Atlanta Day 2: World of Coca Cola

World of Coca Cola is just a stone throw away from the Georgia Aquarium. It’s one of the top attractions of Atlanta and it’s included in Atlanta city pass admission.

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I’m not a fan of soft drink. But the rest of my household love soft drink. But their choice is Pepsi over Coca Cola.

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The lobby where we waited for the guided tour.

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Faces around the world whom Coca Cola aims to deliver to.

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The earliest Coca Cola dispenser. (more…)

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Atlanta Day 2: Lunch at Cafe Aquaria

We had lunch at Cafe Aquaria in the Georgia Aquarium for convenience sake.

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We shared half a roasted chicken. The roasted chicken was smeared with some sweet chili sauce. Ben had the chicken breast while I had the leg. Ben commented that the breast was dry but mine was ok.

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The roasted chicken was served with fries. Ben had most of them.

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I would rather have a dessert. I had a chocolate eclaires. Our bill came to USD16.63. (more…)

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Atlanta Day 2: Georgia Aquarium

After breakfast, we went to our first destination which is Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the world.

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We bought the Atlanta city pass for the entrance since we planned to use the city pass for other attractions too. The city pass is USD69 per person. It’s a saving of 45% for the admission to the best 5 attractions in Atlanta.

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Georgia Aquarium is the gift from the co-founders of The Home Depot, Bernie and Billi Marcus to the city.

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One of the attractions in Georgia Aquarium is the AT&T Dophin tales. It’s a dophin performance incorporated with Broadway style musical. Unfortunately, no photography or video recording during the show. (more…)

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Atlanta Day 2: Breakfast at Courtyard Marriott, Cumberland

We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott at Cumberland because this is the nearest hotel to Ben’s Atlanta office which located just across the hotel.

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We went for a walk in the surrounding area after breakfast.

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We had breakfast at the hotel bistro. Ben had a sandwich for breakfast. His breakfast came with a small bowl of mix fruit. The mix fruit bowl consisted of grapes, pineapple, honeydew, strawberry and cantaloupe. His sandwich came with egg white instead of whole egg for a healthier version.

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Atlanta Day 1: Dinner at The Varsity

Ben planned to bring me to a BBQ dinner. Unfortunately, that restaurant was full. On top of that, there was no parking at all.

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So, Ben changed to plan B and brought me to a popular fast food joint in Atlanta. It was Varsity. It’s a drive-in with indoor seating available too.

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We opted to dine in. It was a big restaurant. You can see that from the size of the ordering counters.

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We ordered a few items to share. Among them were chili dog, chili burger, onion ring, etc. (more…)

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Flying to Atlanta

Ben had business meeting in the Atlanta office. We took the opportunity to have a short vacation in Atlanta. I flew to Atlanta from Vancouver to meet up with Ben.

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I had an early flight before 7am. The ground staff were late to report to the gate. Even the pilots and air stewardess had to wait for half an hour at the gate.

I had a window seat at this flight. Above was a shot of fields with geometrical shapes from the air.

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It was mid September. Some mountain tops already had snow on them.

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My flight transited via Houston. A close up view of the city before the plane landed. Many houses have swimming pools. (more…)

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Chicago: And Lastly … The Centennial Fountain

So I had three nice days in Chicago as a side short vacation from a business trip in Atlanta. By the third day, I felt it’s just time to go home. I was getting home sick. No matter how exciting vacation are, ultimately I yearn for my own bed and my own pillows. I needed home cooked food.

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The last touristy thing I did was made a visit to the Centennial Fountain.

Anyone walking past this fountain would have just dismissed this as a nice big fountain but I thought this is a well designed and well thought out one. It speaks so much about Chicago River and how it had a positive impact to the quality of life in the city.

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Located in the north side of the Chicago River shortly before it connects to Lake Michigan, this place is called The Centennial Plaza and Fountain. It is built in 1989 to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of the completion of the reversal of the Chicago River.

The Chicago River used to flow into the Lake Michigan, bringing along it sewage and contaminating the lake. As the city grew, this became more of a problem as it polluted the drinking water and caused diseases.

So a massive engineering project was carried out to reverse the flow of the river away from the Lake Michigan and into the Mississippi River.

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Chicago: Foodlife

Time to eat. After the Chicago History Museum, I headed back to the Magnificent Mile.

