Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Visitor's Guide to Atlanta

A number of my friends have asked me to post my Visitor's Guide to Atlanta from my Whole Bean website ( to my blog. It follows...enjoy!

This site is based in Atlanta, an interesting and sometimes challenging city, physically located in the South and yet not quite there in all respects. If you're considering visiting Atlanta, please remember the following salient points in order to make your visit more enjoyable and less stressful:

  • The city is not laid out on a grid system. "Blocks" do not exist per se. This makes navigation something of an adventure.

  • Almost no one has a Southern accent. Rumor has it that there are fewer than 100 native Atlantans in the whole place. I met one in 1983, but she moved a few years later.

  • Atlanta's I-285 = Washington's Beltway = Boston's Route 128. That sign over I-285 that says "Atlanta Bypass" -- ignore that -- you'll see what I mean.

  • Dress is casual -- you can wear shorts almost anywhere. I have friends who wear shorts to work in January.

  • It is far easier to find Thai food than hush puppies.

  • We've had Krispy Kreme donuts for over 60 years now. Glad all the rest of you have finally joined the fold! What took so long?

  • Three primary potions constitute 97% of the daily beverage consumption: Coca-Cola, sweet tea, and beer. Ordering anything else may raise an eyebrow. Don't say I didn't warn you.

  • It is humid here most of the time, except every few years when we seem to experience summer droughts. Despite the humidity, there is a perpetual water shortage.

  • We have a subway (called MARTA) which people actually ride. Buses, not so much. There's a new suburban bus line with pretty blue and white buses, but no one ever seems to be riding. I'm not even sure anyone is driving.

  • If you want to find a cheap used car, look on Buford Highway. You may not find the kind of car you're seeking, but you will experience tremendous entertainment value. Being bilingual will land you a far better deal.

  • It is fairly obvious upon arrival that large amounts of caffeine are consumed here. This will become self-explanatory once you drive within 20 miles of the outskirts of the outer suburbs of the far reaches of the city.

  • Everyone seems to be in a perpetual hurry to get somewhere, regardless of the time of day. Even at 1:03 AM, someone will be in a hurry to get to the local Kroger supermarket. I know -- I've done it myself!

  • Many town names end in "-etta". This is equivalent to the "-ton" or "-ville" suffixes appended in other regions and carries no other connotations.

  • There are numerous automated signs posted above the expressways stating helpful information such as "IT IS A NICE DAY -- SAVE GASOLINE -- TOMORROW." Sometimes (and this is for real) the signs only read "." (a lone period). No one knows what this means.

  • We still hold reverence for Moon Pies and RC Cola.

  • If you don't know what Moon Pies are, please visit the Moon Pie website for details prior to your arrival.

  • If you don't know what RC Cola is, then you may need therapy.