We felt the need to wash down our unsavory lunch with Coke. Lots of Coke. So we headed to the Coke factory.
It was an interesting walk. We swung by Centennial Olympic Park, where half of Beijing seemed to turn out in support of the Olympics. Major rally, and almost a major fight between some crazy religious radical and about 5000 Chinese marchers.
We swung by the CNN headquarters, which, like much of Atlanta, was pockmarked with tornado damage. The convention center, major hotels, and assorted skyscrapers were missing windows, doors, and various ornamental architecture. The Westin looked like Frankenstein after a shaving accident.
The political activism got confusing. There was also a small faction protesting against the Olympics, and an even more sorry display of ragamuffins protesting on behalf of Darfur, outside the Coke Factory. Sadly, I'm sure few took note, as even the protesters themselves seemed to forget what they were doing there.
The Coke tour was surprisingly cool. It began with a little intro and then the making of their recent digitally animated Superbowl commercial, which was a funny and very Pixar-esque short film. After that, we split from the claustrophobia-inducing herd.
Inside the factory, you can see the machines that prep, blend, and bottle Coke. You can check out tons of advertisements and memorabilia, and take a kind of boring walk down Coke memory lane. You can also drink assloads of Coke from around the world. Which is awesome.
The tasting room has 48 different kinds of Coke products from 5 different continents. We tried them all.
Some taste like pineapple, others like cough syrup. Of particular note is Beverly, an italian soda. In my experience, Italians have some trustworthy and discerning taste buds. So I don't know what the hell is going on with Beverly.
On the spectrum of flavors, it falls somewhere between ear wax flavored cough syrup and bitter dandelion juice laced with nutrasweet. No one inside the tasting room can figure out how this stuff sells, and shrieks of pain are often heard emanating from the vicinity of the Beverly fountain.
Sorry to go on so long about Coke, but you get really hopped up on the stuff after trying 50 sodas in 15 minutes. And at the end, they even give you a free bottle!
COKE! COKE! COKE!