Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Atlanta Trip

After the Hawaii trip in July 2009 my husband and I decided to go to Atlanta to visit my sister-in-law and her family in December of the same year. We booked our ticket for the same. My son and I were not keeping well for few days. I was very worried whether we could travel. On 24th in the morning the LAX airport became so crowded that it became news.  Too many people were traveling that time. We thought the same thing would be repeated in the evening also so we started early from home for our evening flight. But the LAX airport was not much crowded like morning so we could do all the formalities at airport very peacefully. In the airport while we had been going through the security check suddenly the security alarm started ringing. We couldn’t understand what happened; we only followed the security officers’ direction and waited quietly. My son slept most of the time so we didn’t face any trouble.
In the early morning of 25th we reached Atlanta airport, officially known as Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport which is the world’s busiest airport. I had never seen such a colossal airport in my life. After getting down from the flight we started walking towards the baggage claim without knowing the enormity of the airport. After walking for some time when we didn’t reach baggage claim area we rode the travelator. Still it was taking time to reach. Lastly we took the airport train to reach the baggage claim area. To our amazement our son was sitting quietly in his stroller. My sister-in-law and her husband came to receive us. The weather was not good that day. It was drizzling and nobody was in the mood to go out. Also we were very tired so we slept for a long time. My sister-in-law prepared many delicious dishes and we enjoyed the food a lot. We chatted a lot and watched a movie in the evening. That was our quiet Christmas day celebrations.
Next day we woke up very late so we dropped our plan to go Georgia Aquarium and Coke Museum. I told my sister-in-law about the post-Christmas sale in Michael’s store. First we went to the nearby mall. My sister-in-law bought some beautiful dresses for my son. Then we returned home. After a hearty lunch we went to Michael’s store. But to our disappointment we didn’t get our desired things as we arrived there late. Anyway after doing some grocery we came back home. My brother-in-law suggested going for dinner in a restaurant named Zyka, which was one of the famous Indian restaurants in their locality where we had a yummy dinner on 26th December night. Then we went to a real adventure unknowingly. Our plan was to rent a car for the following day trip to The Great Smokey Mountain.  It was already late at night and the other car rental offices were already closed except the airport rental office. So we went to the airport to rent a car for my family. My brother-in-law didn’t know the exact route to the rental office so he took the help of his GPS. According to his GPS he drove for a long time but there was no sign of airport. To our horror we finally reached the dead end of a pitch dark road in the middle of night. My husband then tried to find out the route from the Google map of his i-Phone. Then my brother-in-law started following the direction for my husband’s i-Phone. The road was dark and empty; the houses beside the road were shady. The surrounding was very scary like horror movies. Then we reached a deserted place and from there we could see the Hertz rental office from distance. My brother-in-law then suggested going back to freeway 85 from where the route of the airport was known to him. We went back there and came to the Hertz office at the Airport. When we went there we found a long queue in the counter. I nearly gave up hope of getting a car. After a long waiting we got the rented car and came back home around half past one in the early morning.
On 27th our plan was to start at 8 o’clock in the morning. But when I woke up it was already 8:20 and everybody was sleeping as we went to bed very late on previous day. After sometime my sis-in-law woke up. Then my son and I went to get ready for the day. My son was the first person who became ready for the day. It was already 9:10. After having breakfast when everybody was ready to go the clock was showing the time 11:30. It was three hours’ drive from home. We were not sure whether we would be able to make the trip successful. Anyway we started our journey in two cars. The roadside lash greenery was very enjoyable.  As I love to feel the beauty of nature, the drive was very mind refreshing to me. I found a striking difference between green east coast and barren west coast. After driving 190 mile we took a break and had lunch at Burger King at 2:30. We were caught in the traffic snarl due to some construction works on the road. It was already 3 o’clock and I gave up all the hope to reach Smokey Mountain. On our way we passed a picturesque town named Gatlinburg. My husband wanted to stop there to see the Town instead of going to Smokey. But I wanted to go to Smokey. So we gave a last try to reach Smokey Mountain. My sis-in-law and her family was in a different car and they were little behind of us. It was the holiday season so the roads were overcrowded and it was difficult to drive fast. At last when we reached the Sugarland’s Visitors center of the Smokey, it was 4:30 in the evening and the center was going to be closed down. Then we dropped the plan to go to Smokey Mountain as it was already becoming dark. It was not very safe to drive in an unknown dark mountain road. We decided to spend some time in Gatlinburg. It was too cold and I was shivering. The whole town was decked up for the holidays and it looked amazing. I felt that Gatlinburg was the best place for complete relaxation and as well as entertainment. After having coffee we decided to go back. That time it was 7 o’clock in the evening. There was no possibility of reaching home before mid-night so we decided to have dinner on our way. While returning my husband made a mistake by taking the route 40E instead of 40 W. So he had to take exit to come back to 40 W. Our plan was to have dinner around 9:30 in any fast food restaurant which would be available on our way. At 9:30 we reached at Cleveland. Reaching Cleveland we found one signboard showing the direction of Subway. My husband drove according to the direction but ended up in a dark empty road. Then we came back and found Pizza Hut and DQ. We decided to have dinner from DQ. My son was sleeping in the car; we didn’t get down from the car which could cause him to wake up. We had our dinner in the car and started our journey. We tried to contact with my sis-in-law but we failed to do that. In the dark empty road in an unknown place we became little bit scared. After sometimes my sis-in-law called me and told that they reached home already. It was really very painful to remain seated for such a long time. I was feeling that home was getting out of reach. At last at half past twelve we reached. I asked my sis-in-law how they could reach home so early. She told me that my brother-in-law took the shortest route according to the GPS. But it was a very dangerous mountain road. Though we took the longer route but it was safe to drive in the dark.

