Saturday, July 11, 2015

Until Next Time: Atlanta, Georgia

We had to be down in the lobby by 7:45 a.m. so I had my alarm clock set for 6:45 a.m. to have 5-10 minutes to keep myself awake and then take a shower. Hummd, Gwennie, and I chose a specific alarm sound that was really obnoxious to make all of us wake up on time for sure, just in case the other 4 alarms did not awaken us. By the time that the alarm went off, I was already in the shower and I could still hear the alarm as if it was right next to me. I lost track of time and when I came out of the bathroom, it was already 7:30! I was not as worried since I already had most of my stuff packed and ready to go. Hummd and Gwennie used the bathroom after I did, and when we were all finished we headed down to the lobby along with our hotel keys to return. 

As we gave our keys to Jenny, she instructed us to go to the taxi cab outside of the hotel and give the driver our bags to put away in the back. The cab was a van, but it was a little tight, I did not really mind that much because I thought it was a little fun being surrounded by luggage and all. After all of our stuff was packed into the cab and everyone was seated, we were driven to a market for a quick breakfast. I got bottled juice, a sandwich, and somersault snacks that were chocolate-flavored. I guess Gwennie's obsession with chocolate rubbed off on me a bit from these past couple of days. Jenny got coffee and a smoothie, Gwennie had a pastry and smoothie, Hummd got a hot breakfast with cheese grits and potatoes, and Arnold also had gotten a sandwich and bottled juice. We rushed out to the cab and got to the bus station early. It took a while to get tickets, have our stuff put in the storage area of the bus, and find seats. For the most part, all of us got separated and sat next to someone new. 
Healthy but delicious attempt for the 4th day
in a row. 

I was not able to catch his name, but he is a father of 3, with a wife and dog, coming from Florida. He was on his way to travel all the way to Iowa by Greyhound, the bus company, to gain more experience with his job of driving trucks. He was really kind, helping me with placing my snack in the compartment behind the chair that was in front of me. I offered him the other untouched half of my sandwich because I was barely able to finish the first half and Arnold, Gwennie, and Hummd was really full also and he took it. He thanked me later after he had finished it and said, "That was really nice of you, it was my lunch and dinner." That compliment probably made my whole day and I thought that it was way better than wasting the food. We talked a bit more and I found out that he was born in Boston, and then moved down to Florida. 

There was heavy traffic on the way to Nashville once we had gotten to Tennessee, so we got off at our stop 2 hours behind schedule, not to mention that there was a delay in the departure of the bus in the beginning. I forgot that there was a time change (we went an hour backwards) so the trip was technically 5 hours long. I thought that I would experience some type of carsickness, but surprisingly, I was fine the entire time. The time passed by pretty quickly, and before you know it, the bus driver is parking into the Greyhound drop off space! We got off the bus, retrieved our luggage, and quickly called a taxi to come and drive us to the hotel.
The first sign that I saw once I stepped off of the bus.
Within moments, the taxi cab had already arrived and picked us up for a 4-5 minute drive to the Vanderbilt Hotel. The weather was a lot more humid than Atlanta, but felt less warm than Houston. Check-in was not until 4 p.m., so we gave our luggage to the bellboy and walked out to a nearby deli store for late lunch. Gwennie and I split the chicken alfredo dish, Hummd ordered a chili salad, Arnold had a panini and side salad, and Jenny had the side salad that was a part of the chicken alfredo dish. We also all shared a strawberry shortcake for dessert and had free ice cream (soft-served). 
A wonderful, lovely snap of Hummd,
her food, and our food. 

When we were done eating, we walked back to the hotel to get into our rooms (only one of them was available at the time when we came), bring our luggage there, and refresh ourselves from the long bus ride. Right when we all took the first steps into the girls' room, everyone's jaw dropped, literally. The decoration was very attractive, bathrobes were provided, and there were two very comfortable beds that we could not help jumping into. Jenny got a call from the hotel that her room was ready so we all went with her to check it out. Her suite is absolutely perfect and we were amazed at how much space she had to herself. Then, when we were officially settled in, we all walked towards the Parthenon, but it was closed by the time we got there (good thing we are revisiting it tomorrow though). 
Great view of the Parthenon.
It was really hot and humid, and everyone was sweating a bunch, so we all decided to get snow cones to revitalize ourselves. We had a walk around the lake and it led straight to the Vanderbilt Barnes and Noble Bookstore. Jenny gave us around 30-45 minutes of time to choose one piece of Vanderbilt apparel that we wanted to buy, and then took a photoshoot of us with the fleece hoodies in the hot, blazing sun facing us. At first, we just took pictures with poses around the outer sides of the sign, but then we remembered that in the past at Vanderbilt, the cohorts have sat above the sign. We took another few minutes to try and settle on top of the stone (which was very difficult to do), but it eventually turned out really nice.
Greetings from Nashville, Tennessee! Jenny taking a selfie with the rest of the cohort. I am still so surprised how the three of us made it on top.
We walked again back to our hotel and rested for a while until it was time to go to the place where we would get free dancing lessons! I have never really danced before or tried, but it would be nice to give it a try, especially in a new cultural environment. The dance pavilion was right behind the Parthenon and had a large crowd who came to enjoy the music played by the Merchants of Cool band. It was really hot still, so we got a second round of something related to snow cones, shaved ice. I was really impressed with the band and got a little too excited when I heard them because they played some of the songs that I have played along with my symphonic band (which were from Duke Ellington and Stevie Wonder)! After everybody finished with their shaved ice, we approached the center of the pavilion and started dancing also. During one of their songs, there was a crazy dance that everyone was doing by going in circles, so Gwennie and I tried to imitate what they were doing and it eventually turned into a portion of our badminton footwork. Arnold and Hummd seemed to know what they were doing (or look like it at least) by showing off with twirls, spins, and new dance moves. Unfortunately, we could not stay forever so we left a little before 9 p.m. for dinner, and on our way, I saw the most gorgeous fireflies ever. It was something really new because I had never seen them before and it was a really cool experience walking through the open field past tons of them. 

We ate at the Hot Hattie B's Chicken until approximately 10:45. The line was a 10-minute wait, but chicken was very much worth it (if you are ever in Nashville, you should definitely stop by this restaurant). Even though all of the walking the whole day made my feet hurt, I will forever cherish these last hangouts that we all have together before separating. All of the events that we have been to with each other has made me look even more forward to checking in at Vanderbilt University tomorrow afternoon.
Glad that the day was started off with a good note, and ended on a good note.

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