I arrived in the foreign country of Atlanta, GA last night. Now that’s an airport! I had to get a train to the baggage claim!
And then I got a train to downtown Atlanta at Five Points where my hotel was to be across the street from the train terminal. It was dark and at the end of a long day. I walked past the police onto the sidewalks and was immediately confused. Lights, people, buildings, but no hotel.
I walked to a kiosk and asked the vendor to point out the Comfort Inn Suites. She looked at me pityingly and pointed kitty-corner across the street. “It’s right there, honey.”
If I had walked 50 feet it would have bitten me had it had teeth! She called after me, “I’m glad you asked, honey, but don’t ask just anyone. Be careful!”
Hmm… Was something going to happen to me in 50 feet. Were my husband’s worst fears of Atlanta to be realized?
But no, I was greeted warmly by doormen and ushered into the lobby. It was there that Ashley (the Brit in Italy) would have been proud of me.
There were three women checking in ahead of me. When one of them backed away I said, “I just have to ask, since you are women and checking into a hotel in Atlanta, are you here for Oprah?” Turns out they are.
Although they didn’t seem willing to be my new “besties”, they were friendly enough, told me they were from the Bahamas, and continued on to their room. Somewhere in the exchange I learned that this was not their first O You!.
The concierge suggested a restaurant to me so I returned to the lobby after a quick visit to my room. The hotel shuttle only ran until 10pm.
Guess who was there. One of my women. She seemed surprised to know I was going out so I told her about the restaurant, The Juke Joint and about the free shuttle. And I asked if they would like to go with me; live music, southern food. It seemed a perfect first night in Atlanta.
Except the restaurant was full. When I asked for menus the women couldn’t decide if they wanted to eat there. They weren’t excited about eating at the bar so they decided to order to go.
That’s where I left them. I opted to sit at the bar. I listened to the music, ordered the Southern Starter (fried green tomatoes, fried onions, fried okra) and a salad and glanced periodically at them huddled on a bench waiting for their order.
In the meantime I struck up a conversation with a young (to me) man next to me. His son wants to be an actor and is fluent in French. I immediately told him about Allyson, my granddaughter, and the conversation flowed.
He’s a staunch Democrat who had personally met President Clinton. He compared Bill’s charisma to Oprah’s. How lucky am I in the deep south to sit next to a man who agrees with me in politics, supports Obama and agrees with me about Oprah. Fun times.
I spotted my friends calling the hotel shuttle and jumped up to join them.
Pretty good night for a newcomer.
See y’all soon…
TRAVEL NOTE: Comfort Suites Downtown is a great location for getting places. Not fancy, but nice with great pillows and TVs. Free Breakfast.
Five Point Station, the railroad stop, is like Grand Central in New York. You can get anywhere from there.