Monday, 17 June 2019

Back to Atlanta

I’ve had few breakfast so far. For various reasons. Mostly because I’d have to pay for one in the hotel. Or simply that I haven’t been in a hotel.

Today is an exception. The breakfast room is on the 20th floor, with panoramic views of Raleigh. Two eggs over easy, bacon, spuds and coffee. Some fried mushrooms, black pudding and tinned tomatoes would improve it. But it’ll do for now. At $8-odd, the values isn’t bad for a hotel.

Stuart is picking me up at 10:30. It’s been fun spending some time with him the last few days. His daughter was a good laugh, too.

On the way to the airport he tells me how his business has been affected by an increase in aluminium prices prompted by a rise in the import tariff.

“I can’t pass on the increase, so I’m having to eat the extra cost. It may be only a cent or two per can, but it adds up.”

I check my bag in at the kerb. A pretty handy feature of some US airports.

I grab a soft drink in a shop, then orientate myself. Where’s my gate? And where’s the closest bar to it? There’s my gate and that looks like some sort of hospitality just beyond it. Whiskey River? Now that just sounds perfect.

I can’t squeeze in at the bar. I sit at a long table flanked by barstools adjacent to it.

”No, I don’t intend eating. A double Jim Beam, no ice, please.”

My airport bar whisky choice has changed, you might have noticed. No longer Jack Daniels. Why, I’ve no idea. Like those young people, I just changed my preference randomly, just for the sake of it. Doesn’t make me feel any younger, though.

Why do they have one of those electric bucking bulls? And why are all the seat backs made of cow hide? I thought the theme was whiskey, not western?

A couple of Jim Beams later, I ask for the bill. Wow! Only $11.99 a double. Dirt cheap for an airport. I’d have had another couple if I’d known they were that cheap.

In Atlanta I wait at the carousel nervously. Will my bag appear? The experience last week is making me mistrust baggage handling. I can do without extra concerns when I travel.

A taxi takes me downtown again. It only seems like a few days since I was last here. Hang on – it is.

I remember from a previous visit that there’s an offie on Peachtree. I nip there to get the kids’ bourbon. God, they have some expensive whiskey in here. I’m glad I checked the back of the first bottle I chose. That bugger was $99.99. I don’t love the boys that much. $30, tops. I settle on Jim Beam Repeal Batch, at a far more reasonable $25.99. No point going crazy. They’ll only drink it, anyway.

I’ve arranged to see John Roberts at Max Lager’s again. It’s close to my hotel, I’m a lazy bastard. And it’s always fun chatting with John.

Remembering what happened last time, I head straight upstairs. Sure enough, John is there waiting. Who says you never learn anything new after a certain age?

Unfortunately John can’t stay long., having another appointment. After he’s gone I drop down to the bar below for a couple more drinks and some food. It’s about time I ate, having fasted since breakfast. I wolf down a steak. Dead good, it is.

Back in my room, I’m feeling peckish later in the evening. And do something I never do: order room service. Pulled pork sliders and chips. It’s the first time since day two that I’ve had more than one meal in a day.

My stomach is back to normal. Great. Just in time for me to leave. Thank you gut. You vindictive, spiteful bastard. I hate you. Just wait until we get home. Then you’ll be punished.

Whiskey River
Terminal 2, Gate D14,
Raleigh-Durham International Airport

Max Lager’s
320 Peachtree St NE,
GA 30308.
Tel: +1 404-525-4400

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