Atlanta – Nibbled to Death by Rats

I just got back from visiting Atlanta, Georgia. I had gone there years ago on a trip and hadn’t been there in years. The guidebooks said there was a lot to see and do in Atlanta and its environs.

They did not mention 
the absolute sterility and de facto segregation of downtown- the downtown is a huge, deep, concrete and highrise labyrinth with nothing but expense account restaurants, hotels and office buildings. It is separated from the rest of Atlanta by a large buffer zone of development that effectively cuts off the rest of the city and its inhabitants.

Anyone not wearing a uniform (be it suit, coveralls or tourist wear) and on foot is immediately identified as an intruder.There are more police downtown than in Las Vegas – or occupied France for that matter.

Downtown is a very sterile environment enforced by a heavy police presence and very defined borders where tourists are politely but heavily discouraged to cross and locals much less politely.

This did not prevent some of the numerous scams run by the locals such as the American Taxi Company – who allowed their driver to bilk me out of $10 to drive 2 blocks (off the meter by the way) and refused to return phone calls when I tried to report this price gouging or the hotels who must get a percentage from the shuttle service for those $16 a head van trips to and from the airport-while not mentioning the $1.75 train which is faster.

Not to mention the rats, I’ve never seen so many when I was walking around – individuals and packs of them roaming around downtown – they must have even outnumbered the office workers it seemed.

They seemed a metaphor for the numerous locals who fed on the tourists-suddenly appearing ripping you off in little bites and myriad ways till they drained you dry.