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17th Sep 2008


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Atlanta is the most populous city in Georgia and is home to a number of America's most global companies. Its modern take on the south gives it a 'we're not local, we're global' feel in the air. This includes mall-manufactured slang, such as 'schwank', which (best as one can tell) is a hip-hop form of swank with a touch of sarcasm. Atlanta is the world in your hand where else can you be hypnotized into thinking you are in Fiji, Beijing, Iraq, and Alaska all at once?



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Start your zeitgeist tour at the village station: even the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has become an accidental study in globalization. That's because Georgia is a major staging hub for the U.S. Army.

Due to the frustrating design plan, international passengers are required to recheck their bags after collecting them at baggage claim, proceed through security, and collect them again at curb-side conveyors. This easily doubles the time it takes to get out of the airport, so bare that in mind. Like many American cities, Atlanta is a driving city. You need a car; there is no alternative, so hoof it directly to the rental units.

The majority of Atlanta was built in 1994, however, it remains a luscious, green city, with verdant forests and expansive ribbons of highway. While wondering around the suburbs, take a look at the old houses in Buckhead, for a moment of entertainment. Most of the social entertainment however, is situated in midtown, the cultural heart of Atlanta and home to Centennial Park and the CNN Centre.

Where to Stay

The best places to stay in Atlanta are in downtown or midtown areas. We recommend staying at The W at the Perimeter – it’s very cultural. The Westin Peachtree can be recommended – a hotel with a Los Angeles vibe. There is a flavour for every mood and every taste!

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What to Eat

Hot and new is Mi Barrio, a funky 50's styling Mexican restaurant that will blow your socks right out of Grant Park. It might be kind of a dive – but the margaritas will send you to heaven, you and all of your friends. 

We haven’t been there but Apres Diem’s delectable French menu is schwank to rival anything in New York or Miami! Montrachet tomato soup with goat cheese! I’ll have another! The atmosphere is relaxed, with an outdoor terrace as well. Grooving to the sounds of UK DJs, this patioed gem is described as 'interestingly awesome'. So, seize the day and then seize the night, this is the place to be! If you can’t get your Jambalaya or crayfish Gumbo at a secret shack off of Peachtree or in the back woods, try it here!

Since this is the food section, we might as well put this here. The world famous Krispy Kreme factory is a great stop for a snack. You can watch the conveyor belts fling twelve donuts at a time across to a shelf of google-eyed kids and the smell, the smell! Wow, I think you could probably bottle that delicious smell!

We love Smoothie King! It's adjacent to Centennial Park and definitely worth a visit. All health-conscious locals know that Smoothie King is deadlocked in competition with Planet Smoothie, a crosstown rival. So, choose your smoothie loyalties wisely because this is a town where people definitely judge you by your smoothie affiliation, a trend they seem to share with Sydney.

If you want gelato, it’s got to be Paolo’s in Virginia Highlands shopping centre. It’s totally Amalfi, and Paolo is fresh off the plane from Italy. “The taste of Italy to America in the form of Gelato”

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Things to do

Atlanta Aquarium, was the largest aquarium in the world, when it opened in November 2005. The park is open from 9am-9pm during the summer and tickets are around $30 – pretty affordable! Here you will see beluga whales, dizzying varieties of rare tropical fish from all of our oceans, and large extremely unattractive man-eating sharks.

In the month of September, you can get a taste of Hong Kong, at Atlanta’s very own dragon boat races. The races feature hundreds of local company teams competing, Hong Kong style, in the spot where the 1996 Olympic rowing competition took place.

This city also has strong music credibility: it is home of the Black Eyed PeasLudacris, and OutKast. Atlantans are big on Bobby Brown and Whitney drama: Catch them at Justin’s on Peachtree: just look for the crazy hair. 

Fortunately, there is one adventure that remains true to Atlanta s southern soul. Pop down to your local corner liquor store and pick up a bottle of Atlanta’s signature drink: Hypnotiq. (In a city that has managed to co-opt the planet into a single metropolis, it is nice to know there is one thing that is down home Atlanta). This mix of vodka and cognac glows bright turquoise and remains a favoured hip-hop tipple. Pull it from the brown paper bag, pour it over ice, pretend it is a mint julep and enjoy the afternoon on a hot humid day, watching everything go by. The feeling you get sums up the city of Atlanta bright and modern, perfectly pitched, and totally ... schwank?

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