Travel, Work

Fall business trip 2014: Atlanta

October 27, 2014

After the respiratory nightmare that was Las Vegas I was eager for my Fall business trip so I could have some fun without ending up on an inhaler. I was up to go to either Denver or Atlanta. I was sent to Atlanta. I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed because I wanted some place different, and Denver with its lovely weather and phalanxes of legal stoners seemed more interesting than … Atlanta.

But to Atlanta I went. I left on a Wednesday morning and came back Saturday evening.

Some quick backstory — as part of what I do at TNP I occasionally can travel to different medical conferences and exhibit on behalf of our association at meetings. Meeting seasons are in spring and fall, and I grab one city each season. I could do more, but I choose to limit myself to two, because I think I’d burn out if I traveled more than that. Most of the exhibit day includes standing at a table, being a booth crone. The days are weirdly scheduled with longish breaks throughout. During the breaks and after the day is over, I sightsee.

Like Las Vegas, I was lucky enough to be able to stay in the same hotel where the conference was held – the W Midtown. This helps a lot because it’s easier for me to quick-change into my tourist duds and hit the road.

The W | They changed the elevator mats all day

The W | They changed the elevator mats all day

The W was very swanky and hip, and decorated the way I would have decorated a hotel when I was 21 years old. Their minibar is called “The Munchie Box”, their pool area is called “The Wet Deck”, and there are many nook and crannies around the lobby with hidden seating that had to be intended for people to make out in.

My bed | I loved this sofa/chaise

My bed | I loved this sofa/chaise

The bed was comfy and I did most of my work at night from that chaise. I want one of those when I get a house. Is that what we call mid-century modern? The only drawback was that the hotel was pretty dark. It was even rough to get a good light going in the bedroom.

Atlanta’s transit system, MARTA, was not as great as other cities, but it got me close to where I wanted to be. I wish the buses had run more often. I was warned by multiple locals not to use it at night. It was hard to tell if there was truly danger, or if the “wrong type” of people rode it. From the tone I heard, I think there was a bit of classism/racism involved, but I wasn’t about to take a chance.

I arrived on Wednesday afternoon, took an Uber car to the hotel and got our table set up. Then, I took the MARTA train and walked a few blocks to the Centennial Park area. Lo and behold, there was a Ferris Wheel! It’s the SkyView Atlanta. I looked it up before I went, and coworker T was in Atlanta the week before and sent me pictures. I’ve never met a Ferris Wheel that I won’t ride.

Views from the Ferris Wheel

Views from SkyView Atlanta.

Of course, OllieBear was my companion. The views were nice, I got to go around three times and it was less than half the price of the one in Vegas. After my ride I went to Centennial Park to see the amazing Olympic fountain. Buuuuut, it was closed for repairs. Womp womp. Centennial Park was lovely enough, though, and it was a great place to sit, enjoy the warm weather, and check work email.

Next I wandered over to The World of Coca-Cola. One of my disappointments of this trip is that so many places closed at 5pm. I could have hit the museum during the daytime break, but I didn’t want to spend money and rush through the attraction in an hour. Althought The World was closed, I enjoyed walking around the grounds and peering into the gift shop. I also met a cute puppy who wanted nothing more than to chew on my arm.

The statues of Coke's founder | A giant, ghostly  Coke bottle | A puppy I made friend with.

The statues of Coke’s founder | A giant, ghostly Coke bottle | A puppy I made friends with.

I was tired after that, so I took another Uber car and went back to the hotel. Changed into my pajamas and the complimentary bathrobe (ooh la la!), ordered room service, and worked for a while.

During my next day’s lunch break, I hopped onto a MARTA bus and went to see The King Center. AKA “The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc.”

King Museum: Eternal Flame | Ebenezer Baptist Church | King graves

King Museum: Eternal Flame | Ebenezer Baptist Church | King graves

It was a very lovely area. Dr. and Mrs. King are entombed in a monument in the middle of a reflecting pool, and the speakers play excerpts from Dr. King’s speeches. I meandered through the exhibits (sans stuffed bear, I do have a modicum of class sometimes) and the grounds. It wasn’t crowded at all, which surprised me. I didn’t take the house tour, but I did spend a good half-hour or so sitting in Ebenezer Baptist Church. All churches smell the same to me — wood and reverence. It was cool and quiet. I bused back to Midtown, and had lunch at Henry’s. There is a wall dedicated to photos of dogs, and it made me miss my two clowns.