City of Gatlinburg
On 28th morning we woke up at 8:00 so that we could start at 11:00 in the morning. Our plan was to go to Georgia aquarium and Coke Museum. We started from home at 11:00 in the morning. When we reached the Aquarium it was too crowded, an irony to our thought that the aquarium would be less crowded on Monday. We got a parking space on the sixth floor of the parking garage. Though the day was sunny but it was chilling cold. I was feeling that somebody was cutting me with knife. We bought combined tickets of Aquarium and Coke museum through online. We asked one helping personnel at Aquarium and he asked us to stand in the queue of ‘Will Call’. We waited in the chilling cold. But when we reached the counter we were told to visit Coke museum first and to get the entry pass for Aquarium from there. Again we walked to Coke Museum which was opposite side of the road. Again we waited in a long queue. The museum was nicely decorated for holidays. There we saw all the advertisement of coke from its birth to till date. It was wonderful to see how the advertisements evolved with time. The exhibits of advertisements of different countries were also admirable. The best part of the museum was the tasting facility of different product of coke in different countries. I found the taste of ‘Bebo’ of South Africa and the ginger bread coke (I forgot of which country) really cool!!!
The Coke Museum
After that we went to world’s largest aquarium, Georgia Aquarium. First we went to the Cold Water Quest exhibit. The naturalistic rockwork, the state-of-art light lighting system that mimics the natural light cycle from twilight to moonlight of the accommodation gave us a taste of the habitat of beluga whales, Africa penguins and other cold water animals. We could get the experience of the rocky ledges and kelp forest of cold water oceans. The thing which attracted me most was the travelator through the water. We could see the beluga whales; huge manta ray was swimming over our head.  We went to The Georgia Explorer gallery which was highly interactive with touch pools full of horseshoe crabs, sea stars, stingrays. Several large habitats featured a loggerhead sea turtle and the fish of Gray's Reef. Whales lived right off the Georgia coast! The rays were very soft to touch. The ocean voyager exhibit consisted of manta rays and sharks. In the River Scout gallery, we saw a wide diversity of animals found in the rivers of Africa, South America, and Asia and right here in Georgia. Lastly we went to the Tropical Driver, the relaxing Coral Reef. We saw the garden eels were popping up out of the sand and above them a swirling mass of thousands of tiny glassy sweepers.  We also found thousands of “Nemo"s (Clown fish) as well as seahorses, fairy basslets, yellow-head jawfish and other beauties of the sea. Then three impressive exhibits of jellies ("jellyfish") were really marvelous. At the center of the gallery was one of the largest living reef exhibits of any aquarium in the world. Living corals and thousands of colorful reef fish were presented in a faithful recreation of a tropical Pacific coral reef, completed with an overhead crashing wave. After that we didn’t have time to go to Deepo’s undersea 3-D wonder show. My son was very excited throughout the tour. Every time he was thinking of catching a fish by hand. JAround five o’clock in the evening we left the aquarium and went to return the rented car. Then we boarded in the driverless sky train from the airport to come to Marta Station. Then we boarded the Marta Train to come back home. After 2 long years I boarded a public transport. We reached at home 7 in the evening.

Sandtiger Shark

Jelly Fish
On 29th we started very early in the morning to catch our flight to home. The four days seemed very short. I wished I could go back to Atlanta to make another trip to Smokey Mountain.

1 comment:

Archana said...

good to read these blogs, keep posting more dear..

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