I’m just done with Atlanta (like you couldn’t tell). So today I simply gave up. I went to lunch with an old high school friend (Michael Laurino – go see his movie Yellowbrickroad when it comes to a theater near you) and was supposed to then tour the aquarium and finish up Atlanta touristy stuff, but just couldn’t do it. When Mike dropped me off at the curb of the aquarium, I texted Tara to see where she and Delanie were, and then just started walking.
Leaving them to have fun with the penguins, sharks and sea otters, I walked and walked until I found a book store. It happened to be the Georgia Tech book store (sorry Tom), and was exactly what I needed. It even has a Starbucks. I browsed for a while, bought a journal and a hot caramel apple cider, and sat and wrote for the rest of the afternoon. I was able to think about the next few days, make my lists and start planning. I’m taking another brief detour north starting tomorrow. I’m flying back to Massachusetts for a few days, and will pick back up on Sunday (Day 74).
It seems I missed out on one of Georgia’s real treasures: the Georgia Aquarium. Luckily Tara and Delanie had my camera (see slideshow) and Tara’s now going to share the highlights:
I’ve been meaning to guest blog for Amy since she started this trip – and now, being the only one of the two of us to see that which is the AMAZING Georgia Aquarium, here I am. Del and I finally made it out of the room by noon yesterday and used some combination of instinct and a vague recollection of good signage to find our way to the Aquarium. Conveniently, it was right across from Centennial Park (worth a visit in its own right). Delanie and I met as college students, both all ready to be marine biologists (until the reality of limited funding for this type of work set in, hence lives in nursing and conservation education, respectively) and so the aquarium was a perfect afternoon activity. We planned to spend about two hours there, arrived and texted Amy that we could easily be there until close.
If you’ve not been, and are in the Atlanta area, come to the Aquarium. There are five galleries, beautifully layed out, with well designed exhibits that provide a good mix of educational information and wildlife to observe. The giant viewing window (thank you for making us see it, Dana!) should be mandatory for anyone trying to lower their blood pressure. We watched for twenty minutes and it felt like five. The window, with stair-style seating in front, has just two feet of acrylic between you and four whale sharks (delivered by UPS, as the story goes – look what Brown did for them!) and hundreds of other species.
In other tanks and exhibits, there are river otters, sea otters (one that just arrived this week from Monterey Bay), beluga whales (my favorite whale – how can you not love any animal with a melon) and that’s just the mammal population – hundreds of species of fish, sea stars, jellies, an elusive octopus, anemones, spider crabs, eels, and yes, penguins too (ok, ok, they are fun to watch – I will try to keep my commentary about how bitey and unfriendly I have found them to be in person to myself – that’s for my blog and another day). We only got lost once when trying to find the predator/prey exhibit on sharks and ended up in an unmentioned art gallery. The take home of the day: More people are killed by chairs each year (60-something) than by sharks (less than 10). So swim in the water with abandon, but watch where you sit.
We repeatedly texted Amy to get her to join us and our enthusiasm for this gem, but I think she found exactly what she needed this afternoon and we all had a great day.