Showing posts with label atlanta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label atlanta. Show all posts
Thursday, 25 July 2013

The BeltLine

21st November 2012
There weren't too many people staying in Atlanta for Thanksgiving however Sunbear and I were having a Thanksgiving dinner with a host family. But more on that later. By this stage, the start of Thanksgiving break had already started and I had wanted to explore more of Atlanta.

When googling for things to visit, the Beltline was one of the 'attractions' that attracted my attention. 

The BeltLine is a former railway corridor around the core of Atlanta, Georgia which is under development in stages as a multi-use trail. Some portions are already complete, while others are still in a rough state but hikeable. Using existing rail track easements, it aims to improve not only transportation, but to add green space and promote redevelopment. There are longer term visions for streetcar or light rail lines along all or part of the corridor.
We started the Beltline on the west side with plans to finish on the east and head up north to Piedmont Park. The west side was a little dodgy especially compared to Decatur where we were staying. Decatur is one of the richer areas of Atlanta (and technically its own city) and the typical two storey type mansions were plentiful. Out on the western side, these were considerably smaller dwellings and there is something unsettling when a house needs visible double bolts and sometimes bars around the patio, also with it's own double lock door.
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A homeless man's bed underneath the bridge. Impressive although a little scary too.

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  This was basically the entire area of the west side. I believe we also walked past some correctional services of some sort too. The Caucasian and the Asian walking around, an odd sight I am sure.

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This convenience store had bars on every single window and at the cashier desk, there was a whole window of, what I imagine to be, bullet proof glass.

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We headed to the east side (Old Fourth Ward) and the area was vastly different. The houses were a lot prettier and we stumbled upon a home with a puppy! It was originally lying on the patio however it quickly ran down to the gate and we petted it for a while. The puppy was so adorable and so hyper.

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The BeltLine is a work in progress, with the east side being predominately a walking trail through cleared bushland. The east side however is completed with bicycle and walkpaths.

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One of my favourite shots.

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Atlanta doesn't have a Chinatown. However very close to the outskirts of Atlanta in the north, there is a 'Chinatown' which is basically a small shopping area with Asian supermarkets and authentic Asian food places, almost like the food court at Dixon Street in Sydney. There were a lot of Asian-fusion chains such as Tin Drum, however, you can't help but raise your eyebrow when the pad thai has jalape├▒o on top. Hmm.

We ordered two spicy Szechuan dishes. After a while, I couldn't quite feel my lips anymore, it was a continual burning sensation. However, Sunbear loved it and loved spicy food. Although all the Asians were in total disbelief when we arrived back at Highland Lake.

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Overall, it was an interesting day. It was lovely to explore more of Atlanta and to see the 'darker' side of Atlanta. From what I gathered, the wealthier you are, the further north you would live. Conversely, the further south you head, heading to the airport, the more dodgy the areas became.
Friday, 5 July 2013

Atlanta Quickshot Shooting Range

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A group of exchange students visited the shooting range and I happily joined as I was fairly certain that that would be the only chance to hold a firearm. It was surprising how easy it was to book a session, almost as simple as buying a movie ticket. Everyone just had to hand over a form of identification which they would return after the conclusion of the firing session. No age checks and no questions asked. There were also a few -I believe- dates happening at the shooting range which I found interesting.

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The safety goggles and ear protection were awkward as they kept on sliding off my face/ head. I used the two smallest firearms (I don't even know what they were, 8mm and 12mm, perhaps?). No idea if I even shot at the target successfully, but the experience was surreal. I had never held a gun before and didn't realise that it would feel so, now this sounds silly, but heavy and solid, which is logical as it is constructed from metal.

I also tried the bigger gun. I am sure it has some fancy name, but it was basically a machine gun of some sort. That was freaky, especially when I held the trigger down and bullets just fired continuously. The force that pushed me back after each shot was a bit scary; the employee was bracing my shoulder to ensure that I didn't move back too much.

An interesting experience and I can now say that I have fired a gun. I picked up 3 shell casings from the floor of the range and they are now lined up on my shelf of memories in my room.

