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So me and a handful of coworkers went to Atlanta (there's a reason why it's called Hotlanta, and that reason is June) courtesy of Delta and Hilton. We left first thing Friday morning in the rain. Except for some turbulence, the flight was fine. At the Atlanta airport, Delta rep Courtney* showed us Delta's lie-flat beds on one of their trans-oceanic planes. Nice, very nice. If I ever cross the Atlantic in business class (yeah, right), that's how I'm gonna do it.

Then we went to look at the Hilton at the airport. One Atlanta decorating trend we noticed (it was at the hotels and the Delta Elite loung) was fancy fake grass in glass vases. Anyway, we had lunch with John, one of the Hilton reps, at the NASCAR-themed restaurant there (good fish sandwich).

Then Courtney took us to the Delta In-Flight training center, where we met Dan, one of the trainers plus Tammy and Amy, two other Hilton reps. Dan showed us where the flight attendant trainees sleep and their classrooms, then he showed us their crash simulator. It was basically a frankenplane -- made of pieces of three or four different types of Delta jets. Dan progammed it to simulate a crash at landing -- smoke in the cabin (I think I was the only one to notice how ironic it was that the smoke was coming up from the same area as the fire extinguisher), "fire" showing through the windows. (I learned over the course of the weekend that most crashes happen during take-off and landing, hardly ever mid-flight.) Then came the big moment -- we got to slide down the inflatable emergency exit. That was definitely a fun-house-type ride. It was hilarious to see John do it in his suit and tie, holding his shoes. We said goodbye to Dan then we went to the Delta Heritage Museum. It's a bunch of Delta relics in one of their old hangars. Pretty interesting but hot as hell -- no AC in the hangar. I'm amazed none of us visitors got heatstroke the entire time we were in Atlanta. Then it was time to tour the airport Hilton. Very nice hotel, especially for an airport property.

We said goodbye to the Hilton reps then next came our trip on MARTA, Atlanta's rapid-transit train system. Courtney, the other agents, and I got onto one traincar that was a bit crowded. She decided that the next car had fewer people. She said we should get up and get off. We all stood up, she and Beth (a fellow agent from the other office) got off the train and were about to go to the next car (you couldn't go through the door to the next car, you actually had to get off then get back on). The rest of us were about to follow when the doors suddenly shut and the train started moving. We were practically knocked off our feet. Courtney shouted, "Peachtree!!! Peachtree!!!" as the train pulled away. Thankfully, we figured out she meant the name of the station the next hotel was at, five stations away from where we were. I have to tell you, we laughed our butts off at the whole situation.

We met back up with Courtney and Beth at Peachtree then toured the downtown Hilton, the one we ended up staying it. Very nice hotel, though not as nice as the airport Hilton. We all got two double bed rooms to ourselves. Dinner Friday night was on our own. Sarah (one of the team leaders in my office), Lucy (another agent from my office), and I went to Pittypat's Porch, a Gone With The Wind-themed hotel. Good Southern food, high prices. By the time dinner was over, it was after ten so we went back to the hotel. I had started reading Anne Stuart's Ice Blue on the flight that morning and read more that night. Great book, I ended up finishing it Sunday night after I got home. Didn't realize until Monday morning that it's the third of a five-book series.

Anyway, Saturday morning we had buffet breakfast at one of the hotel's restaurants (great food) then we were free to do whatever. They had given us free passes to the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coke, so we went. I might add that we walked there (like five blocks) in the Georgia 90° heat and high humidity. If you ever visit Atlanta, don't do it in the summer. The Georgia Aquarium says they're the largest aquarium in the world. I don't know about that (I've been to some big aquariums), but it was a lot of fun. I loved the beluga whales and the two albino alligators (what can I say, I like all-white animals) and the leafy sea dragons. The World of Coke was Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, pop mode. If you go, avoid the Beverly in the Europe section of Taste of Coke. Absolutely nasty. You know it's bad when people who taste it say, "It's gross, try it!" That night, we had dinner with Courtney and the Hilton reps at Trader Vic's, which was in the hotel lobby.

What happens at Trader Vic's stays at Trader Vic's.

Sunday morning, we had a light breakfast in the hotel's Executive Lounge then had an early lunch at the Embassy Suites with Courtney and Amy. Then we went to Lenox Mall. I went straight to Macy's since we don't have one here. I bought some costume jewelry but not the LUSH bathbombs I was admiring. Then we toured more of the Atlanta airport before our late flight home.

We had a fabulous time and I can't wait to go again. Preferrably when the city doesn't resemble an outdoor sauna.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent, and the not-so-innocent.