Thursday, August 06, 2009

Mini-Vacation, Part 1

It's been a long, hot - and for ZBoy - rather boring summer. We haven't done any camps yet (though his Uncle John sent money for a camp later this month), and he's been spending his days at home while I work from home (little interaction) or doing something with his dad in the afternoons while I go into the office. One morning he was flopping around on the bed in the computer room while I worked and asked, "Aren't we going to go anywhere this summer?"

I could sympathize. Except for one trip to England to see my grandmother before she died, I haven't had a real vacation since giving birth to him over 10 years ago. Suddenly, I, too, was feeling the urge to see something different.

I lifted my fingers from the keyboard and turned to him. "Yes! We will go somewhere. It can't be too far or for too long, but we'll go somewhere different."

After a bit of mulling over and discussion with Darling Man, ZBoy and I decided on Atlanta. Half my brothers live there, so we'd have a place to stay and there are lots of things to see in Atlanta.

Darling Man had to work (one of his employees went on vacation), so ZBoy and I set out mid-Sunday morning for a longish drive to north Georgia.

Long trip Out the car

Z brought along his DS and some books for when he got bored, but he never pulled them out. We talked the whole way to Atlanta! I gave him my camera at one point and he started taking pictures. Me yawning, a cool fence for a horse farm...

I had packed a cooler with sandwich fixin's, fruit, drinks, cheese and yogurt. And a dry bag with chips, bread, cookies and paper towels. The plan was to stop somewhere to make lunch near Cordele, then get on the interstate and head north. That was the plan... When we got to Blackshear Lake outside of Cordele, we discovered that they had a campground with picnic tables near the dam, so we headed there and picked a table under the trees. The shade was cool and still and it seemed an ideal spot. We unloaded the cooler and the dry bag, pulled out paper plates and opened the bread bag. Out of nowhere, the flies descended. The SECOND I put the bread on the plates. Suddenly, they were everywhere. With a little scream of horror, we threw everything back in the car, followed by the flies - some of which were trapped when we slammed the doors. After batting them around a bit (discovering in the process that opening the windows only invited MORE flies into our sanctuary), we drove out of the park and headed towards Cordele to regroup.

Running Dog Cloud Side of the Road near Cordele

Our trip back to the highway was a twisty tour around the lake. Z loved that cloud that looked like a dog running, ears flying. And we were somewhat surprised to find a good amount of acreage devoted to corn while the rest of the road had upscale houses on one side of the lake and rundown shacks on the other.

Finally, the highway appeared and we got on and continued to the interstate. We were starving by this time, and there was a DQ right there before the ramp to the interstate, so we stopped. After a couple of fair hamburgers with fries, I asked him what he wanted for dessert (it was DQ, after all). He nodded towards the sign next to the booth and said, "I sure don't want THAT. Look what they make it with - Girl Scouts!" After laughing over the unfortunate graphic arrangement of the sign, he decided on a banana sundae.

Latest Blizzard Craze Banana Sundae

I could lie to you and say that the rest of the trip up was uneventful, but that would be... well, lying.

My father graciously loaned me his GPS, Naggy Maggy for the trip. Unfortunately, I have little experience with these things (simple as they are) and we didn't exactly speak the same language. Her repeated commands to "keep right" had me taking exits and doing impromptu tours around such famous attractions as the airport. Once you've gone off course, she says "recalculating" and gets you back on track. However, because I didn't speak the GPS lingo, we had several driving adventures.

As we approached downtown, we wound up with another impromptu side trip when my phone rang. A cheerful male voice on the other end asked where we were. Recognizing my brother's voice, I told him what was going on and where we were and he said he could talk us to where he was. And he did. He said, "in the next block, you'll see me standing on the sidewalk." Well, I'm driving along, thinking, this doesn't look anything like I remember their neighborhood looking like, when the voice in my ear said, "Where are you going? I'm right here! Turn right into that drive way!" I made my turn and James came loping towards us. Wrong brother! James and Andy sound so alike on the phone, I'd been looking for a tall, muscular, bald guy (Andy), not tall, thinnish, with-hair James!

We had a good laugh, and he rode over to Andy's with us. I was taking us all out to dinner that night.

In Andy's car

We finally arrived and John and Andy's house (John is overseas at the moment), and while I freshened up, Andy gave ZBoy a tour of his police cruiser. Z was apparently a little shy about the whole thing and perhaps feeling like he shouldn't be sitting there (lots of buttons and such). He did think it was really cool though.

