On that midnight train to Georgia
Trip Start Apr 18, 2011
65Trip End Dec 09, 2011
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Where I stayed
Atlanta becomes a city of firsts for myself; first baseball game, first Amtrak train, first revolving bar, first hitchhike for a car. In fact my first glimpse of the Georgian capital's skyline promptly brought with it another first- sharing a taxi to the hostel with a 70 year old Brisbane resident called Dorothy- I resist the temptation to ask if has been to Kansas yet.
It's a fair deal though, she doesn't really know of anywhere to stay and I'm skint; she pays, I direct. The hostel is a renovated old brothel (better than it sounds) but it looks like some serious cash was spent on it sometime around the end of the 70s. It has character, stained glass windows, hearts ingrained into the banisters, the huge balconies are really nice- this feels like I've entered the south
I'm not in the deep south but I get my first real taste of southern hospitality. Dave a two week resident of the hostel (waiting to move into a new apartment) sees it as his duty to show tourists the best parts of Atlanta but at local rates.
From the $1 Major League Baseball tickets, to free entry into strip clubs. He frequently exclaims at random points throughout my stay "I like to have a good time", and I struggle to disagree with him. My first night is one of the best I've had on my journey so far. Sneaking alcohol into the Braves vs. Brewers game ensures the seemingly slow pace of baseball and the occassional thud of leather on bat becomes just a beat to chat over, meet some more locals and enjoy the Atlanta skyline. I witness my first home run and feel like the dollar ticket just might have been worth it.
From here Dave takes us (myself, Johannes and Marcel) to the Westin hotel, apparently the tallest hotel in the western hemisphere, where we are privy to its revolving bar and expensive drinks prices. Not satisfied with the ratio of drinks prices to calibre of view we move onto an extremely dodgy strip club
Stumbling out the bar at closing we hitch a lift off a rather large guy called Greg (initially the decision to hitchike was considered a safe option considering the neighbourhood we would otherwise have to walk through, and the fact Dave looked like he'd be handy if anything did kick off- however considering the size of our driver I think that second assumption would have been fundamentally flawed). Either way, we made it back safe and sound, and a little bit more experienced after my first taste of Georgia life.
Seeing my Atlanta visit as a place to rest after two weeks of intense travelling, I take it easy for my remaining few days- but this too also brings to light the limited number of things to visit. I miss out the CNN and Coca Cola museums but don't feel at any great loss. It seems the Atlanta Olympics brought with them a great surge of investment which has left a legacy no bigger than a commemorative water fountain/park and several large hotel chains
I enjoy my time here- not really as a result of the buildings and monuments that document the city's history. But once again down to the people I meet. It is all too clear that hostel folk have one common trait- the will to explore. Whether motivations stem from an indecisiveness of life's direction, the need to escape or just the desire to find something different to work toward. I miss home, but I love the fact that most people I meet have a laidback philosophy and an underlying need for change, for excitement- I just wonder whether this craving ever stops.
For now it definitely doesn't, I sit on another train, this time bound for the Big Easy, New Orleans. I travel down with another German called Max who has just spent 7 months in Ecuador and although two years younger than me, I feel like he could very easily pass for 30- a seasoned traveller. Marcel and Johannes will meet up with us again tomorrow but I am all too aware that after this stint to Louisianna we will all go our seperate ways. I just have to hope New Orleans has a large community of travelling Germans I can co-ordinate travel plans with again.