My stay in Atlanta | #safetyb4schedule | My extended stay in Dallas | My love affair with the Reuben Sandwich

CDC entrance 1600 Clifton Road with Dead Duck Dilbert (3D)

An amazing place. #deadduckdilbert agrees

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There’s not much around the CDC campus. There are some newly built shops with restaurants but really nothing in terms of stuff to buy if you’re visiting and want to share gifts with friends. There’s also not much to see or do after hours unless you’re willing to catch a cab into town. Given I write a daily report of my meeting participation at the end of each work day (even if I go to dinner) that wasn’t an option. So Dead Duck Dilbert will basically only be seeing CDC and the hotel 🙂

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A close up of 3D

#deadduckdilbert at the CDC

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Okay, not really a close up

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I’d like to note that in the last twelve months I’ve been fortunate to fulfil two dreams I never in my wildest dreams thought possible. It’s a result of having a great job and very good bosses who drive the work with vision and insight. As a clinical microbiologist, and as someone who built my own microbiology laboratory in my parent’s rumpus room when I was at high school, there are two outstanding institutions in the USA for anyone with an interest in clinical microbiology, infectious diseases and public health. Last year I was able to visit both the old and the newly constructed site of the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases. Words cannot describe the awesomeness of that visit. The second iconic place for me is CDC. With a few years under belt now as a health emergency manager I also got to see the CDC nerve centre, their Emergency Operations Center (EOC). I’m a happy boy.

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The front sign of the Emory Conference Center Hotel

Where I'm staying

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This is a really good hotel. There is free wifi throughout the complex (although it’s a little patchy in the main restaurant making Instagram posting of breakfast a little tedious) and the staff are really really friendly. It may just be Dallas and Atlanta but when I’ve visited other US cities like Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago I have to fake an American accent to be understood. The people of Albuquerque (previous visit in 2009), Dallas and Atlanta seem to understand my Australian accent (strine). The bathroom in my hotel room was great. The water heated up in the shower quickly and I don’t know what it was but the tap water was some of the best tap water I’ve ever tasted. I’d bottle it and drink it every day if I could. The hotel was set in lovely grounds well away from the main road so it was quiet. The bed was also very comfortable.

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It’s still daylight in the early evening in Atlanta.

#deadduckdilbert with the laboratory smoke stack in the background #CDC

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3D on the perimeter fence of CDC with laboratory smoke stacks in the background

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3D and Bermuda Ginger beer at The General Muir

It's #dinner time #deadduckdilbert

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In previous posts I’ve extolled the virtues of my favourite ginger beer, viz., Bundaberg Ginger beer. It’s partly because it tastes the best IMO and also because Bundaberg is such a special place for my family. I always try to support Bundaberg, it’s sugar cane and anything else to do with the town. This Bermudan ginger beer was good. Not quite as good a flavour as Bundy ginger beer though.

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My Reuben sandwich

So The General Muir is a deli style cafe/restaurant at Emory Point in Atlanta. I saw on the menu it had a Reuben sandwich. I’ve watched many American television food programs on television discuss the Reuben. I’ve heard on television situation comedies the Reuben being described. I had to try one (or possibly two). They have an Instagram account  and a Facebook page plus a twitter account 

An IG friend told me it is more Russian than American. I’ll take his word for it. All I know it’s one damn fine sarny.

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Reuben goodness

I still have this sandwich on my mind #yummy #dinner Reuben sandwich

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This was amazing. I loved it. I wanted more. Dare I use the awful term mouthgasm??? It really was like an explosion of joy and happiness and ecstasy in my mouth as I chewed tongued and masticated my way through this delightful sandwich.

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The weather is like Canberra at the moment yet I’m in the Northern hemisphere

Going for a walk #insomnia #jetlag Good morning

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Yes, with all the eating I did try to exercise. I wasn’t that successful. I only got out twice.

