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5th January 2011: ATLANTA!
Chloe and I arrive SUPERBLY late into Atlanta (so early it’s the next day!) and catch a cab out to our hostel. We get to bed ridiculously late, tired from our airplane flight. The room is freezing cold and we can’t work out why. We both freeze.
Next morning we are moved into a different, much warmer room.
We then head out to see Atlanta! We catch the MARTA (train) to downtown and head off to find the Magical World of Coca-Cola AND the biggest Aquarium in North America: Georgia Aquarium.
EVERYTHING has my name on it! It’s all very exciting!
The aquarium is spectacular, the floor-to-wall glass that we can watch all the different aquatic animals through. We spent quite a while in there, especially watching the otters and the beluga whales!
Afterwards, we headed for the Coca-Cola factory tour, which was convienently located RIGHT NEXT DOOR! Insane! The building is essentially a giant coke bottle, you know, just in the middle of Atlanta.
We went on a semi-guided tour, before exploring the centre on our own. The coke factory tour is essentially a LOOK AT HOW GREAT WE ARE show off kinda place, but it’s also pretty fun and hey it’s coke, it’s an icon.
In the final room, before you exit, there are over SIXTY different flavours of soft drink to taste. HOORAY! We had mouthfuls of each, and let me tell you, I was dry heaving at the taste of some of them. We both felt sufficiently sick at the end of it all, but didn’t forget to take our complimentary coke with us on our way out! Chloe loved that, she’s a bit of a soft-drink-aholic.
Afterwards, despite the drizzly weather, Chloe and I spent some time exploring downtown Atlanta, checking out all the shit with my name on it and buying souvenirs with my name on it.
We headed back to the hostel and asked where we should go for some good down-home Southern style cooking for dinner. We were told that there was a magical little place across the road called Mary Mac’s.
Indeed, it was magic! Chloe had the fried chicken with mac & cheese (ok they were magical BESIDES the foul mac & cheese), coleslaw and mash potato.
I had tomato pie, gross mac & cheese and coleslaw. Tomato pie is this magical Southern food that I’d never heard of before. DELISH!
The waiter also brought out lots of little tastings for us, as we were new to the South and that’s how they roll down there. Hence why it is called “Southern hospitality”.

6th January 2011
On our second day in Atlanta, we headed out for the capitol. This was a chance for us to learn ALL about Georgia’s history. Did you know Jimmy Carter was from Georgia? It was also an excuse for me to take HEAPS of photos of my name. 🙂 It was even on the elevators! BEST!
From there we took the train out into the sticks, where the Martin Luther King Jr. home and museum were located. It was a fantastic tour and I highly recommended it, but it’s in a pretty dodgy end of town so don’t go strolling through there on your own! The curators of the museum had put alot of thought and effort into the displays, and we got a guided tour plus a cool movie that taught us about African American rights.
Dinner was at this cool little Cuban cafe. Chloe loves jerk chicken!

7th Jan 2011
Up a little later than we needed to be, Chloe and I RACED down to the bus station to catch a bus out to Athens, Georgia where the UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA is located.
The university is HUGE and took us several hours to tour across. I was in heaven. Here was a SHRINE to me, full of stuff about me. I knew that if I was American, this would have been where I went to university! It was PERFECT! It was huge and full of American school spirit and the most awesome football stadium and A WHOLE STORE FULL OF AWESOME GEAR WITH MY NAME EMBLAZONED ACROSS THE FRONT! Not to mention the fact that EVERYONE around the uni and it’s town were sporting gear with my name on it! HOORAY EVERYONE LOVED ME HERE!
After our tour across campus (which was a nice work out), we headed into the merch store to select my new wardrobe. I now have a Georgia hoodie, Georgia tshirts and a pair of Georgia shorts. HELLA YEAH I am all about me!
We caught the bus back to Atlanta and had dinner once more at Mary Mac’s, where Chloe decided she HAD to have their cookbook as she knew she’d miss the Southern food when she got back to Perth. Early night, as we had a stupidly early flight out!

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Friday 13th (oups! Black Friday!) August, 2010

With our new friend Kim (from Sydney, staying in the same room as us at the Green Tortoise) in tow, Emily and I headed for Pier 39, in the hopes of obtaining last minute tickets to Alcatraz. Success! Althoug they were not cheap. Excited by the idea of going to Alcatraz, but a little annoyed by the price, we headed down along the pier area, checking out the shops full of university merchandise and a fruit stand with some really unusually shaped peaches.

One thing in particular that caught our eye was the fact that seagulls here are SUPERSIZED! These guys were easily twice, if not more, the size of an Australian seagull, and their size made their determination for hot chips even more terrifying.

We were lucky enough to get free entry to the Aquarium, which was wicked sick and the three of us had a grand old time in our cardboard Aquarium “crowns”, taking photos of the fishes and sharks and other underwater animals. There was an open rockpool with very friendly sting rays that you could pat – but I wasn’t so keen on that, as I was pretty sure that’s how Steve Irwin died. No thank you.
Emily and Kim were keen, thankfully both survived, and we continued on our way.

The aquarium, it turns out, doesn’t just house fish, it also had a Hedgehog, some Chinchillas and a few other totally American animals that I’d never seen before. It also had what the sign referred to as a “Blue-Tongued Skink from Australia” – which I was quick to point out was infact a lizard, not a skink, thank you very much. But it was exciting to see something from home, as I used to have one living behind my rubbish bin in Karrinyup. Love those little suckers.

We also checked out the sealions, laying on the pier docks in the sunshine. Most of them were just chilling, however a small group of them were having a lovely time shoving eachother into the water and then trying to block the fallen sealions from rejoining the herd on the planks. They smelt funny, but were super cute.

From the pier, Emily and I parted ways with Kim, and headed off to wander the streets, and found ourselves strolling past Telegraph Hill and then through Fort Mason. We stopped to take photos of the amazing views over the water, and of a crazy shaped tree before heading into a little cafe called Greens for a quick drink.

Afterwards, we headed up towards the Union St shops (separate from Union Square), where we discovered Sephora (which stocks all major makeup brands at deliciously cheap prices) and had fun trying on outfits in LF, which was having a massive sale. (We didn’t buy anything though, as trying to find out size proved difficult.)

By this stage we were exhausted, as the thing about San Fran is that there is no such thing as a flat surface – every street is a hill, many of which are incredibly steep, and these had taken their toll on our poor little legs after the first day. (However, we were to go on to obtain buns of steel as a result of all the leg-work SF required of us, but more on that later.) We headed back to the hostel, up and down streets so steep that some even had stairs carved into them – stopping only for a quick peek into City Lights Bookstore, an institution in San Fran.

The hostel was offerring free dinner, and if it’s free, we’ll eat anything! It was pretty delicious and capped off a pretty sweet deal first day in San Francisco.

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