Now watergate does not bother me. Does your conscience bother you? - 26 November 2006
In Georgia and Alabama, doing the usual: risking my life on a plane, taking part in a hunt, playing golf in a fashionable style and managing to lose in many english sports.
In Atlanta. How I almost died in an airplane crash
The same night, after another quick check in (this time at the Sheraton Hotel in Atlanta ), me and Guy were invited to Rob's house, somewhere in the suburbs, for a dinner with his wife, his friend and his dogs.
Rob's house is huge, at least by my standards. Getting lost is quite easy, but you can always sniff your way back with the dogs. If they don't kill you first. For some reasons his dobermans are quite relaxed, so nobody got hurt the whole evening.
Dinner was very good, and sitting at a big table with decent cutlery and without a television around is something that I haven't done in a long time. Rob mixed the drink and probably he tried to make me drunk to win at the darts contest.
He has a darts board. We were four men. And two of them were English. A tournament was the obvious conclusion. (Wife in the kitchen!)
I must admit that I have never been any good at sports without any kind of physical contact or endurance. Darts requires some kind of skills, that for some reason everyone seemed to have but me. After what it looked like hours of dart challenges I lost miserable every single time, and I would like to blame Rob's gin tonic(s), but unfortunately I'm used to stronger cocktails. Conclusion: I'm just crap at darts.
We went back to the hotel for a nice night of dreams to wake up the next morning for another intense day. Johnny collected us at the hotel to take us some sort of private airport.
We had a HUGE breakfast at some air force restaurant, with a choice of pretty much everything (from toasts to roast beef, from lemonade to pasta to sushi...), surrounded by Italian souvenirs from the WWI. 200gr of fat in our bodies later, we were on our way to the runway: Johnny has a private airplane, one of those very (very) light single-engine jets.
Since I've never flown in those things (and neither did Guy) we were both quite excited.
Johnny had his mentor (sorry, don't remember the name) as co-pilot (just in case...), and I was soon stuck inside the airplane. They may look big from the outside, but 4 of us could barely fit. My knee was locked in a position probably used for some Chinese torture.
The takeoff was smooth and after few minutes we were already enjoying an exclusive view of Atlanta from above. I was surprised to realize how green Atlanta is: bushes, trees and parks everywhere! It's clear that the skyscrapers have been built only around the few main roads connecting mid and downtown. Everything else was just residential properties.
We traveled in the northern area, to the Lanier Lake , a beautiful (at least from my point of view) manmade lake that, thanks to the crispy morning, looked even better. Then we enjoyed some view of Stone Mountain , a stone zit-like formation not far from the lake.
Only when Guy started to fill a bit queasy Johnny, after 50 minutes or so, decided to take us back. The landing was, well, less than great. He tried to avoid a bump on a runway intersection but he hit it quite hard. He regained control very fast, and to be honest it was quite fun. But on the video (which by the way I've uploaded and you can see just below) looks much worse!
After some work it was time to go back to the hotel and get ready for another dinner, this time at Craig's house, Johnny's friend.
I soon realized the leitmotif of the trip: get to a bigger house than the night before and eat more food. Craig's house was immense. With a swimming pool at the back, with a lake view. And a pool table.
Boys. Pool. And so we played.
Dinner was good and a nice surprise was the fridge full of English beers: that's a great way to welcome guests from Europe!
Snooker, unfortunately, was abysmal. I've never played properly before, and I lost to Guy (again) and to Rob and Craig. While the game was Guy had its moments, the one with Rob was just obscene. I even lost my 5$ is a high stake bet with Guy. Conclusion: I'm crap at snooker too.
We soon(ish) went back to the hotel because we had another heave day of work the following morning: meet the new people in the office, do some filming and travel to Alabama.
Everything went well, even if a homeless who looked like a dirty Santa Clause attacked me verbally (with a nice combination of cock and sucker and some other words) because I took a picture of him. Americans.