Friday, July 3, 2009

A Conference for John and a Vacation for Deb in Atlanta, Georgia

John had the opportunity to go to a conference held in Atlanta, GA and I was able to go because all I had to do was purchase my airline ticket because the hotel had already been paid. John really enjoyed the conference but it was not "ALL WORK AND NO PLAY". We arrived late Saturday night, and I was able to go to church with one of the wife's who had served a mission there over ten years ago. The ward was very friendly and I was thinking that maybe I had been transported to Hawaii because the counselor that was conducting started out by saying, "Good Morning Atlanta Ward," and the congregation responded with a loud, "Good Morning." Every speaker started out the same way and the response was also the same, it was actually quite COOL! We took it easy that day.
One of the first things that we did was to visit the Coca Cola Factory. I actually thought it would be a lot like the one in Las Vegas but it was more like a museum with the history and artifacts of Coca Cola's life. They had a cute movie at the beginning and then set us free to explore the factory/museum. We took a picture with the Polar Bear whom we both love.

Then here is a picture of me sitting in a replica of an old fashion fountain parlor.

John is standing in front of an old Coca Cola Delivery Truck and then of course if there is anything GOLF anywhere, he will find it. They had a wall of famous people who promoted Coca Cola and wouldn't you know he zeroed in on Bobby Jones, (who by the way is a good ol' Georgia Boy--more on that to come.)

They also had a 4D movie that you could watch. Honestly I couldn't tell the difference between 4D and 3D but here is John being his silly self.

Finally at the end of the tour, they had several soda's that you could sample that have all been made by Coca Cola. Of course they had all the ones that we are familiar with but they had many from several different countries. I have to say that I didn't really care for the Asian mixes, but I really liked the pinenut colada (or something like that,) it was really tropical tasting. However, when we went to see the 4D movie, the host really urged us to try the "BEVERLY." BIG MISTAKE!!!! It tasted like medicine. Needless to say we walked out feeling quite bloated and sick to our stomachs. Here is John trying one of the many samples.

That night we went to dinner at a very Southern restaurant called "Patty's Porch". The food was tasty and the ambiance wonderful. We went with four other couples that are from John's District and one of the couple is actually in our ward which made it convenient. We then walked over to Olympic Square and took some pictures there and let John and James (the one from our ward) play in the water fountains. The Olympic rings are painted on the cement and have spouts around the outlines of the circles that randomly spit water out to form the fountains. Here are some pictures and then a video of John dodging the fountains.

John went to conferences all morning the next day but in the afternoon we played. We went to the Atlanta Aquarium which is the biggest Aquarium in North America. We walked through many different displays and had fun playing on the "hands on" stuff. Here we are being goofy.

Then many of you know that John LOVES sea turtles and we found a tank with them. While we were standing there watching them, one swam right up to the glass and I was able to snap a picture with John and one of his "Ocean Buddies."

Then I love the colors of the ocean life so we snapped a picture of me standing in front of colorful tank.

The Aquarium had tank that had glass on it that was as big as a movie screen and had several different fish in there. There were sharks, sting rays, whales, and many other kinds of fish. The question was asked why the fish don't each other and the Aquarium said they keep the fish constantly fed. It was really amazing. Here is a collage of most of the fish and then a close up of John and another pal.

Next we went to the Atlanta Zoo. This was definately like any other zoo but we bought a city pass that included several different tickets to different attractions. My favorite animal was definately the Panda Bears. When we walked up to the display the mama and baby bear were lying in a hammock. They were so funny to watch. The baby bear climbed an obstacle course kind of thing and was doing summersaults to get over a dowel of wood. Here are some of the shots that I got of the panda bears.

Then here is a collage of some goofy pictures that we took behind animal boards and with statues. (doesn't John make an adorable lion?)

That night, after the zoo, we went to a Professional Baseball game and watched the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies play. I wasn't real excited to go but it was an awesome field and a great game with the Braves winning 5-4 in extra innings. Here a some different pictures of the field, pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

Dale Murphy is one of John's favorite all time baseball players so we got a shot of his number and plaque they have to honor Murphy.

Then on our last day in Atlanta we toured the Atlanta Museum, The Swan House, and Smith Farm. They are all located at the same site, and offered a lot of history about Atlanta and the state of Georgia. They had a whole room dedicated to Bobby Jones and golf and John spent a lot of time in there, and I have to admit I also found it pretty interesting. Here is a picture of John in front of a Bobby Jones display case.

The museum had different rooms to tour that showed "stuff" from the Civil War, the Olympics and the transportation evolution of Atlanta. Then the Swan House is a mansion that was built in the 1920's and is very beautiful and majestic. I kept thinking that it would be a perfect place for a wedding reception with the grand outside staircase and huge front lawn. The Smith Farm was next door and basically a replica of a farm that would have existed in the early 1900's. I decided that there was reason I wasn't born in that era--the main reason NO AIR CONDITIONING. Here are some shots of both houses.

That pretty much sums up our trip. We enjoyed great food and company and even though it doesn't look or sound like it, John learned a lot from the conference and enjoyed several key speakers. Next year, this conference is being held in Orlando, Florida--so I am keeping my fingers crossed that I get to accompany John on that trip.

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