Peachtree and Lenox

Last year, I had to go to Atlanta for a conference. That year the conference was good, but the travel just wasn’t fun. Here’s me last year:

Atlanta 2006

You can read about last year if you want, but this year, was a whole different story!

Ian in Atlanta 2007

This year the conference was two days (Monday and Tuesday), so I flew down Sunday. Another thing that made it better, was that Val joined me!

Val in Atlanta

I had a hotel room, so she only needed a plane ticket. She figured she doesn’t have any future plans to visit Georgia and she really wanted to visit the aquarium.

We started off, by deciding to pack in small suitcases so we wouldn’t need to check bags.

Carry On Suitcase

Emily dropped us off at the airport and we got through security with plenty of time. The only excitement was they had to open up Val’s bag to look through and make sure she’s not a bad guy. The security staff was very polite and friendly, even complimenting how neatly Val had packed.

Val packs neat

We rode MARTA (the Marta?) from the airport to the Sheraton Buckhead hotel where we were staying (and where the conference was being held). MARTA was pretty nice and has a great deal where you can get a 3-day unlimited pass for $11 (although they also offer 10 one way rides for $18).

After getting checked and settled into the hotel, we met up with Val’s sophomore year of college roommate Perla (and her lover-friend).

Perla Kacew

It was great to see Perla and her juguete (seen above in blue) was really funny/fun/nice! :)

The “juegete” reference is because they took us out to a pizza place where you place an order and get a random picture of a person to put on your table. On the back of the picture is a phrase. Ours said “Boy Toy” and “Juegete.” The waitstaff then needs to match up the phrase to the picture to bring us our food…sort of like the memory game I guess.

The reason I was in Atlanta was for the Hannon Hill conference. The conference was good, I learned some and got to chat it up with other customers as well as with the always-fun Hannon Hill staff. While I was at the conference all day Monday, Val went on an adventure.

She took MARTA down to the museum area then started walking. She walked the wrong direction and must have looked confused because she was approached by a gentleman named Bob that walked her to the Aquarium. Once they arrived, Bob confessed that he was homeless and needed money for a shower and/or a cigarette. Val gave him all her loose change.

The aquarium was amazing! They have gigantic fish wall that just looks amazing!

Giant Fish Wall

That said, upon closer look at said fish wall, I noticed it was full of fish. I’m glad I wasn’t there!

Fish Wall

Val was able to see all sorts of sea creatures and even pet a shark! Who pets sharks?!?

Shark Touch

The Beluga whales were fun. This one’s smiling because Val said she saw those Beluga’s engaging in some naughty activities!

Baby beluga

Have a whale of time, as the saying goes.

Georgia really went all out on this aquarium. You saw the giant fish wall above, but there was all a fish tunnel!

Fish Tunnel

That’s just amazing.

And get a load of the fish ceiling!

Fish Ceiling

That’s crazy!

Val enjoyed it so much, she went through the whole place twice! I think this picture Val took of the jellyfish is pretty cool.


The glowing jellies reminds me of what happened when she got back to the hotel…but we’re not there yet. Next Val traveled next door to the Museum of Coke!


The Coke museum didn’t sound nearly as exciting as the aquarium, but she did get to try many flavors of Coke from around the world. She liked the apple-kiwi Fanta and the black currant flavors best.

Val then traveled back to the hotel to relax, after a hot, but fun day. I was done with the formal conference part of the day and was having some pizza at the Hannon Hill office down the street. Around 6:30pm I get a call from Val saying the power in the room went out. She goes in the hallway and only emergency lights are on. The elevators don’t work. She goes to the stairs and as the door shuts behind her, realizes it locked her in the stairwell.

Val goes down each flight (from the 5th floor), trying each door to find it locked. Finally she reaches the bottom and is able to exit into the garage. In a light rain she walks around the building, back to the main entrance to get in the lobby to find out the entire hotel has lost power!

Not a huge deal, but when I got back, the power was still out. I felt bad for the hotel staff who were harassed by mean customers and asked stupid questions, such as “Do the TV’s work?”

The hotel staff provided us with complimentary water and glowsticks. Yes, glowsticks. I felt like I was trick or treating. The glowsticks in the darkness helped a little, but…it’s a glowstick.


The rooms had no lights. The hallways had some emergency lighting. The front desk was completely dark, except for the computer monitors, powered by their emergency generator — pretty funny watching people check in, by the way.

In the darkness though, it was interesting to see the hotel bar fully lit and operational, selling plastic cups of wine for $9.

When we decided to go to bed, we were walked to our room by hotel staff (so that they can unlock the stairway door). I feel bad pointing this out, but I was disturbed that the hotel staff let us into our room without verifying that it was in fact our room. We eventually fall asleep, but of course are woken up when the power turns on at 1am! The lights are turning on and the cheer of the people who were awake is what brought us out of our dreams.

Anyways, the rest of the visit was fine and the plane ride home was uneventful. We had to take a taxi home, which was interesting…

The main weirdness of the taxi ride is that even though I asked before-hand if I could pay with credit card, when we arrived at our apartment, the driver realized he didn’t have the machine. He said it was because it was new (which also explained why it didn’t have a number of even the company name on it).

Instead of wanting to go to an ATM or saying the ride is free, he offered to meet up with me the following day! Who does that?!?

Well, I guess I do. I met up with the cab driver and it felt weird…like a drug deal or something. He’s all like, “Hey man, you have the money?” and I’m like, “Yeah, dude. You got the receipt?” then we make a quick transaction and go our separate ways.