Dinner out with the brothers and my nephew G was fun! We went to a place called The Real Chow Baby, where you create your own stirfry. I was pretty good. Brown rice, spinach, broccoli, scallops, chicken - with a little light soy, terriyaki, and an egg. Zach did great until he got to the spices. He put quite a bit of curry powder on his - then was shocked when it was a bit warm for his tongue. He also discovered later, to his horror, that it was just as warm leaving as it was going in. It was delicious though. I wish we had one of those here!

The next morning, Z and I began our touristy tour of Atlanta. We picked up James, and after an excellent breakfast at the Flying Biscuit, we headed over to the zoo. TIP: If you're planning to see several attractions like Z and I were, the City Pass is an excellent way to save money.

We began our tour, which consisted mostly of African and Asian animals with the meercat.

Meerkat looks like Yoda

If you've ever watched Meercat Manor, you have this idea in your head of what meercats look like. The ones on that show are WILD. The ones we saw are in captivity. Well-fed captivity. They looked like little stripy Buddhas. This one in particular also looks a bit like my cat Yoda.

The apes were great... This silverback wasn't terribly interested in showing us much more than his backside... I felt quite lucky to get a profile shot!

Silverback Gorilla

At first glance, the orangutans weren't a very active group. They all seemed to be intent on sleeping, but then this little guy popped out from behind that rock. He did his karate stance, then stretched his arms up over his head and fell over backwards. Quite funny!

Kung Fu Orangutan

We saw a real live komodo dragon, which was quite impressive. Z loves them (probably because they are "dragons") and wanted to take a picture with this statute.

Z and the Komodo Dragon

After a visit to the quiet - and disquieting - reptile house, we sought out the tiger. What a magnificent animal. This one was hot and spent most of the time in the water splashing around. People crowded the glass, so I had a hard time getting a good picture. James, being tall, got a few that were nice. I got a picture of James, taking a picture.

James gets close Cooling tiger
After the zoo, we took James home (he had to go to work), and Z and I struck out for the Aquarium and the Coke Museum. Since it was getting late in the day, we decided to wait to do the Aquarium the next day, as we knew we'd want to spend time there. So the Coke museum it was - Z was less than enthusiastic, but we weren't there more than five minutes before he turned to me and said, "I'm having a good time, Mom!"

The Smile

We saw the goofy little movie "Happiness Factory", then walked around looking at all the displays.

Z at the Coke museum For Matt

At the end, we got to taste as many variations of coke and coke products as we could stand, from every country. There was one called the Beverly, which was by far the nastiest-tasting stuff I've had in a long time. ZBoy's favorite was Vegibeta from Japan. He's wondering where we can buy some....



Floridacracker said...

Hey that sounds like a great adventure. We were up in that area too.

Sandcastle Momma said...

That sounds like great fun. For all of the adventures you had Z will remember time spent with mom the most. He's really a cute kid!

margaret said...

Heehee! Fabulous pics and stories - I love the "mistaken brother identity" one! Thank you!!

Janis said...

Your mini vacation part 1 sounds like a fun time. Can't wait to hear part 2. Zboy takes good photos. I'm sure he loved his special time with MOM.

TROLL Y2K said...

That dragon picture is absolutely priceless!

Bobbie Leigh said...

The picture of you yawning made me yawn. ANd now I can't stop. Thanks lady! LOL!

The Church Lady said...

That is so nice that you and Z-Boy had some good bonding time. I enjoyed reading part I of your mini vacation! Hope part II is just as good!

Swampy said...

Love the expressions on his face...especially the one with the dragon...made me think it might be a real dragon for a second. Not !

min said...

Now I've got to taste one of those Beverly's. I wonder if I can order it on the Internet.

karisma said...

Gotta love that Z-boy, makes me feel so at home! LOL! Now I had a giggle at your "Naggy Maggy" we are not sot polite down here, we call ours the Nave Bitch! Last time I went to the city she took us in circles and it cost a whop in damned toll fees! We had to laugh though. We even took a useless trip across the harbour bridge! Priceless!

That Meerkat is very fat! The ones at our zoo are slim like the wild ones. But far more inquisitive. We are planning on a trip to the zoo in Sydney this week if we can make it. There is a new baby elephant we would like to meet. I also love the gorillas and orangutans. I could sit and watch them all day!

Pamela said...

I'm enjoying it nearly as much as you.

The meercats at the portland zoo several weeks ago looked just like the ones on tv.

That cloud is indeed a dog running. Im impressed that you stopped and took a picture.

PinkPiddyPaws said...

The Real Chow Baby is the BOMB!! (and in more ways than one for some folks.. ha.ha.ha... stink bomb!)

I'm so glad you guys had a great time. Wish I could have been there to visit.

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