I wish I could post the pics from Atlanta but of course something is up with my camera. But I did see Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the chief medical corres at the CNN Center for all of 20 seconds before he stomped off looking v.busy with a production assistant. He is short and cute and presumably very smart (doctor, na). He is quite a rock star down there… huge billboards of him all over.
I also saw Margaret Mitchell’s apt. which she shared with her husband, John. She was a reporter for all of 4 years at the Atlanta Journal, which she called the Black Hole of Calcutta because soot from the nearby trains would make the walls dark. When she had to sit at home with a foot injury, John would bring her books from the library but she would finish them so fast, that he finally went and got a typewriter for her and said, “Write your own goddamn book.” She did and called it Gone With The Wind. I remember it as my First Big Fat Book ie. more than 200 pages, before I moved on to the Biography of Charles and Diana at age 12. Mitchell seemed to have fashioned Scarlett after herself (stubborn, pretty and rebellious) and Rhett after her first husband (dubious profession, charming, alcoholic).
Later I dragged my friend’s sister to the Botanical Gardens. We huffed and puffed our way over, thinking it wasn’t a bad walk. Big mistake. Anyway, 45 mins. later we entered a real oasis – the gardens were not just lush and green and full of all things blooming (except the roses, they looked so sad), there was also some sort of exhibit of Big Bugs… ladybugs, caterpillars, ants, spiders, etc. that were made by some artist and scattered all over the garden at strategic locations so you could jump out and say ‘Ooooh! There’s a bug.’ Other highlights were the beautiful orchid conservatory and some bullfrogs that were enjoying the lily pond.
Atlanta doesn’t have the best transit system – the MARTA – but parts of it reminded me of Boston and Chicago. Perhaps it was the old geyser platforms or the marble stone carvings that were being passed off for artwork. But what’s a big city without a dirty subway system? Sadly, the subway also has remnants of the Old South... where segregation still exists and some surrounding counties don’t want the subway to be built for fear of “bad elements” entering their localities.
What Atlanta does have is classic Southern hospitality and food. The people are really warm and friendly, saw the women with pearl necklaces and the church lady hats on, saw the porches and swings that spoke of a lazy summer's day, and of course I had the best chicken and biscuits. I’ll be back for more.