That's right. Dutchboy and I have ventured South to the land of rambling wrecks, peaches and peanuts. The trip down was completely uneventful. Even the drivers didn't seem as dangerous as people warned us they would be. Though I have noticed that drivers in Georgia tend to view road signs and lane markers more as a generalized recommendation rather than an actual law they should obey.
Our first stop in Atlanta was the Center of Puppetry Arts. A very small museum but WOW. Absolutely gorgeous things, gorgeously displayed. They do not allow photos or video, so you'll have to trust me on that. Most impressive was the collection of Jim Henson puppets. In their permanent collection they have Dr. Strangepork and Link Hogthrob from Pigs in Space!, Fishface from Labyrinth and the full body puppet of Skesis from the Dark Crystal. The reason we really went was the collection that is on loan from the Jim Henson family. Included in the exhibit was a life-sized Big Bird and of course, Kermit was there, too! My favorite Fraggles were there, Red and Mokie along with a whole group of Doozers. Labyrinth was well represented with Sir Didymus, the Four Guards, the Bronze Doorknocker and the Tunnel of Hands. Inside the Muppet exhibit itself was Rowlf, Swedish Chef, Dr. Teeth, and Ernie. All beautifully presented alongside a very moving tribute to the career and genius of Jim Henson. I left this place with a lump in my throat, missing the man who created such joyful memories for so many people.
But a girl has to eat! After finding the hotel, we headed to Buckhead to find the Turkish restaurant, Café Agora. I have to admit that once we found it, I was hesitant to go inside. It looked like…well, a dive. It was a simple snackbar type setup. There was no one else there at 6pm on a Sunday evening. See why I was doubtful??? I ordered a glass of Chardonnay, and it was wonderfully chilled and luscious. After that, Ton and I decided to split an entrée, chicken gyro platter that came with a greek salad, but we would also get two appetizers, babaganoush (smoked eggplant spread with grilled pita) and sarma (aka dolmas—stuffed grape leaves). The Sarma was incredible and by far my favorite thing, though the chicken, presented doner style, was perfectly smoky and charred.. At the end of the meal, they brought out two small bites of baklava, topped with pistachios, a very nice, sweet touch! By the time we were ready to leave, the place was filling up. And I can see why. The service and the food certainly lived up to the recommendations and kudos it received online. A delicious memorable meal, even if slightly lacking in ambiance, and I'm thrilled with our choice.
Now, I'm back in the hotel, and my mind keeps going back to Jim Henson. To what he gave the world and how it has affected so many. It makes me miss the wonders of childhood, how things are so fresh, so simple. Yet for a few moments today, I was able to be a kid again, squealing with delight when I saw Sir Didymus, the Swedish Chef, and the Doozers. I sang along with Ernie to "Rubber Duckie". Today, for a brief moment, I found the Rainbow Connection, and it was the lovers, the dreamers and ME.
That's the BEST start any vacation could ever have.
Tomorrow, I'll set foot on Dutch soil, for a few brief moments. The Queen's portrait will hang on the wall and the House of Oranje will rule on a few square meters. After that who knows what craziness will ensue! There might even be photographic evidence.