Sunday, July 22, 2007

134 Peachtree Street

New York has Broadway, LA has Sunset Boulevard, Singapore has Orchard Road, KL has Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, and Atlanta has Peachtree Street. I quote from the Where magazine on Atlanta, "Peachtree has become a long way from its humble beginnings as a dusty trail leading European traders and gold-differs to and from a Creek Indian settlement by the Chattahoochee River. Over the years, it has blossomed from a fashionable little main street of stately residences into a diverse mix of towering skyscrapers, upscale hotels, shops, apartments, condos and lofts, chic eateries, nightspots and art centers -- a world of modern urbanity coexisting peacefully with proud relics from the past kept safe by the Atlanta Preservation Center."

Jet lag hit me a bit late yesterday. After a long long journey from KL to Atlanta, I finally made my way from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, I got an early check-in at 8AM. After settling in I went for the complimentary American (what else?) breakfast which ends at 10AM. At that point, all the blood rushed to my stomach and then I realized that my body was still in a different time zone, regardless of what I was trying to tell myself. Atlanta is exactly 12 hours behind KL. I ended up sleeping the Saturday afternoon because it was nighttime back home.

Some hassles about time zones:
1. I have to reset the time on my watch, mobile phone, camera, laptop computer and this blog every time I cross time zones. I especially made sure I reset my watch at LA (so that I wouldn't miss my connecting flight) and then reset again at Atlanta. Well, those of you frequent travellers might probably be thinking what the big deal is. See, I haven't crossed a time zone in 9 years, so this is a big deal to me. Oh wait, Chiang Mai and Bali are 1 hour behind KL, but they don't really count coz it's just 1 hour.
2. My watch has a day and date change mechanism that changes the date at midnight KL time. So now, it's changing the day and date at noon Atlanta time and I don't think I can do anything to fix it.

Oh yea, at LAX I had my first taste of the famous US Dept of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration's super strict security checks. Shoes must be taken off and scanned. Laptops must be taken out and tested. I took off my belt. I basically took off everything that might remotely contain metal. But they didn't ask me to start the laptop computer. They didn't look at my small bag of LAGs (liquids, aerosols and gels). They basically ignored me after I walked through the metal detector, whereas I saw some other people who went through further checks after passing through. Did I look that innocent/harmless or what? I saw some people's handbags being subject to testing by gas ionizing detectors after going through the X-ray. Looks like they are dead serious about detecting chemicals and explosives.

So, now I'm at a hotel on Peachtree Street, the famous Atlanta street. It was eerily quiet when I stepped out of the MARTA station just across the road from the hotel. Extremely convenient. It's even nearer than from KLCC LRT station to KLCC.

Some interesting observations here... Atlanta is home to two of the most famous American brands in the world -- Coca-Cola and CNN. Yet, downtown Atlanta is pretty small, all within walkable distance. I can see the CNN Center, Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola right from my window on the 18th floor.

Another interesting fact about Georgia state: It is the home of golf in the US -- The prestigious US Masters is held at the Augusta National golf course every year.

It's funny listening to Jet Li speaking Spanish in his movies on TV.


Leaving the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, somewhere over southern Pahang

Clouds in motion

Somewhere over the South China Sea

Sunset on the approach to Taipei

Aboriginal Taiwanese sculptures

Twilight zone over the northern Pacific Ocean east of Japan... high above the clouds... I felt like I was on a spaceship... so serene

Sunrise over the Pacific

Somewhere over the Pacific... as we flew into the rising sun the sunrays became so blindingly intense that all the window shades had to be shut... it was also sleep time for most of the passengers, since it was already night time according to our biological clocks

Somewhere over northern California... earlier, the window shade was down, so I missed the landfall on the west coast of the USA

Making a steep bank to the right on the final approach to LAX... downtown LA is shrouded by mist/smog... in the evening.

Touchdown LAX!

LAX is a busy airport... there were planes taking off and landing all around us... flying over California, I also saw other planes flying in the sky nearby... it was a bit unnerving at first, coz I'm not used to seeing other aircraft in the sky at the same time as me... but I guess the air traffic control knows what they are doing.

Our gate at the terminal was occupied, so we got sent to a remote gate far away from the main terminal... it's like a low cost terminal, but with air-conditioned aerobridges.

