Full day at Georgia Aquarium and High Museum

Trip Start Jun 03, 2009
Trip End Sep 18, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Georgia
Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Atlanta is not a pedestrian city, nor does it have an extensive public transportation.  We do have MARTA, which runs north and south, west and east, and has about 20 stops total.  MARTA is somewhat intimidating (check out this video to see what I mean). 

So we decided to drive downtown to check out the largest aquarium in the world (wooo).  CNN and the Coca Cola museum are also fairly entertaining tourist spots.  I always enjoy going to aquariums because I SCUBA dive.  Georgia Aquarium is set up so that you feel like you are underwater at times.  After parking in a questionable $10 parking lot (Laura thought it was a scam because all the cars parked there had out-of-state plates), we flew past the long queue.  Not sure why people don't purchase tickets online... it's so much easier.  The ticket was 26 bucks, ugh, oh well. 

It must have been 2 years since I was here last, and I saw several changes, especially in the river section.  I really like the overhead exhibits because they make you feel like you are underwater!  The whale sharks and sea otters are my favorites.

We were craving seafood after the 2-hour visit, but we ended up eating burgers.  Then we drove a few blocks north to the High Museum of Art.  While we were at a stop light, we saw tents and booths next to the museum.  Some kind of festival was going on!  The people at the Sunny D booth kept waving to us, so I waved back.  Then the girl brought us free samples to our car!  Delicious!   Once we parked in some expensive parking garage, we stopped by the festival, which we found out was the National Black Arts Festival.  Ok... so there were a lot of wooden carvings, colorful clothes, and jewelry.  The air smelled of delicious BBQ of some sort, and a jam band was playing on the stage.  So fun!  After sampling a bunch of drinks, we realized that the High closes at 5 (it was nearly 4 then), so we hurried to the museum.

The highlight was (supposed to be) Monet's water lilies.  I saw one at the National Art Gallery at DC and loved it, so I looked forward to the collection.  Well, the collection ended up being like 3 paintings.  We walked into a large room, turned and saw 2 more paintings, and then... there was a temporary gift shop!  What??  Oh well, I guess you can't expect there to be a hall full of Monet's lilies... but still... even with a student discount, the ticket was like $15!  We expected more!

We then saw Atlanta's Louvre collection... and American modern and contemporary arts.  There is something off about the High Museum, something about the placement of the artworks that I cannot quite put a finger on.  For one, there are too many furnitures in the museum, which makes it look like a furniture gallery, rather than an art museum.

Laura is quite the art guru and could immediately identify many modern artworks.  We were stroling around when a security guy came and told us that the museum was closing.  Eh.

We drank a few beers at a nearby bar called Tap.  By the time we were done, it was around 7:30!  We were supposed to go on a tour of the Sweetwater Brewery!  We figured the brewery has multiple tours and a hopping bar, so we took a cab to the place, which was only like 3 miles away.  But!  The place was shutting down!  What??  Nobody was at the bar except a few employees, who pretty much ignored us!  When we inquired about the tour, they said it ended an hour ago and that there was a private party about to start soon.  They would not serve us anything or offer anything helpful.  It was so awkward.

We cabbed it back to the parking lot and drove over to downtown Decatur. It's a charming place.  I've been there a few times for book festival and restaurant and such.  The Brick Store Pub has a fairly nice collection of beers (Laura's a huge fan of nice beer), so we lounged around for a while.  People were not mingling so much as sitting around with their friends and talking. 

Thus ended our extremely busy 14-hour day tour... I felt very foreign in the city of Atlanta since I haven't been there in ages.  I kind of felt bad for having to host someone when I am clueless as to where everything was.  Thank you, GPS.
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