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For the Saturday morning, it was just the two of us. Red Steph and her posse went shopping first thing, and Jack had gone home the night before. We started out with breakfast at the hotel, and then we wandered briefly through Centennial Olympic Park. The park replaced a fairly depressed part of the city back when it was constructed in the mid-nineties. There are markers engraved with the names of all the medalists that year (yeah Donovan Bailey!) and there’s also a sort-of waterpark—an area where jets of water shoot out of the ground randomly. There were a ton of kids splashing around in there, and with good reason because it was crazy hot out.

From here, we walked over to World of Coke. Coca-Cola, as you probably know, is headquartered in Atlanta, and World of Coke is exhibition is part museum, part entertainment complex, part gigantic suggestion to just drink Coke. You’re let into the main complex in batches, and you start in a holding room where one of the employees warms up the crowd. Our warm-up guy was actually incredibly entertaining, like could-have-done-stand-up funny. After this you’re brought into a theatre to watch an extended version of this commercial, which features voices of actual Coca-Cola employees (also quite funny). Done here, you’re finally unleashed on the main complex, where you can visit the different areas in the order of your choosing. We started off in Milestones in Refreshment which gave a history of the product and the company, and showed samples of the print advertising, bottle design, old timey delivery trucks, and vending machines from Coke’s past. Then we strolled through the bottling factory—which is significantly slowed down for the entertainment of the visitors. Next we went to this “4-D Secret Formula of Coke” show which was one of those motion simulator things I hate so much. It’s was almost entirely unremarkable so let me just blow the ending of it for you: the secret ingredient is You. That’s right, Coca-Cola is made of people!

But World of Coke makes up for this crapiness with the Perfect Pauses Theatre, which showcases the best of Coke commercial throughout the company’s history. You get some high nostalgia going on, with I’d Like To Teach the World to Sing, and the Mean Joe Green ad, but there’s also stuff we’d never seen before that was damn hilarious. For your viewing pleasure (and please don't skip this): Round the Fire and Natural Enemies—both from Argentina would you believe. (A quick note to say bless you YouTube. Is there anything you can’t do?) We ended the visit in the tasting room, where you can sample over 60 varieties of Coke products from around the world. It was sugary madness, I tell you. Some fun stuff from Africa and Europe… but holy crap was everything from Asia just terrible. Sarah has some kind of carrot beta drink that tasted like I imagine Vim might. Blaargh. On the way out, they give you a free bottle of Coke—which was cool in that it comes directly from the bottling line you tour earlier on.

We went back to hotel and relaxed for a little while, then we met up with Jack and Georgia Steph in the hotel bar. (For the record, we never once used these nicknames out loud, but it makes writing about the two Stephs soooo much easier.) Georgia Steph is our third cruise friend, and as I remember, the first one we actually met on the cruise. She’s smart and sweet and would—seriously—never say an unkind word about someone even if her life depended on it. She and Jack have a really great banter—they bicker and joke so well that I honestly think they should have their own radio show. After drinks and catch-up, Red Steph and the shoppers came back, and we all headed off to the baseball game.

Turner Field is just a great stadium. You’ve got a nice view of the city overtop of one wall, you’ve got (in my limited experience) the most crystal clear jumbotron you’ve ever seen, and you’ve also allowed to bring in your own food and drink. (How’s that for crazy?). Apparently, back when he still owned the place, Ted Turner freaked out when he discovered that the average family couldn’t afford a game and a meal because concession prices were too high. So it’s anything goes with food and drink there (short of alcohol, of course). We had great seats, in between home and first—which happens to be fowl tip territory but Jack promised to defend us with his trusty baseball mitt. The Braves got slaughtered (9 – 2 for the Nationals in the end), but it was an exciting game start to finish… and it wasn’t just fun, it was also educational. I actually learned how the hell this guy’s name is pronounced.


Anonymous said…
I was totally going to skip those commercials and then you said "don't" and then I didn't and then I was so glad I didn't. But I have to ask: what the hell is the hippie hugging in "Natural Enemies"? I watched it twice and I couldn't tell!

Also, why is "Red Steph" called "Red"? I imagine that "Georgia Steph" is from Georgia... is "Red Steph" from Russia?
Sarah said…
SOAP! The Dirty hippie is hugging soap!

Also - and we don't have a good photo from this trip, Red Steph is red-haired. She is from Virginia but currently lives in NC. She is sitting next to me in this photo:
Dave said…
Let's be honest: you didn't know what the dirty hippie was hugging because it was soap and you're just a dirty hippie and you've never seen soap before.
Anonymous said…
Soap? What is soap?

Peace out!

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