John Pemberton, inventor of The Real Thing
I don't care if it rots your teeth, has more sugar in one can than all of Cuba and gets you hopped up like a gerbil on a wheel, I love Coca-Cola. When I was a kid, those old Coke vending machines where you yanked out a frosty cold glass bottle and popped the top off with the built-in bottle opener were great. The first gulp always made you cry a little and would be followed by a satisfying "ahhhhhhhh" from your slightly burned throat. Atlanta is the hometown of Coke and they've got a really cool museum there called the World of Coca-Cola, right in the heart of downtown. There are historic exhibits, 3D movies, original Coke-inspired artwork, and a TV commercial viewing room. But the coolest room they have is called "Taste It." Coke makes many different flavored beverages that are sold in other parts of the world and here you get a chance to sample sixty of them, arranged geographically in five tasting stations. Some are fruity, some are earthy, some are God-awful. After sampling way, way too many flavors, my favorite was Inca Kola from Peru which offers a nice, fruity splash. Only the bravest pop aficionados should sample Beverly, however, an aperitif from Italy, which has a taste reminiscent of puke. There's also a great store with many fun, retro-designed Coke items. Yes, you do pay good money for the privilege of promoting a product that already permeates every corner of the earth, but why not? Coke adds life, it's the real thing, you can't beat the feeling, it's red, white and you, things go better, it's always Coca-Cola, and it's the pause that refreshes. Enjoy.