Betty's Delta plane touched down safely at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport late last night. She breathed in the balmy summer air and waited awhile for some slow moving rental car service - no culture shock for this one.
As she drove easily to her hotel (the highways are as important here as in L.A.), she saw many signs for chain stores, and many tall, creeping chain stores themselves. She then realized that her hotel is in the Perimeter Mall, overlooking a Barnes & Noble, a Bed Bath and Beyond, a Linens N Things, and a big pit of dirt where some more mall is being built.
Still, the misty air and the bold greens of the roadside kept her smitten. The accents are musical, whether from the U.S. or the global South. Many African and Latino immigrants make their homes here, and it just grows and grows. Atlanta is a city to be taken seriously.
She has just arrived at the big, big U.S. Social Forum (www.ussf2007.com) - an historic gathering of grassroots leaders and community activists from around the country. Her new hotel room overlooks the CNN Headquarters and somebody's stadium from the 63rd floor. As she pulled into the small but pleasing downtown (are those buildings old or just ornate? Hard to tell.) she saw gaggles of greasy-haired movement-builders trudging their bags and butts off their buses and into the hotel, where they are now camped and happy.
More to come!