When you travel a lot, people are always attempting to solicit advice or ask questions about the places you've been. What's your favorite city you've been to? (Edinburgh, Scotland). What's the most incredible thing you've seen? (The Great Wall of China). What do you feel is the most romantic city on the planet? (Paris, France). Where is the best food you've eaten in the world? (Rome, Italy). What do you consider to be nature's most beautiful sight? (Bryce Canyon, Utah). Where did you find the friendliest people on earth? (Bali, Indonesia). What city outside the US would you most like to live in? (London, England). Where do I go to change my life? (Thailand).
And the list goes on and on. Name a place I've been to, and I've undoubtedly got some great memory of something I've seen, done, or ate there.
But, surprisingly, one of the most often-asked questions is this: "What's a place you've been to that you hate?"
I never know quite how to answer this, because I don't "hate" anything (with the possible exception of Ann Coulter, but she is evil incarnate, so that's okay). I try my best to take only the positive away from anything I might experience, and let the negative go (blogging is good for that). Which is why I have had unpleasant aspects to my travels from time to time, but I don't dwell on them so much that I end up "hating" anyplace I've been.
Except, maybe Atlanta.
Partly because I've had more bad things than good things happen to me in Atlanta, making it difficult to let go, but mostly because the traffic there is the worst I have experienced in the entire world. Los Angeles, which is widely accepted as the worst traffic city in the USA, is a piece of cake by comparison. Shanghai? Beijing? Tokyo? Paris? Rome? Seoul? They have nothing on Atlanta. Sure there are cities like Lagos in Nigeria which could rightfully claim the title, but I haven't been there, so for me it's always been Atlanta. I would rather be kicked in the balls than have to navigate Atlanta traffic... especially in the summer heat.
So guess which major American city had to be forced into to my itinerary yesterday?
Unfortunately, NOT a complete list of stops in the Tour de Dave 2007.
Now, I'm sure that Atlanta is a perfectly lovely city to visit on vacation or something... there's a lot to see and do there... but to have to go to Atlanta for work is absolute torture because of the f#@%ing traffic making everything miserable.
And then there's the peaches...
The last time I was in Atlanta, I decided to treat myself to some Georgia peaches after having wasted two hours in a massive traffic jam just outside the city. My hotel which had a very nice restaurant, listed peaches and cream on the menu, which only makes sense because Georgia is "The Peach State," and tourists are going to want peaches so they can experience the state properly. So I got my peaches and was eating away when my waitress dropped by for small-talk. She asked me how I was enjoying my fruit, and I replied that it was pretty good, but tasted the same as Washington peaches back home. That's when she dropped the bomb that they probably were peaches from Washington or, more likely, California... or maybe even China. Apparently Georgia peach production drops every year, because orchardists just can't compete with the imports. Much like Washington's famous apples, I suppose.
Horrendous traffic, scorching heat, and fake Georgia peaches. Now that's something to look forward to.