Thoughts on Atlanta

There’s “busy” and then there’s “five-days-a-week-travel-for-a-project-with-a-hard-deadline-busy”. As is obvious by the dearth of posts it’s been the latter for me the last couple of months. Now that the project is over I thought I’d re-cap my thoughts on Atlanta, my temporary home-away-from-home…

  • MARTA is the only way to travel, especially between downtown and the airport. Departing Delta travelers can save time by checking their bags just as they exit the MARTA turnstyles rather than using the regular ticket counters in the terminal.
  • The bison burgers at Ted’s are delicious. You might think the chicken-fried chicken would also be good but you’d be wrong. You’re in a bison place–eat the bison.
  • Who knew? Chicken and waffles taste great together! Gladys and Ron’s Chicken and Waffles: Best. Cornbread muffins. Ever.
  • The Georgia Aquarium has whale sharks. Whale sharks! But go early–that place gets seriously busy during the day, especially on weekends.
  • In Little Five Points (or “L5P” if you’re into the whole brevity thing) has a great pizza place called Savage Pizza. The “white on white” was close to the ever-elusive “perfect white pizza” I’ve been searching for ever since enjoying one for the first time as a child on a family trip to Winter Park. Plus there’s at least three independent record stores within two blocks of the place.

Aside from the aggressive pan-handling, which is among the worst I’ve ever experienced, my only complaint is the whole sweet tea versus unsweet tea thing. I know Atlanta is a Southern City and serving pre-sweetened tea is part of the kitsch, but as an avid unsweet tea drinker, it’s a real pain. Every time you order unsweet tea it’s like you’re the first person that’s ever done such a thing. It really throws a kink in the works.
Me: “…and an unsweet tea, please.”

Server: “Sweet tea, you got it.”

Me: “No, unsweet. UN-sweet.”

Server: “UN-sweet?”

Me: “Yes, UN-sweet. Not sweet.”

[Server delivers the tea. I take a sip. My head snaps back in disgust.]

Me: “Sorry, this is sweet tea. I ordered UN-sweet tea.”

This scene replayed itself every 8 out of 10 tea orderings. I kid you not. Once, they actually filled my cup from the container marked, “Unsweet tea”, but someone had inadvertently filled the container itself with sweet tea, thus thwarting the server’s valliant effort at serving me correctly on the first try.

I tried to explain to the Atlanta-ites how crazy and inefficient it is to offer pre-sweetened tea. “Can’t they just let everyone sweeten it themselves?” I asked. Apparently they “brew-in the sweetness” and no one could possibly make it taste just right on their own.

So if you’re an unsweet (UN-sweet!) tea drinker, be sure to factor in some extra time for your lunch and dinner outings.