My deepest apologies for waiting even this long to tell you about my trip; I've barely been online since I got back into town. The short version: it was even awesome-er than I had hoped it would be. (That's for you men-folk out there.) For those who want to hear the details, though...
Day 1: Tuesday
K., V., A and I (all team leads except for A.; he was also the only guy on the trip. I was the oldest, at 32, so it was a really fun group) landed in ATL around 1 on Tuesday. Before we had even left the airport, K. saw an ad for a King Tut exhibit that was in town, so we promised her we'd hit that at some point during the day (see? And the people at school thought we were going to be the "party" group. Ha! We went to MUSEUMS, bitches!).
(Okay, ONE museum. But still.)
We took a cab to our hotel (Days Inn--normally not a bad chain, but this one was horrible. As an example, A's room smelled like puke and my heater didn't work. However, the location--right in downtown--was absolutely perfect), dropped off our bags and left with the intention of "running out to grab a quick lunch."
We didn't return to our rooms for 10 hours.
I. LOVE. ATLANTA.
After lunch at a Chinese buffet place (where I tried--as an adventurous traveler--to eat sushi. It didn't work), we started walking around downtown. We went to the King Tut exhibit (which was actually very cool). We visited Centennial Park (the Olympic Park). We got some great pictures, which I will post as soon as K. emails them to ME. The only good one *I* have from our walking tour is this one, at Centennial Park. They have this Olympic Ring water fountain, where the 5 rings are in brick on the ground and the water shoots straight up into the air from the rings. This shot, which is damn good for a cell phone pic, is one of the rings caught in mid-stream.
Which had karaokee.
After exploring the sites for several hours (which is when I fell in love with the city), we hit this Mexican place for dinner (which had THE. BEST. burrito of my entire life. I ended up giving my leftovers to a homeless guy, which I later regretted when I was back in my room after a night of carousing...don't get me wrong, I feel really good about it--but DAMN, I was jonesing for it around midnight). As there was alcohol involved, it was quite a leisurely dinner. Finally, we went to the bar next door.
Thanks to the speakers that broadcast the performances out onto the streets, a good portion of downtown Atlanta heard a drunken yet spirited rendition of Ice Ice Baby around 11-ish. Let's just leave it at that, shall we?
Finally, we walked back to our hotel. We were escorted by a homeless guy (not the same one who got my burrito. There are LOTS of homeless people in Atlanta) who serenaded us during the walk. He, truly, had an amazing voice; a talent that has gone (and will continue to go) undiscovered due to his situation and how his life has turned out. Plus, mad props to him for actually providing a SERVICE (entertainer-slash-tour guide) rather than just asking for money. Anyway, here's a pic of him mid-song:
Seriously, this guy was drawing a crowd because he was so good.
Anyway, that about covers day 1 in Atlanta. We made VERY good use of our "down time" during the trip by really exploring the city. But the highlight of the trip was still to come: our visit to the Ron Clark Academy. And THAT, my friends, will have to be a whole 'nother post. To tide you over, however, here's a teaser... (I have much better ones with him; this is just my blurry cell-phone shot. It actually wouldn't have been a horrible one if I hadn't been a) stoned or b) sleeping against his shoulder or whatever is going on here):