Sunday, December 16, 2012

DAY114, 115- Atlanta, GA….

I’m watching the Sunday morning news as I write this.  Yes, I’m a bit behind on the blogging 4 days to be exact.  I’m watching the news about the tragedy in Connecticut.  I see these photos across the TV of young lives taken SO early in life; too early.  My heart goes out to those parents and that community.  I can’t help but wonder what’s going on with our country.  A mall shooting in a Portland Mall, a shooting in an elementary school in Connecticut , and I just heard on the news of another man firing outside of an outdoor mall in Newport, CA(thankfully no one hurt) but it saddens me that places that should be safe are for us to go are not really safe anymore.  Something needs to be done but what; I’m unsure.  I just pray that something positive comes out of it.

DAY 114, 115 –
Well, here are the high lights from my two days in Atlanta, GA…

Photo- The low profile front of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Center.

The Jimmy Carter Museum and Library with the Carter Center…This was within a four block walk of my hotel room; I walked over on a bike/walk path near it to the complex.  It was a low profile type of place with a landscaped stairs leading down to a door area with a reflection pond in front of the doors.  It was understated and humble.  I walked in and went to the gift shop to purchase a ticket.  Unlike the Ronald Regan Library that I was at earlier on my trip; the Carter Complex didn’t check your bags and you didn’t have to pre-purchase your tickets with times.  This was much more laid back atmosphere.  It was also a bit smaller than the Regan Library too; but then, there wasn’t an Air Force One retired in the building either. 

It all started with a 10 minute movie about Jimmy Carter that kind of just hit the highlights of his career and then went on to show what he did after he left the presidency.  It showed him accepting the Noble Peace Prize.  From there you went through to a hallway like area where you went through his life as he grew and came into politics.  It was very interesting watching the films that they had of his speeches and others in his life talking about parts of his life that they were involved with.  The most interesting part for me was reading and watching film of the time frame when his family and friends were helping him to campaign for the presidency.  It had never really been done like that before and it was ground breaking.  Now it has become standard political fare for almost every politician. 
Photos- A interesting piece of Presidential artwork done.  Look at the close up below...

The museum showed what the oval office looked like when he was there.  There was also a section that showed an average working day was like when he was president.  He started early and didn’t stop until late in the night.  He has an amazing work ethic and it just amazes me on how much he has done in his life to affect the world.  The last third of the museum shows the what, how, and why of the Carter Center which is a wonderful place where they are trying to eradicate diseases, promote democracy through fair voting practices, and enabling people equal rights to fundamentals such as access to clean water, food, and to homes.  It’s wonderful to know that there are people out there doing these things.
Photo- Yummy! A grilled cheese and a bowl of chili!

The Majestic Diner… I visited the last one of the chain which is about 3 blocks from where I was staying in Atlanta, GA.  The first of this chain was started about a mile away in 1929 and they were a thriving chain of diners that offered good food that pleases.  The last one that remains was built in the early 1930’s as part of a Plaza Shopping Center some of which stands next door.  The outside of it almost looks like an old theater marquee with rows of lights and the neon like signs announcing its presence to the street.  I had a wonderful bowl of chili with a kick and a grilled cheese on marbled rye.  It was comfort food at its best and rather a treat to sit in a booth behind a row of chairs along a counter area.  I could just imagine people in years past coming in for lunch or a cup of coffee and sitting here just like me watching the traffic go by on the street outside while enjoying the food.  It just has such a history when a place has been open that long.  Now I will say that it has been refurbished but it has the same layout as when it originally opened up in the 1930’s.
Photo- The Majestic from outside.

The Home of the Braves… Turner Field…  This was one thing I was REALLY looking forward.  I grew up watching the Braves games on TBS and I guess you could say I ended up being a fan of them by default.  You see there really are not any major baseball teams in Iowa when I was growing up.  Chicago was as close as you would get but it was much easier watching the Braves games on TBS.  At least it was until; Turner Broadcast took the Braves games off the air in 1996.  After that you had to settle for checking the scores in the newspaper or on-line.  I took a tour of the stadium; they give tours year round. 
Photo- I'm just behind home plate at Turner Field.

We started by going to the top of the stadium to the Sky Field Area where you could look over the field but you could also overlook the city skyline of Atlanta; along overlook the parking lot area where the old stadium used to be.  This stadium was opened up in the 1997 season.  It was a wonderful view of the city and I bet that on a clear Summer evening game it would be a beautiful scene of lights of Atlanta.  The Sky Field Area is open to any ticket holder but it is a standing only area.

We worked our way down into the “club” level of the stadium.  This is where the season ticket holders would be and they would have to show their ticket to get into the air-conditioned level; otherwise you would have to make do with a trip to the water misters on the Sky Filed area.  We went into a private box and saw what they looked like; couches, chairs, bar areas with serving food areas.  All of the food allowed into this area had to be catered through the Aramark Company that handles all of the food in the stadium.

Next, we went into the press boxes and got to see where they worked during a game.  The live organists, which Turner Field is one of few that has one, is placed among the press box area where the writers are.  The score keeper is also in there too.  Then, we went into the locker room area where the players had their gear.  It was roped off because some of the players keep their gear there year round; but that was neat to take a peek.  
Our tour guide took us to what I would refer to as the “high rollers” lounge.  It was a nice restaurant area with tables and chairs.  These “high rollers” got whatever food they wanted and even got it served to their cushioned seats which just happened to be right behind home plate.  In fact, the only other people that had a better view of the action at home plate would be the umpire and the catcher.  These seats were about 10 to 15ft. away from the action and I guess there was a waiting list for them but at $20,000 per seat per season that’s too rich for my blood.  Oh, and they require it to be a set of two at minimum.  From there we walked over to the dug out for a quick look around.  Then, it was up through the stands to the baseball museum which was where we started from.  I noticed on the way up that all of the seats are angled to home plate and our tour guide said that was how this stadium was designed.  I thought that was cool. 

I then took the time to go through the baseball museum which is very impressive.  There is even a copy of a contract signed by Babe Ruth who ended his career with this ball club.  It was interesting going through the museum and seeing how the game has changed over the years.

The High Museum of Art…  This museum is in the heart of the east side of the downtown area but it is a gem.  But what I was even more fascinated with was the amazing building.  It was a series of open areas with walk ways and had a large open atrium that went from the top to the ground floor.  The ceiling on the upper floor was like a series of fluted skylights.  I started with the top floor after paying the $19 entrance fee which I thought was high.  The current exhibition on the top floor is called “Fast Forward: Modern Moments- 1913 to 2013” and featured 100 years of modern artworks.  There were originals from Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Rothko, Lichtenstein, and Jeff Coons.  The show took the artworks by sections of time frames and it was very interesting looking at what was going on politically while they were doing their art.  It was an interesting perspective. 
Photo- The outside of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

Next, I went through another section of the museum that featured works by Thornton Dial called “Hard Truths” this was a mixed media large paneled works with a great deal of texture and bold colors.  Some of these I liked but some of them I must admit I really hated.  But I think that’s the thing with art, it’s really very subjective.  I wandered around and around from floor to floor.  There were sculptures, paintings, and furniture all throughout.  I ended up having to pick up my pace.  I had only planned about a two hour time frame and could have used days to see everything.  I grabbed a quick bowl of soup and coffee in the downstairs café before I headed out of the place.

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