Coming up next, my fall break trip to New York City and Washington D.C. (Still trying to figure out the best way to divide the trip).
Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Atlanta History Centre

15th September 2012
As part of the City Pass, I also visited the Atlanta History Centre which was not worth it at all. I actually went twice since another cultural immersion activity was to attend the Fall Folk Festival, which sounded grander than what it actually was.

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Sunbear and I also had tea at the cafe. It was so weird; we were completely under-dressed and by my standards Sunbear is always overdressed. Flower wallpaper, little girls wearing very girly dresses and ribbons in their hair, it was not what I had expected. Being the cheapskates that we were I was, we only ordered tea but in addition to our tea we had complimentary muffins and scones!

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The only photo I took at the place; it was a bit awkward  to take more.

After, we walked back to Lenox Mall in Buckhead to catch the shuttle bus back to the apartments. On the way, we passed by IHOP which is one of my favourite places! I first learnt about IHOP from a guy who I used to talk to online back in the day when I first discovered the internet.

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And the second visit to the Atlanta History Centre on 21st September 2012.

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This sounds like a very odd comment but these were Angora goats and they were so soft! All that I could think was: no wonder angora jumpers and scarves are so soft! Lol.

Side note: I am on a blogging ball right now. Two reason. One, I am putting off my applications and two, it feels weird to be blogging about something that happened a year/ over a year ago.

Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola & CNN

8th September 2012
I purchased the Atlanta City Pass which was a $74 ticket that would allow entry to: Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, CNN tour, Zoo Atlanta/ Atlanta History Centre and Fernbank Museum of Natural History/ High Museum of Art. I visited: Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, CNN tour, Atlanta History Centre and Fernbank Museum of Natural History. In hindsight, it wasn't really worth it; the only worthwhile places were World of Coca Cola and the Georgia Aquarium.

I visited 3 places that day, starting with Georgia Acqurium. It is the world's largest aquarium (or the world's largest tank) and I arrived fairly early, beating the rush and the crowds. I have only been to the aquairum in Sydney which in comparison is fairly pathetic. It is almost like a bicycle compared to a Ferrari.

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This was one of my favourite part of the of the place. You had to crawl underneath and then there were certain areas that you could stand up to see the penguins close up.

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Another brilliant part of the aquarium. After walking through the tunnel, it ends in a ginormous viewing glass. There were two massive whale sharks, hundreds of fish and a few large sting rays as well.

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Overall, I quite liked the aquarium, especially the spa music although I will probably never visit another aquarium in the near future. Seen one, seen them all, especially going to one as large as Georgia Aquarium.

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The World of Coke was interesting. The best part was the tasting room although I found it amusing that there were drinks divided by continents however Australia (and Antarctica) were missing. The worst drink was the infamous Beverly.

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The CNN tour was very boring but I visited purely because I already had a ticket. I visited on a Saturday ergo there was no one working at the studio hence the empty chairs at the computers. Although the floor of the food court was very cool; there are yellow tiles for the location of CNN studios around the world.

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Of course I couldn't live in Atlanta without trying Chick-Fil-A. Chick-Fil-A is also headquartered in Atlanta. The burger was pretty good and I love the waffle fries. I met an interesting gentleman at the food court. I believe the conversation went along the lines of, "can I get you a coffee? Are you sure you don't want a coffee? You look really beautiful. Okay bye."
Tuesday, 2 July 2013

"What'll ya have?"

The Varsity

The Varsity is an iconic fastfood restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia. It has the world's largest drive in and serves overpriced and terrible food. Upon entering the restaurant, you are exposed to a typical diner setting and also a very long counter with the workers yelling, "What'll ya have?" repeatedly. When I went the first time with some girls, it was very off-putting. The restaurant was pretty quiet and there were 5 employees just yelling it repeatedly.

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I went a second time with all the other exchange students before the Georgia Tech football game. It was completely packed and only then was it appropriate for the employees to be yelling. I believe that my arteries clogged up from the greasy food.