I finally got to Atlanta roughly 3 hours pass the time I planned and very much like when I arrived in denver by bus, it only took a few seconds for me to realize navigating would be difficult and even finding the sun through all the buildings would be a challenge.
I walked a bit and went to 2 restaurants hoping for internet and of course couldn’t find it. I asked a few people and the best answers were the 2 places I went and that the other places are closed on the weekend.
I came to a halt looking around and for a second was disturbed by the idea of cities. I tried looking for the sun again and only a few seconds later a big white guy with a lot of tattoos walked up behind me saying “
You ain’t from here bro you can’t do that. You gone get robbed come with me”. Hearing that and being lead away seemed like the craziest irony of being mugged or whatever but I decided to walk with the guy only with expectancy that fate would throw me in a new scenario other than being lost.
Wasn’t long till he properly introduced his self and told me how he took a bus one day with the dream to cut hair in Atlanta. He said he got off a bus lost and confused and in only a few steps of walking had to fight off three guys trying to take his things. Eventually he met some people and made some connections and wounded up in a small apartment cutting hair. He was leading me to a shelter where one of the guys who helped him worked.
There was a huge gated building with a lot of older black guys wandering around.
After being asked if I was on the run, did any drugs, or had any felonies, I was invited in where they immediately began setting me up as one of the members in their program. As far as I saw it was a shelter for men who actually looked pretty happy.
I had to catch myself after being given a room number to say I was simply looking for where I was and needed internet. They took me to a cafeteria where I was able to finally contact people online and eat.
After arranging all I needed I headed out saying I was leaving that day. I was stopped and warned I couldn’t return in 7 days. After saying ok the crew seemed surprised and began asking where and what I was doing.
I only said enough for them to run off telling everyone I did some major feat. They told the head guy in the building who invited me in. A well dressed older black man with a serious expression and almost careless of the commotion.
He looked up and asked where I’m going.
I said Peru eventually.
He laughed saying when he was younger he went along a trail the goes South to North of the Eastern US. He spoke a bit more then wished me good luck leading me out.
When I got ready to leave the gate he came up and asked why are you doing this?
I laughed and said “I think I’m bored, but either way there is a lot more I want from life I wouldn’t get from home. I like new things and figuring things out”.
Wasn’t long before night and realizing how difficult it was to find or catch any buses or trains to anywhere. I asked a lot of people a lot of things and the most helpful was a correction on how I pronounced my destination (Smir-Noff).
The later it got the more hostile people got.
Eventually I’d ask young black guys who would either not respond or feel as if I was readying to fight them. Older white couples would either laugh or tell me I’m doing something wrong while walking off. I even asked a cop who wrote someone a ticket and they claimed to have called a taxi to come for me after I asked, of course it never came.
The idea of cities really seemed like a bad thing to me then. I lost my sense of direction from the few directions I got that led me here and there. Looking for a bus one minute and a train another going North of this street and East on this street, it was frustrating.
I actually got a desperate and just outright asked people to call a taxi or the police for me. I was stunned that asking that made people leave even quicker.
I thought about walking several times, but knew it’d be a bad idea knowing I’d been up early with little sleep, only had a little water in 2 days, and had no way of finding an apartment late at night without a reliable map. The layout of the city was confusing alone.
Finally I saw two older women talking and I approached slowly trying to make myself visible and kept a good distance. When I caught their attention I said all I could in the most reasonable manner asking if the could call a taxi, police, or new where I could get help. They thought a second but ran off saying they didn’t know.
I probably didn’t make the best choice after but I saw them leave to a hotel and decide to either ask again or ask the hotel. I walked in. The two older women were talking to a security guard, likely about me. I walked closer and explained myself again. The security guard quickly changed her approach offering to help and called a taxi for me.
The taxi ride was pretty sketchy, an older Indian guy who had a hard time communicating with me as well as the directions I was giving because of his gps.
I saw the moment I got in he started charging even before I was sure where I was going and if he could take me. We also stopped 2 times with him claiming he wasn’t sure where I was going. I counted, not for money’s sake but to see how much someone could loose in a taxi unknowingly. I’d say about $10 wasted.
When we finally arrived to the apartment he rode past my turn 2x and tried a 3rd until I yelled for him to stop. Even then after giving him the address long before our first stop, he managed to take me to far into the complex and after getting out he waited saying I may need help getting there.
He didn’t look like it but the guy knew what he was doing to get money. I’m the type to tip someone for helping after something like that, $40 was well worth it’s own tip.
A cousin of mine came out and found me then led me to his house. A brief introduction and explanation and I wound up in a room slowly falling asleep on the floor.
I thought to myself, I make it to a big city I wanted to see, am surrounded by tons of people, even road a bus, what a terribly long day it’s been.