I went on this walk on Tuesday afternoon. There were some nice hills. http://runkeeper.com/user/garydlum/activity/158711927

I went out again early Wednesday morning because you know, I’m a member of #teaminsomnia http://runkeeper.com/user/garydlum/activity/158868445

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I walked past The General Muir to take a picture

Just posting so I can use it in my blog

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3D and the Emory Conference Center Hotel sign early in the morning.

#deadduckdilbert went on an early walk in #Atlanta #igersatlanta

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Grits. My experience of buttery goodness.

Okay so this is grits. #breakfast It's an interesting texture #gritty Nice taste. I prefer rolled oats.

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Okay so this is the first time I have tried grits. I know it’s ground corn and I know it’s a staple of the south. The taste was good. It was like butter. It was very gritty though and I don’t think I’d have it every morning. I know I prefer rolled oats.

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My waffle

#breakfast waffle with bacon and maple syrup. My mouth no longer has the gritty grits in it.

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To remove the grittiness from my mouth I also got a waffle with bacon, pork sausage, berries, nuts and maple syrup. I LOVE North American breakfasts.

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Grits versus a waffle

A side by side comparison. What would you prefer? Grits or a waffle? #breakfast #atlanta

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I asked twitter http://twitter.com/garydlum and instagram for opinions. The waffle won 🙂

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Lunch time Reuben

#lunch I found another Reuben. It was no where near as good as last night's from The General Muir

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We had our Wednesday meeting at another CDC site and we got a takeaway deli order. I tried another Reuben. This was about an order of magnitude difference between this and The General Muir Reuben. I did not like this version of the sandwich.

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CDC EOC

WA. Here at the EOC.

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On Wednesday afternoon we visited the CDC EOC. Happy time ×10 🙂

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On Wednesday evening we enjoyed a no host (meaning we pay for ourselves, this is important for most national government departments, it’s important not to be seen or perceived to be seen to inappropriately act by providing a free dinner or lunch). We went to the Bonefish Grill at Emory Point.

Entrée at the Bonefish Grill

#dinner Atlantic sea scallops wrapped in bacon with a mango salsa

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The lighting was really poor. This actually looks better when I rotate the image 180°. Atlantic sea scallops wrapped in bacon (Oh I love American bacon) with a mango salsa. It looks good even though the scallops were overcooked and rubbery. The mango salsa was delightful.

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Main dish

#dinner Sirloin steak with Maryland crab cake and potato au gratin

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Sirloin steak, Maryland crab cake and potatoes au gratin. I was up to my third scallop on my entrée when my main meal came out. I had to quickly rearrange my plates and finish my entrée quickly so my steak and crab cake didn’t get cold. I asked for the steak to be rare. It was medium with a hint of pink. I would never send a meal back because I’ve heard too many stories of upset chefs doing things to food that’s been sent back.

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I decided against dessert and pondered the meal (compilation)

Last night's #dinner

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Thursday breakfast

#breakfast omelette with bacon berries and a nice pork sausage. #yummy

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I thought about a stack of pancakes but I don’t think I could have done it. I elected for a spinach, mushroom, tomato and cheese omelet with bacon, sausage, walnuts, berries and some maple syrup.

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We had a no host lunch at La Tagliatella on Clifton Road opposite CDC

#lunch Roast duck and black truffle risotto

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This is a Roast duck and black truffle risotto. I couldn’t identify any duck. The black bits are the truffle. It was very salty.

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At the Atlanta Admirals Club after my flight to DFW was cancelled. Now on AA843.

On the way home. AA843. My original flight was cancelled. #deadduckdilbert

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Yep another flight cancelled. That’s two for two for American Airlines. http://www.aa.com

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My meal on AA843. I was craving greens after nearly 48 hours. I ate the salad and left the chicken.

#dinner on AA843. I've been craving greens. I ate the salad and left the chicken.

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The chicken breast looked and felt really rubbery. I tried to cut it but the knife wouldn’t make a mark.

