Thursday, September 20, 2007

I am in Atlanta

Specific places and events make more interesting blog post topics than the everyday affairs of people. I prefer to think of this blog as more of an editorial column rather than a personal diary... That is why ideally I would prefer to write numerous blog posts focusing on specific topics, rather than the rare blog post about a whole bunch of stuff from the past week. The difference is that specific blog posts bring the reader to the experience, while the compilation blog post (I make up this term myself just now) focuses on the writer. And really, who wants to read about ol' me? Hmm, does that make sense?

The trouble now is that I haven't posted an entry in a week, and I have actually been here in Atlanta for nearly two weeks now, constantly going on all sorts of story-worthy adventures and building up a bloggable-topic backlog so large that I no longer have the time nor the inclination to write about it all, so I'll have to get all caught up with things right here right now.

Actually technically I'm not staying in the big city but in Duluth, a suburb of Atlanta about 12 miles northeast. It's a very suburby-looking suburb with wide soulless boulevards, immaculately clean deserted sidewalks, and practically mandatory car ownership (since the street layout is designed to keep car movement flowing, not to minimize travel distance). But it's a great place that's close to all the malls and other necessary shopping destinations. There's the Toys R Us, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Gamestop, Fry's Electronics, and of course the omnipresent Wal-Mart (which I have been to at least 6 times). The only time we'd need to travel far distances is for sightseeing and recreation on weekends.

Speaking of travel, I'm the assigned driver for the group of five. Driving on the interstate at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour is a frighteningly far departure from creeping cautiously down Dumaguete's crowded two-way streets. At the night of the first day we arrived we went out to Wal-Mart, a 5 minute drive away from the apartment. At one point I turned my head to my companion in the passenger's seat and said "Haha, hey, I think this is the first time I have ever stopped at a traffic light". I think he was more horrified than amused. The following day there was a two-hour company-arranged driving session, so I think I've gotten the hang of things.

The apartment I'm staying in is shared with five other workmates of mine, fully furnished with all sorts of essential American appliances that we had no idea how to use. It feels so uncivilized to be so clueless, gathered around the dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, furnace, washing machine and clothes dryer like the apes surrounding the obelisk in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Utterly bewildered.

The temperature when we arrived here two weeks ago was disenchantingly warm. Heck I'd even say it was as hot as it is in the Philippines, maybe even hotter in the afternoon (though with the occasional cool wind). The discrepancy between morning, afternoon, and nighttime temperatures is significant though. And the sun sets at around 8 in the evening, Things have gotten noticeably colder over time though, and today for the first time I came to work in a light sweater. Hopefully by the time December rolls around it will be cold enough to have gained the privilege of saying I experienced cold winter temperatures.

To be honest I have only had the chance to go to downtown Atlanta once, last weekend (not counting the time we drove through downtown coming from the airport). Unfortunately nighttime was already creeping up on us by the time we arrived there so things were not ideal for wandering and picture taking, not to mention that the city is not quite a safe place to be at night with all the, umm, unsafe people wandering around. Our ever-helpful tour guide Kuya Vic probably would not have even allowed us downtown after sunset if we were not all together in a large group. But we did get to see a whole lot, since a whole lot of the major stuff seems to be concentrated in a small area surrounding the Olympic Park.

I typed up most of this entry in a hurry and if I keep this up I'll move closer and closer to rambling, so I shall continue next time. I haven't even touched on so many other fun escapades like.... Anyway, next time.

The picture accompanying this post is of me sitting on a marble ball outside a Fry's Electronics store in Duluth. Considering all the places I've been that picture is downright mundane, but I like it.


  1. Oh. So you have one of those newfangled international driver's license thingy? :-)

  2. They made me get the international driver's permit in Cebu but the Georgia Driver's Manual says that a Philippine driver's license is all that's needed, so I've never had to use that permit thing. :p

  3. you're wearing the same shirt as when you landed in LA! :D

  4. carlo: Look closer, that's a different shirt than what I'm wearing in San Francisco. But I am wearing the same pants. :)

  5. Hey Mike,

    WOW! It is great to see you are getting to see some of America,
    Make a lot of photos! Put them on a website.

    Driving in America: Lines, Lights and Signs. Driving through Atlanta is a
    great accomplishment on it's own. I drive through it two times a month, we live
    in Tampa, Florida and have a mountain farm in Sweetwater, Tennessee.

    I love your Philippines (, we made a total of 15,400 photos,
    driving a total of 51,000 Kilometers in that little Nissan.

    Congratulations on getting to come to America and especially all the work you
    have done on Wikipedia!

    Phil King in Tampa