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Coca-Cola, CNN, and the Sea Inside

Coca-Cola, CNN, and the Sea Inside

After a few days of seeing just how Atlantans viewed Canadians (healthcare, the weather and hockey are honest points of reference for most I met), I was very curious to see what an average group of Canadians traveling from Atlanta were like. In the lineup for international check-in, I played “spot the Canadian” in my head to kill time (and this, before you might start thinking, was not an act of racial profiling.. Canadian’s multiculturalism disallows any sort of common racial attributes as being part of said game.. I mostly looked for Roots items, accents – which apparently I have, and patience). What I discovered, most evidently at the gate for my flight, is most Canadians who head South went a bit like this:

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Seniors looking for some sun. Usually couples. Who don’t talk to each other during two hours in a waiting area. And are so enthralled by their Mary Higgins Clark novels that they don’t notice you taking pictures of them. Which I guess isn’t that surprising. Or really that interesting. But it was pretty much the notable anything of today’s big long plane, train and automobile venture back to Montreal.

Yes, after a ride on the Atlanta MARTA train, hours in various line-ups at the airport, a tense 2 hour flight (I went sedative free for the first time in my life), and a cab, I have returned from my 3 day stint in Atlanta. The trip was capped off in great style this morning, with panelists and jurors and other festivalgoers treated to a full on Southern brunch at the impressive home of a festival friend, at which time I experienced grits for the very first time (I mistook them for mashed potatoes and tried not to give a horrified look when I tasted something that was very much not mashed potatoes). And, overall, I was similarly impressed with the festival’s organization and friendliness (it still ongoes through the week).

Atlanta itself, which was a bonus to be able to discover on the side, was an interesting experience. Some obviously under-exemplified (I only had a few days) observations after the jump.

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The CNN/Coke madness was really overwhelming. I couldn’t get over the huge crowds who, on a Friday in April, were checking out overpriced “Coke World” or “The CNN Experience” in droves. I did not follow suit, but I did roam their gift shops. All I bought was (ironically, and as gifts) a Nancy Grace mug and fridge magnet, but I did take pictures of outrageous priced items (a floral CNN T for $40? Coke jeans for $100?):

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Which was all actually pretty entertaining to look through. It was so fun that I almost upped the ironic gift anty by purchasing a Nancy Grace tube top. And, whatever, any city flaunts what they got and overprices them to hell in doing so. But one overpriced attraction was totally worth it, and I actually forked over $27 to do the most touristy thing I’ve done without my parents and went to an aquarium. And as long as ignore the troubling fact that two whale sharks have died at the Atlanta aquarium since it opened two years ago (which is a considerable troubling fact) and focus on being totally mesmerized by displays featuring animals more massive than I’ve ever seen, then all is good:

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And that’s pretty much it for Atlanta observing. I missed out on their famed fast food joint The Varsity or, on the other side of brow, the Martin Luther King memorial (which is supposed to be pretty amazing). But I can say their subway system is very clean and easy to use (though you cant bring open beverages on it which defeats my coffee & subway hand-in-hand mentality), and that they have the best named gay bar of all time:

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But either way, my appreciation to the festival that brought me there. I couldn’t have asked for a more friendly jurying devirginization.

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