Took a bus back to the Tom Bradley International Terminal

Getting in line at the Customs and Border Protection (CPB) a.k.a. immigration. The international terminal is under renovation, so space is constrained. The majority of CPB officers were non-white Americans. Their names were Jang, Afzal, Pangpang, and the like. The guy who processed my entry was Nguyen. I think the US government is really trying to project a more familiar international face. There was an amusing interaction between one of the few white officers and an elderly Taiwanese couple who looked like they didn't understand English. The officer had to use sign language and physically "assist" the Taiwanese man to remove his hat and glasses for the photo-taking by the camera.

You know you're in America when you see one of these

Civic powered by Compressed Natural Gas... California takes their air pollution control very seriously

Checking in a surf board to Jamaica

LAX Terminal 5 by night

'nuf said

Gate 57 Terminal 5 LAX for Delta Airlines

Baggage reclaim at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

MARTA station at Atlanta Airport... at 7:15AM

MARTA Peachtree Center underground station

Very long escalator up to ground level

The first person I met in downtown Atlanta, the moment I exited the MARTA station... his name is Shorty... he's 51, homeless, very friendly... he gave me a running commentary of downtown... I think he would make a good tour guide.

Peachtree Street at 8 o'clock on Saturday morning... where is everyone??!

My hotel

Historic fire hydrant, the site of the first demonstration of the city's water system on September 11, 1895


Historic Candler Building

Poser in the lift... I mean, elevator.

View from my room... downtown isn't very big

CNN Center

Sunset views from my window

Atlanta pasar malam raising funds for charity

U want 1?

Horse carriage ride for tourists

Hard Rock vs Hooters

Hard Rock Cafe Atlanta

A dude getting his BMW towed by the police for illegal parking

This Hummer stretched limo can take 18 persons legally

Atlanta police bike

Homeless guy sleeping on the sidewalk... it was close to midnight, time for me to scoot back to the hotel... I didn't feel in danger out on the streets... there were police officers around... and local guys cruising in their fast cars (19 inch chrome wheels are in fashion) but I didn't wanna take any chances anyway.


el'z said...


lina said...

Goodness me... long photos "summary" of your 1st 2days in Atlanta, eh?

The dog's so cute... it's a beagle, isn't it?

Well, go and shoot more... haha...

take care

CW said...

Guessed that ur shoe smell safe enough that the guards bypass you. But did u notice they treat folks who remotely look like Muslims differently?? All the best for jet lags... best way to threat it is to keep moving i.e. walk, go to parks/museums/bookstores until 6/7+pm.

kat said...

ooh nice night shots esp! and that's a bassett hound me thinks. aka hush puppy dog!

u must've held up lines of ppl at airport alighting fr plane taking so many shots.

keep on shooting d piccies!

lina said...

Hmm... yup... Kat, u r right. It is a basset hound. A beagle has shorter droopy ears.

CH said...

Oii...u r not suppose to have your digital camera on during landing right? All electronic gadgets muz be off upon take off and landings!Am I right?

Wah...did u pay the homeless guy some money to take a photo of him?

No one at 8 am cos is still early la..everyone still asleep...since it's the weekend!

The dog is so cute..but i think he look sleepy lo...

and LOL...I can imagine that you are always behind the camera..shooting shooting shooting..WOW...really good man!


HL said...

el'z: Yes, it's really nice. So far so good.

lina: What else to do? Take photo lor. The dog's owner was friendly. He actually made the dog turn around for the camera.

cw: My shoe smell knocked out the detectors. I noticed that the officers were also checking families travelling with children and women's handbags. I think it's because they tend to carry liquids and aerosols.

kat: No I did not hold anyone up on the plane. All my shots were taken from my seat, or on the move. Taipei sunset shots were taken from the door window right at the tail of the plane where there was no one.

lina: Basset hound it is.

ch: I don't think a camera is considered an "electronic device". It is not designed to emit signals, except for some newer DSLRs with wireless. Yes, I gave Shorty money for breakfast. Yes, I shall take more shots, although I have to be discreet at times in order not to attract attention... shoot from the hip without looking through the viewfinder.

Photo count as of right now is 684.