On that midnight train to Georgia

Trip Start Apr 18, 2011
Trip End Dec 09, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Georgia
Thursday, May 5, 2011

Once again, herein lies the account of some wandering traveller, no real cause- just happy to be here, or there, or wherever.

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 think if these walls could talk, they'd probably get arrested.

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. Here the price of drinks is less but so too is the view; one of the older ladies of the night gives me her number and assures me I wont have to pay. I look down to see her number on the stained napkin she hands me (this too is a first) and shifting my gaze upward reply with a sheepish maybe- although we both know what this means.

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.
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Yuggie on

Yo Gipper! It's nice you found a laundrette that made you feel at home!
Not sure about four geezers going to watch a rounders match - even if it was only a dollar.
I'm jealous about you going to New Orleans. Been watchin Treme on Sky Atlantic and the music is banging, assuming the show is in any way representative of the place.
Don't forget to say the standard good luck phrase when finally splitting from your three gay German friends. Look them square in the eye and say with feeling: "ich liebe mein grossen pimmel!"
I reckon there's more to the story of the strip club and the offer from 'Dirty Gertie'! I'll wait for the book though for more juice on that one.
As always it's a pleasure to read about your travails and good to know your enthusiasm's undiminished.
Just keep safe and keep the reports coming in. Before you go some breaking news from Rhyl for you before I go.
A chav died of third degree burns today. Apparently he was offered work and sprinted from the job centre so fast the friction caused his shell suit to spontaneously combust.
That's all from sunny Rhyl. Love you mate and keep safe. XXX

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