europe in 2017. But no, it was actually Athens, Georgia, which is about an hour and a half outside of Atlanta. The more I researched the sights and sounds (and food) of Atlanta, the more excited I got about going. I booked accommodation, I sorted out a rental car to drive to Athens, and I planned a basic itinerary.
I remember the plane coming into Atlanta. Everything was so green. The trees looked so lush and vibrant, and outside of the city centre it looked like a forest. I found it really pretty. After checking into my AirBnB, I walked around downtown; it was sunny and 25C. Centennial Park was unfortunately closed because of a 4/20 Festival, but there were plenty of other things to see. I had dinner at Sweet Georgia's Juke Joint, where the food was kinda average, but the entertainment was fantastic.
Overnight, a massive thunderstorm hit the city, waking up me and shaking the house. I got an amazing slow-mo capture of one lightning strike over downtown. Another hit so close to my AirBnB that it sounded like an explosion. All this brought heavy rain on Friday morning, so I ended up taking a Lyft to the World of Coca Cola instead of walking there. It was interesting to see all the old Coca Cola memorabilia and advertising from so long ago, as well as learn about how it started and how far they've come. I got to try lots of different drinks from around the world, and I spotted an L&P bottle among the collection of global products, but I was a little bit over the propaganda. As I left, the rain had cleared, so I had lunch at the nearby Waffle House (at the suggestion of my American friends) and walked an hour to Piedmont Park. I walked around the greenery for a bit, catching the regional Pokemon Carnivine (I swear the whole trip wasn't just for Carnivine) but as it rolled around to 3pm, it started to rain again, so I sought shelter from underneath a bridge. When the rain stopped, I continued my explorations to the south, following the beltline trail to the Ponce City Market.
Ponce City Market is a massive food hall, with cuisines from India, South Africa, Japan and China, as well as local flavours. I had a honey and lavender gelato from Honeysuckle Gelato, then for some reason the police showed up and we were told to evacuate the building. It didn't last long though, so I was back inside trying to decide what to have for dinner. I settled on trying some catfish, with a Vietnamese inspired salad, that was really light and refreshing, and I finished it off with a key lime tart and a cashew fudge donut for breakfast on Saturday.
I was up early to get to the airport on Saturday so I could collect my rental car. I was pretty excited about this, it's been a while since I've driven and my first time driving alone on the right side of the road, but I was confident and had no problems. My first stop was to the northern parts of the city for lunch at this Malaysian restaurant that had piqued my interest. I ordered yong tao foo curry laksa, and it was, put simply, absolutely delicious. Afterwards, I drove to Stone Mountain, a massive...stone mountain... to the east of Atlanta, and hiked up for some fantastic views of the city. Just like I had seen on the way in, the whole area was covered in green trees of every shade. The clouds began to darken and the rain that had been far off had begun to creep closer, but thankfully it was only passing, and it wasn't too heavy. I made my way down the mountain and started the hour-long drive to Athens.
I arrived in good time, and after scrubbing up, I drove to the wedding venue. It was cold and a little bit rainy, and for some reason, it never occurred to me that it was going to be an outdoor wedding. I joked to the groom's brother that neither of them were good at choosing the weather for their weddings (his had torrential rain in Auckland). But despite the chilly wind, the rain held out mostly and my friends were married successfully. I didn't really know many people at the wedding, apart from the groom's family, but it was good to see the people I knew and catch up with them. The reception was really nice too, and I was quite impressed by the display of seven cakes at the end, each of them a particular aspect of their heritage, their place of belonging and their home. From Colombia, there was a tres leche (three milk) cake and a negra torta (wine-soaked cake with fruit and nut), from Malaysia there was a pandan cake, from the US there was a ridiculously sweet Georgian pecan pie and a New York cheesecake, and from New Zealand, there was a lamington cake and a pavlova.
It was relatively early to bed and early to rise the next morning as I had to drive back to Atlanta airport and catch my flight. For some reason, it had not crossed my mind that I needed to apply for a visa waiver to get back into Canada, especially since I had just renewed my passport, so there was mild panic as I hurriedly filled out an electronic application for it. Thankfully it was approved within minutes.
The coming few weeks will be busy as we finish everything for E3, and I'm desperate to get back to work to help the team out. I'm also looking forward to the Avengers: Endgame movie, and of course, summer!