There is a Bliss spa attached to the hotel, so that day I splurged a bit and booked a massage in between the end of exhibiting and the poster presentations/reception. The massage was amazing and I followed it up with a steam shower. Best end of the day ever. I oozed into the reception as relaxed as could be. I had room service again (it was cheaper than the surrounding restaurants) and then turned in.

Friday was another gorgeous day in Atlanta, and I stayed in Midtown on my afternoon break. I am really a fan of Midtown – there are trees and rolling hills galore. It’s just gorgeous. I went to Noodle for lunch, and then visited the Margaret Mitchell House. Gone With the Wind was one of my favorite books as a young person. It rocked my world. I read it every year until Scarlett came out, and that just completely ruined it for me. But for all of the joy I had with the book, I had to visit.

Me | The apartment where Margaret Mitchell wrote 90% of Gone with the Wind | Ollie Bear on MM's porch.

Me | The apartment where Margaret Mitchell wrote 90% of Gone with the Wind | Ollie Bear on MM’s porch.

The tour was $14 and lasted about 45 minutes. The tour guide was amazing, and turned what could have been a boring tour into one I didn’t want to end. Although it’s called the Margaret Mitchell House, at time GWTW was written, the house was divided into very tiny apartments. Margaret and her husband lived on the ground floor. The apartment was so small that they had a tiny dinette set in the bedroom! Did you know that the Catholic Church owns 50% of the trademark and receives 5% of the royalites? You can thank one of MM’s nephews for that. I’m so glad I took the tour. The gift shop was full of GWTW merchandise including the despised, shittastic Scarlett sequel.

That evening I put on my LBD and attended a fancy-schmancy dinner with the faculty. I had steak. It was delicious.

On Saturday, the conference wrapped up at noon, but exhibit hours ended at 10:15. I checked out of the hotel and decided to head to nearby Piedmont Park to check out their Farmer’s Market. But instead, I walked straight into the 2014 Atlanta Pride Festival.

Little girl | Happy beaver | Proud Ollie

Little girl | Happy beaver | Proud Ollie

Note: This little girl was running around with a rainbow flag in Piedmont Park as I ate my cheesesteak and I nearly died from the cuteness of it all. If she is yours, and you don’t want this pic online, email me at ladygypsy *AT* gmail *dot* com and I will take it off.

I’ve never attended a Pride Fest. While I’m a huge supporter of equal rights for the LGBTQ community, I don’t want to be looked on as someone to ride coattails or otherwise appropriate. But this event was definitely for everybody, and there was food. I made a donation, got a sticker, and enjoyed the sights. This was the happiest, most love-filled festival I’ve ever attended. Yes, there were dirty tee-shirts and exposed buttcheeks. (And lots of vegans, which made me feel awful as I ate the aforementioned cheesesteak.) But there were couples in love, and families with kids and lots of rainbows. It was so much fun that I hated to leave. But I had to leave my hotel at 1pm to get back to the airport in time.

And that was my stay in Atlanta. It surprised and delighted me, and if I ever kick the WDW vacation habit, I’ll head back for some actual vacationing.

Fall business trip high points:

  • Gorgeous Midtown Atlanta, with its greenery
  • Sunny and 80 degree weather every day
  • Very friendly people
  • Uber! It was about the same price as a taxi, with better customer service and a neat app

    Low points:

  • Whyyyyy do the museums all close at 5? I wanted to see the CNN center but couldn’t.
  • MARTA could have been more convenient

    And by the way, the meeting was a success, too. I signed up three new members!

    Past business trips: Las Vegas, San Francisco, New Orleans.

  • You Might Also Like

  • AwesomelyOZ October 27, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    That sounds like fun! I’ve never been to Atlanta but have heard it’s quite nice down there. 🙂 I haven’t tried Uber either but they’re definitely annoying the cabbies here in DC since they’re pushing to be licensed similarly to regular cabbies and it’s pushing some buttons!! Hope you have a great day Kim! -Iva