David and I spent last weekend in Atlanta visiting friends. They took us to the Botanic Gardens, the Symphony, to a baseball game. It was all lovely and entertaining, the weather perfectly warm and sunny. But the best thing was our visit to the World of Coca-Cola: a museum-like site filled with the history of the drink, the graphic art created around the world to promote the drink, a bottling line, and a tasting room. There were posters galore from all over, a visit to the vault where the secret formula was promised but never delivered, and, of course, the ubiquitous gift shop.
I loved it! You see - when I was 4 years old in Buenos Aires I contracted polio. After surgery to remove a tumor on my right leg and a brief stay at the Hospital de Ninos, I spent one day a week for months and months going to the hospital for rehabilitation treatments that included electric shocks and high heat. After every weekly visit my mother and I would walk back to the bus stop to return home but first we would stop at the Coca-Cola bottling plant and watch through large glass windows how the small glass bottles of Coca-Cola get filled and capped in an automated line. I loved watching the tiny red caps come down on each bottle as it moved down the line. It was my reward for having endured pain, for having to learn to use my leg again. After that, we would go to a lecheria to drink chocolate milk and eat churros or media lunas. This routine lasted about a year. Eventually I walked as well as I ever would.
The World of Coca-Cola brought back those days, even more so because on display there is a yellow truck brought to Atlanta from Buenos Aires: a delivery truck used in the old days to deliver bottles to grocery stores and cafes. There are also several posters and other advertising materials from Argentina and a few TV commercials. I guess we are big fans of Coca-Cola down under. At least I am. But I must clarify that the Coke produced in Argentina (and in most other countries outside the USA) is made with sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup. I missed the taste of Coke made with sugar and always knew that it was not the same here until recently, when I discovered the difference in ingredients. I've read that soon Coke will be manufactured with sugar in the USA too. About time! I say. It tastes so much better.
If you're ever in Atlanta don't miss the World of Coca-Cola.
(No fee was paid for this post.)