One of the main reasons we were here was to see the World of Coca-Cola, the Coca-Cola HQ, and to welcome the three travelers from Expedition 206. The three, Tony, Kelly and Antonio, were part of a campaign by Coke where they had to travel to 206 countries in 365 days, to find out what Happiness meant to people around the world. It's more than a soft drink, folks, it's happiness in a bottle.
The World of Coca-Cola is easily the biggest attraction in Atlanta. You get to see all the history of Coke, all kinds of Coke memorabilia and a mini bottling plant.
There were the usual things an American attraction has: Photo ops with the Coke polar bear, a 4-D show, but the most fun part was tasting drinks made by the company for their markets all over the world. The most "famous" drink is Beverly from Italy. It is an, er, acquired taste. It was fun to see folks place their cup at the Beverly fountain and take a sip, then wince.
We got a little carried away in the Coke Store. I think it is one of the few soft drink brands you'd buy souvenirs and wear t-shirts with its logo on it. I got a cool Japanese Coke cap and some special edition bottles for my dad, a lifelong Coke drinker.
The highlight of our visit was the a visit to the Coca-Cola HQ and the Archives. We got to see the restored office of their most famous CEO, the late Robert Woodruff and the offices of their HQ.
In the Archives, Ted Ryan, who manages the Archives showed us his extensive collection. Ted also blogs at Coca-Cola Conversations, their official blog.
Let me just say that the Archives had EVERYTHING. Coke art dating back to the 1930s, old Fanta bottles I grew up with (anyone remember the Green Fanta drink in the ribbed bottles?) and even a special drink fountain and can of Coca-cola that went to space in the space shuttles.
There was a small media circus when the Expedition 206 team officially made their arrival to the final destination of their year-long trip, The World of Coca-Cola itself. I had the opportunity to catch up with Tony, Kelly and Antonio over dinner and Tony regaled us with his tales of their travels.
Tony, I hope you've recovered from jumping into the cold waters of that waterfall and the sometimes dodgy plane rides on domestic airlines that shall not be named, dude.
They also remembered the warm hospitality of the polytechnic students when they stopped over in Singapore.
To travel to more countries in one year than most people have been to in a lifetime, that is really something. I am not sure if I would have the same kind of energy as these three young people.