Thursday, July 7, 2011

Glamu the Pajama Man

First things first: Our trip to Atlanta was awesome!

We had visited the city fourteen years ago and really hadn't been all that impressed. Mind you, My Lovely Wife was raucously nauseated that entire trip due to morning sickness that mistakenly thought morning lasted from dawn to dusk, with a few extra hours thrown in just for good measure. Much of that trip was spent with her violently ill at the hotel while I scoured the area for baked potatoes with cheese sauce.

When your pregnant wife tells you that melted, processed, cheese-flavored plastic is the only thing she can eat without vomiting, then that's what you bring her.

This latest trip to ATL got off to a rocky start when we checked into our first hotel around 10:00pm on Friday. We weren't supposed to have a "first" hotel. The plan was to have "a" hotel, but quality and poor service sometimes have a way of changing your plans.

Entering our suite was reminiscent of opening an oven door. Apparently, keeping the air-conditioning unit off when rooms are unoccupied is a great way to save a few pennies. Any potential savings were surely lost after we cranked the unit into power-sucking overdrive. By morning, we had created distinct temperate zones in which some of us were simply freezing and others (meaning the kids who were closer to the window) were chipping ice off their toes.

The beds were an issue, as well.

Although the king bed mattress was comfortable, our feet came to rest sightly higher than our heads, which might explain my many bizarre dreams about falling off ladders and skydiving. But the kids really had it much worse. The rollaway on which Our Daughter slept looked like an animal had torn through the bottom to nest in the box spring, and the main support bar of the boys' sleeper sofa was so bent it nearly touched the floor.

After canceling the remainder of our stay and booking family suite at the lovely Hilton Suites in the Perimeter neighborhood, we spent the weekend visiting the Atlanta Zoo, the World of Coca Cola, and the Georgia Aquarium. The latter is home to the most amazing single tank I've ever seen. At 6.3 million gallons, with a viewing window taller and wider than most upscale homes, the tank holds an impressive variety of sea life, including several giants of the sea such as whale sharks and giant manta rays.

As memorable as the big wall was, however, it paled in comparison to the unforgettable distinctness of the Georgia Aquarium's dolphin show.

Here's a hint for any future writers out there: When you need a narrator to spend the first five minutes of the show explaining what the show is going to be about, it's exceedlingly likely your story is too contrived.

In this case, the narrator prattled on about a mythical figure who creates stars (that don't really factor into the story of the show), who is attacked by monstrous sea creatures (that never make an appearance in the show), who leads the audience in a trippy song to raise his sunken ship (that you only see in cartoon form on a giant screen), and who wears what look like silk pajamas and a robe stolen from the wardrobe department of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat."

Occasionally, there are dolphins.

The Italian jokingly referred to the show's protagonist as "Glamu," which I thought was a pretty clever spin on Shamu, so we spent the rest of the day laughing about Glamu the Pajama Man.

Of course, no trip to any city would be complete without a food-driven purpose. In this case, we made a special side trip to Flip Burger, a gourmet burger joint affiliated with recent Top Chef winner Richard Blais. The burgers were amazing, but the even bigger hit was the milk shakes topped with liquid nitrogen.

I can live without the coolness factor of the nitrogen, but you can bet I'll spend way too much time this summer trying to replicate the Cap'n Crunch milkshake with peanut butter foam.

© 2011 Mark Feggeler

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