I’ve mentioned that I’m not adept at making decisions. Well, on Wednesday of last week, I made a humdinger of one.
See, I’ve been sitting on a good little bit of money. It’s actually been stashed in my underwear drawer, but let’s not split hairs. My mom gave my sister and me some cash after cleaning up our grandma’s condo about a month ago. It wasn’t enough to pay but a fraction of our debt, but it was too much to just deposit and let daily life chip away at it. After reviewing all the responsible ways I could put the money to good use, I finally said, “Screw it! We’re gonna have some fun.” My husband and I have not done anything fun yet this year. Our trip to Michigan was a vacation in the broadest sense of the word – we didn’t clock into our jobs for a week – but, it was anything but relaxing. Plus, our life since that trip has been stressful. We needed a getaway.
So, I booked us a room in the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Atlanta and purchased two tickets to the Georgia Aquarium with the “behind the scenes” tour added for good measure. I even splurged for the valet parking at the hotel. Yeah, I felt like a rock star.
We arrived at the hotel around noon on Saturday. Here was the view from our room:
The room was very comfy, the shower was fabulous and the bathroom was stocked with Neutrogena products which I promptly tossed into my bag.
After we checked every drawer, the mini fridge and the room safe for any potential prizes from past occupants, we trekked over to the aquarium. We had both been there before a few years ago, but that trip was on a weekday during the fall. This was a summer Saturday. People out-numbered the fish 20 to 1. We managed to elbow our way through the throngs of humanity to view the exhibits.
I took forty thousand pictures, of which there are about five worth showing to anyone. All you people who have photo blogs – I hate you for making it look so easy. Yes, I know my Sony Cyber-shot will never churn out the same quality photos as your fancy schmancy Cannon Digital SLR, but I can carry my camera in my purse and I have a small purse. So there.
After a couple hours of kicking small children out of the way so I could get closer to the aquarium windows to take my crappy photos, it was time for our tour. We were very pleased to find out that there were only six other people signed up for our tour’s time slot and only one was a child, and she was very well-behaved.
The behind scenes tour was wonderful. We got to see the big tank from the surface and were lucky enough to be there during the whale sharks’ feeding time.
We saw the beluga tank from above as well.
We saw the filtration systems, where they prepare the food for all the animals and small tanks of fish that were not ready to be displayed or may never be displayed, but used for research. If you are at all interested in the technical side of things, it was well worth the price.
After the aquarium, naturally, we were hungry.
So, we went back to the hotel, changed clothes and walked a block to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. We had never been to one before, so we didn’t know what to expect. In a word: Rad. My husband wanted to crawl inside his filet and live there forever. My medallions with grilled shrimp was scrumptious. If you are a fan of red meat and have the opportunity, I highly recommend this restaurant.
The next morning we ate breakfast in the hotel which was wonderful. Three words: Belgian Waffle Station. Then we walked to The World of Coca-Cola after a short detour through Centennial Olympic Park. We didn’t get lost, it was the scenic route. Yeah.
Unless anything and everything Coke gives you joy seizures, then the World of Coca-Cola will resemble walking through a big commercial. Before you enter the museum proper, you are forced to watch a rather trippy cartoon that shows you what happens behind the scenes after you put your quarter (one? yeah, right) into the vending machine to purchase an ice cold Coke. There were cute animals and magical landscapes. There was also a creature with rings in all six of its nipples. I kid you not.
Inside there was a 4D movie. I think the fourth D stands for Dull. Or, maybe Daft.
The only redeeming thing about the place is the Taste It area. Here is where get to sample how people from Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America get their soda on. Most of it tasted like super sweet sugar water with some random fruit flavor. Some were quite good, others were disgusting. I really liked the Kinley Bitter Lemon. I used it to rinse out my mouth after some of the others like Beverly from Italy, which I think some sadistic Coke person put out there as a joke to see how many people would actually drink turpentine.
Quite nauseous from all the soda samples, we headed home to Athens. But, our little vacation wasn’t quite over because we ate dinner at one of our favorite little places, Cali ’n Tito’s. Awesome fish tacos and homemade beef empanadas. Yum!
A wonderful weekend planned by yours truly. I hope this clears me from making any more decisions for a while. I also hope this inspires you to take a mini-vacation in your own area. It’s not as expensive as a long getaway and you get the same benefits: relaxation, new sights and time with ones you love. I even had some money left over to pay a few bills. Yay for responsibility!