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I read about a place where they say is a gourmet food court. It is located at the Water Tower Place, the same high-rise building that Oprah’s apartment was.

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I never quite get this place why so many people raved about it. Foodlife is the name of the place. You can’t just walk in.

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If you want to eat, you gotta pay first and get a value card before they let you in. So you are supposed to … (more…)

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Chicago: The Chicago History Museum

The Fields Museum of Natural History was simply too large to visit for the day. I thought it is better to spend the time in a smaller, more relevant museum for my trip. For a human history buff like me, I know that the Chicago History Museum would tell a better story of Chicago.

This time I headed north, again outside the city. I took the bus entirely and for a moment got disoriented after I got off the bus. It was like, oh, which direction do I head? I spent a few minutes walking in the wrong direction until someone pointed me to go back the way I came from.

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This is a small museum and there were not a lot of visitors. The museum don’t even open early because I remember waiting outside for the doors to open and there were only two other couples waiting.

This museum was exactly the type of museum I like a lot. If you want to learn about Chicago, this is just the place to go to.

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In this museum, I learned about the major formative events of Chicago.

Fort Dearborn is where the present day Chicago started from. It is built as a desolated outpost over 200 years ago. The name “Chicago” came from the Indian word shikaakwa, which means wild onion or wild garlic.

Chicago grew from this fort into a major transportation hub of the US. The access to the Great Lakes and the fact that almost all trains stops at Chicago, very quickly made Chicago into the 2nd biggest city behind New York. Today, Chicago is the third largest city in the US when LA overtook it a couple of decades ago.

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The next big event is the Chicago Fire of 1871. That fire raged for three days and when it was finally over, a third of the city lies in ruins.

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Amazingly, only 300 people died in the fire. The museum recorded in detail the entire episode.

As a result of the great fire, there was a great reconstruction effort which pretty much led to many of what we see in Chicago today. The reconstructions ushered in the first skyscraper in the world just six short years after the fire.

So in some ways, the fire is like a blessing.

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22 years after the Chicago Fire, the city rose from its ashes and hosted the the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893.

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All these events are reflected in the flag of Chicago.

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The most famous son of Illinois is Abraham Lincoln. The above is the deathbed of the president after he was fatally shot in Washington DC. Suanne and I visited the Ford Theatre and The House Where Lincoln Died just a couple of years ago.

The deathbed in the house where Abraham Lincoln died is just a replica. The real deathbed had been shipped to Chicago and the one above in the Chicago History Museum is the actual bed.

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OK, let’s talk about food. Chicago food.

Other than the deep dish pizza, the Chicago Hot Dog is what the city is famous for. I first had the Chicago Style Hot Dog in the early days of chowtimes. It is in fact one of the first few posts I had written.

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One thing that defines the Chicago Style Hot Dog is the absence of … (more…)

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Chicago: Can’t Decide What To Do!

It was day 3 in Chicago. The last day before I return home.

I had done all the important sights on the first two days that I don’t have a clear plan of what to do. So if it means criss-crossing the city to cover the places that I had not visited before, so be it.

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I went back to the same Corner Bakery Cafe for breakfast simply because they had free wifi. The poster of the Berry Almond Swiss looked so good.

So I ordered that. It did not at all look anything like what is in the poster. The mushy oatmeal stuff at the bottom … I hate mushy stuff like that, especially the ones in the color.

But actually it tasted a lot better than it looked.

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The sweet crisp or whatever you call it was a great addition to the oatmeal.

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The price is not bad too.

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I hopped on to the trolleys for a ride to the first destination of the day.

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The trolleys are nice. There are no windows; so you can stick your face out to catch the breeze. For me, being able to rest the elbow on the window sill and smelling the fresh air outside is just great. The sun was out. So it felt like being ferried around in a convertible. This is what a convertible will look like when it grows up to be a bus.

The best thing about the trolleys? It’s free! There are designated stops it will make and runs every 20 minutes.

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First stop was the Gold Star Families Memorial and Park. There was not a lot to see there. The guidebook alluded that this is a must see place.

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It is a memorial built to honor the officers who were killed on duty. The whole design meant something which I forgot. With a straight line with meandering paths criss crossing it, it is supposed to mean something. I forgot what it is.

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At the end of it is the wall with cascading water. I headed back after a few pictures.

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I wanted to go to the Field Museum of Natural History. I … (more…)

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