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The cheesecake on AA843 was no where near as nice as Bron’s

#dessert on AA843. Cheesecake not as good as Bron's.

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Sitting in the Qantas Club at DFW with 3D drinking ginger ale. Yes I like ginger. I also know that one of my favourite blogging friends Judy from http://petit4chocolatier.wordpress.com/ also likes it.

Ready to get on to QF14 for Brisbane.

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And a shout out to Hilah from @hilahcooking She’s one of the coolest Texans I know. I bought this book so I know more about Texas.

Hey @hilahcooking I saw this and thought of you

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If you like blogs and food videos on YouTube please visit her site at http://hilahcooking.com/ I only discovered a little while ago that she spent three months in Melbourne and knows about Aussie love for chicken schnitty.

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This is the calm scene at Gate D14 at DFW at 2100 CDT on Thursday night.

Nearly ready to get on QF8.

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Little did we know what was to come

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I was sitting in seat 1B and I sat there for close to five hours while we taxied out and in and out and in and out and in again.

My view on QF8 DFW to BNE 😃😃😃✈✈✈

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The cabin lighting gives the bulkhead a pink hue. That’s my breakfast card. It never got used 😦

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Shortly after boarding all the passengers and with the doors closed we taxied out and then spent an awfully long time on the tarmac. The Captain made an announcement saying there was a problem with the engine deicing system. They needed to get the engineers to look at it. We’d taxi back to the aerobridge but not dock. We’d stay in our seats while the engineers ran a range of diagnostic tests and hopefully fix the problem. After more time the Captain said the problem had been resolved and we taxied out. The regulations state that we needed to watch and listen to the in-flight safety brief again. The flight attendants were very good about it. Out on the tarmac we sat again, we assumed the crew were running through checks. After another lengthy period, the Captain announced an associated problem had emerged and we’d be going back to the terminal but not docking. He said if he let one passenger off he’d have to make us all get off and then go through security again. He then explained the engineers would try to bypass the deicing circuits and I couldn’t quite hear the rationale but no one seemed concerned. We taxied back out and again sat on the tarmac for what seemed like more than 30 minutes. By now it as around Friday 0300 CDT. The Captain came on the public address system and apologised that the system was still indicating a problem. They had run out of crew time and would need to park the aircraft in a hanger and have the system examined thoroughly. After the second trip out onto the tarmac we’d been told that because of tight crew times instead of landing in Brisbane we would land in Auckland and another crew would take us to Brisbane. By that stage I knew I would have missed my connection from Brisbane to Canberra. I had a date with Bron and basically I knew that wasn’t going to happen 😦 The Captain made a final point that with Qantas it’s all about safety before schedule hence the twitter hash tag I started #safetyb4schedule

As we docked with the aerobridge we got off and were assigned local hotels. I scored the Marriott DFW. It was about 0415 CDT when I got into my room. I called Bron, had a shower and fell asleep not knowing what was going to happen. At about 0820 CDT I woke with a panic. I walked to the door and noticed a page of paper. Without my glasses I thought it said catch the shuttle at 0950 CDT. I went to the bathroom and splashed cold water on my face and woke myself up. I reread the letter and it said be ready for the shuttle @5pm. I couldn’t go back to sleep despite feeling tired.

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So what to do. I went to the reception desk and asked if there’s anything to do locally and they said it’s an industrial area and I’d need to catch a cab into Dallas to do anything. I’m sorry if I sound like a tight arse but I’m not going to waste money on long cab rides to walk around when I’m dog tired. I knew I could do some work and I was told there was free wifi in the hotel lobby. [This is where I am now]. We’d be given two meals and we could use our rooms.

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I can’t remember when we were given this block of chocolate. All I know is we weren’t provided with any toiletries or anything like a T-shirt to sleep in. When I’ve been on cancelled flights with Qantas before they’ve arranged this. At the hotel they gave us a toothbrush and toothpaste. I couldn’t access my checked-in bag for toiletries and fresh clothes (not that I had any) because they remained on the aircraft.

