Mike, Saturday, January 8, 2011
6:30 am: The students did a great job yesterday. They spent about 11 hours riding in the car, alternating between resting, reading, and conversing, with about a half-dozen touristy stops punctuating the monotony. In all, the day lasted about 21 hours for them, and they managed to be positive and upbeat throughout.
11:30 pm: The students did a great job again today. We had less driving time—about seven hours, but they were still had a long day. They got to see lots of things in Atlanta, and I think they generally had fun.
Ryan, Saturday, January 8, 2011
5:30 pm: Last night, I got some sleep, more than I did yesterday. I was able to sleep until about 6:30 am, and we left about an hour later. We headed for Atlanta. Once we got there, we went to the High Museum of Art. After we paid for parking, we came to find that the building had not been used for an art museum for 8 years. We found the right building after a while and we saw the Salvador Dali exhibit. My favorite painting of his was “The Persistence of Memory.”
We had lunch at Negril, a Caribbean Café, and it was very good. I tried the Chicken and Shrimp Stir Fry. That’s the first time I had ever had Jamaican food. I even got to try what they claimed was Jamaican Pineapple soda. That was interesting.
After our wonderful meal, we went to Martian Luther King Jr. Burial site and Museum. The grave site was cool but the museum did not have as much info as I hoped.
Second-To-Lastly, we went to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum. It had a lot of info, almost more than I was expecting. I had no clue that a president could like peanuts so much.
Finally, we went to the capitol building and saw a lot of statues of the former governors. It was cold outside, but at least we could see the capital building. They also had a podium set up for the Governor’s upcoming inauguration.
10:00 pm: We made an unplanned stop in Macon, Georgia. It was pretty nice. They had some neat houses. We saw what was called a “cannonball house.” This was a big, nice house that had a cannonball land in the front room of the house during the Civil War. Lucky for them, it didn’t explode. Since then, it’s been called the “Cannonball House.”
We survived the trip through Georgia and made it to the right hotel around 10:30. I am pretty tired now that its 10:40 so I think I’ll wrap his up.
Day 2—01/08/2011 7:30 pm
Day two was an exciting day in Atlanta, Georgia. We started the day off by leaving Birmingham sometime after 8 o’clock. As we headed to Atlanta, we crossed into the Eastern Time Zone, which made me feel like I lost an hour of my life. When we got to Atlanta, it was cold and windy, making the perfect day to be walking around outside looking for our first destination in Atlanta.
Our first stop was at the High Museum of Art, where we went to the Salvador Dali exhibit. The line was pretty long; however, it was out the door by the time we left, so I was very grateful we arrived when we did. While I am not the biggest fan when it comes to art museums, I actually did enjoy seeing the displays. One thing I can say is that even though looking at art is not my favorite thing in the world, I really do appreciate the amount of time, effort, dedication, and the amount of skill and thought it takes to develop these pieces. It is something that I know I could never do. The Dali exhibit was very interesting; I really liked how complex his paintings were. His works also give a lot of room for interpretation. They had other art displays such as contemporary art and nineteenth century. There was one display of photographs taken of waves off the coast of California. The shots were amazing. In another display, there was one of my favorite artists, Monet, although I ended up missing this one. The museum had a great variety of all different types of art. In the nineteenth century exhibit, there were not only paintings, but also furniture, silver dishes, and other such stuff.
We ate lunch at a Caribbean restaurant. The Jerk Chicken was pretty spicy, but not as spicy as some of my dad’s cooking. Also, the corn was pretty good as well.
The next place we went was the Martin Luther King Jr. gravesite and museum. I learned a lot about Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife Coretta King. She worked closely with her husband through the Civil Rights Movement. However, she didn’t stop after he died; she kept up with her work for equal rights. She received several awards and honorary degrees for her work. She actually died not that long ago—2006. I wasn’t aware of much she had done, so it was nice to learn more.
My personal favorite of the day however was the Carter Presidential Library. Presidential history is actually my most favorite subject. I started the day by knowing very little (if anything at all) about former President Carter other than the fact that he was President. I now know that he is a former Governor of Georgia, he was one of the few people in his family to have the opportunity of education, and that he was in the United States Navy. Also, he was president during the Iran hostage situation in the 1970s. I learned much from the library. I wish I had had more time to explore and learn. Going here makes me want to see what the other Presidential Libraries are like.
Just as yesterday, today was a lot of fun, and I cannot wait to see what adventures are in store for us in Savannah.
Day 2—Saturday, January 8, 2011
We woke up bright and early this morning and hopped in the car, Atlanta-bound. It was only about a two-hour drive and went by quickly. Upon our arrival, we headed to the High Museum of Art, at least that is what where we thought we were going. After walking around in extremely cold wind for a few minutes, we finally found out that the museum had actually moved years ago, and GPS had never thought to update their system. Fortunately, we eventually ended up in the right place.
This is the last weekend of the Salvador Dali exhibit at the museum, so the lobby was packed full of procrastinators, and we waited about twenty minutes to get into the exhibit, but it was worth it. I had seen a few Dali paintings at the Cleveland Museum of Art in November, but this was an amazing experience. On display were paintings from later in his career. Many of the themes were a marriage of religion and science. There were even a couple paintings where he depicted his wife as the Virgin Mary and are otherwise full of symbolism.
The most memorable paintings were called Marilyn Mao and Mao Marilyn Variant. The former is a portrait of China’s leader, Chairman Mao, but his facial features were replaced with Marilyn Monroe’s. The latter is the same portrait of Mao, but in place of Mao’s eyes are Monroe’s lips. Both are quite strange, but Dali’s motive behind the artworks is interesting. He wanted to take two figures from powerful matriarchal societies, the U.S. and China, to demonstrate that the two countries would soon have great influence on each other.
Once we had gone through the Dali exhibit, each of us wandered around so that we could view various permanent exhibits. When we left, the line was out the door; it is a good thing we got there as early as we did!
Before moving on to any other activities, we decided to satiate our appetites and ate the Negril Caribbean Restaurant. I had the jerk chicken which was delicious, although incredibly spicy! The TV show about extra-terrestrials playing in the background was an unexpected addition to the ambiance; nevertheless, it was a great lunch.
We then moved on to the favorite part of my day, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center. Atlanta was the home town of King, so after he died his widow Coretta started a center to continue his message of equality and peace. There was a timeline of his life and career as well as artifacts, such as his Nobel Peace prize, a suit, and the room key to the hotel where he was assassinated. An outline of Coretta’s life was also displayed and I was amazed at how much she did for the Civil Rights Movement. In fact, the day before her husband’s funeral she led a march and gave a speech in his place. I admire that, even though she was going through the sudden loss of her husband, her dedication to the cause remained steady. Right beside the center was Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King preached and encouraged others to promote social change peacefully. Unfortunately, the church was closed for renovations, but it was still very interesting to see the outside of the building.
While the rest of the gang moved on to the Carter Presidential Library, I decided to head across the street to the King Historical Center, which was run by Ebenezer Baptist Church. I was very impressed with how clearly they outlined the beginning of segregation, how King got his start in the Civil Rights Movement, and his peaceful methods of spurring change. Some of the written quotes and videos of King speaking nearly brought me to tears.
I had a great time in Atlanta! (Minus the thirty minutes I spent outside in the windy, forty-degree weather waiting to get picked up from The King Center.) Now, we are off to Savannah where tomorrow we will spend the day touring the city. I cannot wait to visit yet another town that is so rich in history.