We were visiting Atlanta for a wedding the Memorial weekend. I was excited hoping to get some great photos with my new 17-55mm lens. A Delta trip to India last year had given us enough points for the round trip. And I had used my points to get us two nights at the JW Marriott in Emory close by where the wedding was to be. I fly US Airways usually on business and with Delta, I had to settle for a Zone three boarding. But we still got space for our carry-ons though we were one of the last.
We landed in Atlanta at about 12:30 PM. The airport is huge and humongous – I know that sounds like redundancy of expression, but that is what it was. Getting out of the gate, we had to go underground which is about three stories deep. The shuttle-train took as past four stops to baggage claim. Walking towards the rental car center, we found out that we had to take one more shuttle-train to the garage. Finally there, I got onto some big Oldsmobile that had a pretty bad blind spot. Onto the expressway, I soon got honked at while trying to change lanes – thanks to the blind spot. Thanks to the guy who honked me – he had me safe. The Atlanta expressway from the airport is no smaller – six lanes of high speed traffic on slightly narrower lanes more fit for a compact car. It was about 30 minutes drive to Emory. Emory is a lovely upscale suburb. Lennox street is lined with great looking communities and apartments. We decided to get to the hotel first and then hunt for food.
The JW Marriott on Lennox road is not the same JWM you see at Las Vegas or Orlando. It is a step up from a Courtyard. Having seen the 10 feet ceilings in the rooms and the fabulous bathrooms at Las Vegas, this was a let down. Don’t waste points next time here – the Courtyard on Executive parkway is a better deal. After freshening ourselves, we stepped out to the adjacent Lenox mall. This is a huge mall with great shopping and places to eat. We settled for a bite at Panera. We stepped into the Macy’s to get some perfume and soon we got a whiff of the attitude of the sales people. So many people come into the mall and into this Macy’s they just don’t care. At least the one we dealt with – had to buy some perfume – was callous. I asked him for perfumes that don’t have a strong smell of alcohol and he said all perfumes there didn’t have alcohol!! I should be an idiot to take that or as I decided, even to argue with him. After picking up a perfume, we headed back to the room – a 10 minute walk. Tip about buying perfumes – best to sample it at home that come along with those catalogs and decide what to buy ahead of time. Else you will get confused with all the choices and it will be a hit or miss. I also wanted to get dressed up for the next day and walked back into Macy’s to buy a suit. The experience was similar with the salesman being hurried and snapping for I was trying out more than a couple.
For dinner, I hunted down ‘Chat Patti’ – an Indian vegetarian snack place which had all sorts of chaats and south Indian fare. It was a 10 minute drive. On the way we also checked out the drive to the Courtyard from where we had to pick up a friend the next morning. The food was good, but we had ordered too much I guess – the cost was very reasonable and that didn’t hurt, but it is always a good idea to order in two-gos – first some and then more if needed. I could have cut down the cost of dinner from $45 to $30 and still have had enough food. Sorry, that was a waste. The vada was too oily. When you visit a Gujarati/North-Indian restaurant, typically the south Indian food won’t be good. This has been my experience predominantly.
Getting up early morning and the travel and driving all had me tired and I get the bed soon. Sunday morning, Rama had to get to the place where the marriage was early morning around 7:30 to help along with her friend whom we picked up on the way. I parked the car and spent the time strolling near the Emory Conference center which is surrounded by dense greenery. I took some photos with my smart phone. There were some great rhododendrons blossomed and filling up the sidewalk. The trees were extremely tall and were literally shooting up with spaces made up by the blue sky. I got back into the car and was listening to some Kannada songs – wondering thousands of miles away in a remote land, attending a Hindu-American wedding and listening to Kannada songs – had to be some sort of happenstance. If you haven’t read the book – To the summit – it is a MUST read. Takes all of 30 minutes to read but the message is inescapable. I will spare the details for your read. Buy the book and ask your children and friends to read.
Rama’s helping was to get the six bridesmaid dressed up in sarees. It took about 1 1/2 hours!! We then went back to the hotel to get dressed up for the morning Hindu ceremony. The ceremony went about very well. The setting was one of the conference halls. The place was decked with glitter. The stage was made up of a Greco-Roman sort of setting but very much akin to a Hindu podium with pillars and flowery twines winding up these pillars. The ceremony took about 2 1/2 hours with English explanations narrated by the wedding host. The different poojas were all explained and was also printed out as part of the event booklet. After the ceremonial tying-of-the-knot, there was a photo session with the newly married couple. I managed to take photos all along with my G12, but taking wedding photos from a small camera and without real access is a poor attempt. I didn’t want to intrude myself in the ways of the professional photographers. We had some excellent food for lunch. The evening ceremony was the Christian exchange of vows in a beautiful setting on the lawn. The evening was capped off with some lively choreographed dancing to western and Bollywood tunes. The bride was herself a ballroom dancer and had taken a keen hand in all the events. The food was excellent again. We met new friends – a lot from my home state of Karnataka. All in all, it was a nice day to spend wishing the newly wed. Can’t imagine how emotional it will be when the Father gives the bride away. The flight next morning from Atlanta back home had a long 4 hour stop over at Detroit. The Detroit airport is one of the most spacious and light-filled airports I have been to. We grabbed a light lunch of split-quesadillas and salsa. I had caught a small cold and wasn’t feeling all that great when we reached home early evening.