A chocolate bar after 5 hours on the tarmac QF8 is not enough to make me feel better.

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The chocolate was okay. I can’t remember eating it I’m so tired.

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So I went to the hotel restaurant for brunch (it was about 1030 CDT by the time I woke up enough to do anything.

#brunch Eggs Benedict. Thanks Marriott #safetyb4schedule

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There were all sorts of things on the menu. The first thing I saw was the Eggs Benedict. My server who could see how tired I was gave me a jug of coffee and said the Eggs Benedict are good. I asked if they served them with s soft runny yolk and he said yes. What I didn’t realise was it would come with a giant potato cake. [For friends from Victoria this is what I call a potato cake. What you call a potato cake is a potato scallop (Queenslander)]. The eggs were cooked nicely although the yolk was very very pale. I assume it wasn’t free range and not fresh. It tasted good though.

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Making a wish

I don’t know what the whole 11:11 is about but I see it enough times on Instagram to know that some people make a which when it’s 11:11 I wished for my same seat tonight and a safe journey.

It's 11:11 in Dallas. I wish for my seat to be the same and a safe trip home 😃

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Yes I have a lot of camera apps. Do I use all of them? No. I really like ProCamera.

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Free wifi in the hotel lobby

Spending the day with #deadduckdilbert #safetyb4schedule

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I took up the offer of free wifi in the lobby and here I am doing some work and blogging and reading blogs and trying not to think of my tiredness headache.

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Hotel in situ starbucks

I really don’t want to offend my North American friends. You need to visit Australia and try our coffee in a good coffee shop. Ask for a long black or a flat white or a latte or even a cappuccino. I’m pretty sure you’ll notice the difference.

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I’ll finish the journey blog in the next couple of days. I’m really hoping our flight leaves tonight. The plan is that QF7008 (the new designation for our flight) will depart at about 2200 CDT and I’ll get a new flight from Brisbane to Canberra on Sunday. I’ll get into Canberra just before lunch. In time to buy groceries and do lots of washing. Hopefully dinner with Bron and then hopefully sleep before work on Monday. Fingers crossed 🙂

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The General Muir http://www.thegeneralmuir.com/
Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/EYkCP

Marriott DFW http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/dfwap-dallas-fort-worth-airport-marriott/

Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/zQQkI

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27 thoughts on “My stay in Atlanta | #safetyb4schedule | My extended stay in Dallas | My love affair with the Reuben Sandwich

  1. Pingback: My holiday inspired sandwich | watch out Reuben | Yummy Lummy

  2. Pingback: My take on corned beef | Avoiding the canned stuff | Yummy Lummy

    • Thanks Tara. I’m in love with the Reuben. Dead Duck Dilbert certainly saw some things the average duck or travel gnome doesn’t see 🙂

  3. Pingback: How my journey to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention ended | Three out of six flights cancelled | American Airlines | Qantas | Yummy Lummy

  4. Gary, what a journey! The Reuben looks incredible and is on my list of foods that I haven’t eaten in awhile. Maybe today!! Bonefish Grill is one of my favorite restaurants locally! Your pictures are superb. I hope you and Bron have a great week!

  5. Oh, Gary! What an amazing culinary adventure. Now you have me craving Reubens! Sorry to hear about the flying (and lack thereof) misadventures. I hope the rest of the trip is smooth. *Hugs*.

    • Thanks Katie. All in all it was a good trip and a bit of an adventure from a food and cancelled flight perspective. It’s good to be back in Australia. Just one more leg to go 🙂

  6. Great post! What an amazing experience! I’m still getting over the bacon and sausage on the waffle! I’m not sure if I could eat that!

  7. Traveling isn’t fun anymore…especially when you have to stay in a business hotel away from a city center. I hope that you are safely home soon.

    • I’m sure Dallas is a nice place I’m just too tired to venture out and explore. I’d rather do some work and blog about it (ranty ranty lol )

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