Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Atlanta and an ex President

From Daytona we travelled by bus to Orlando and then overnight on to Atlanta, Georgia.

Nic is generally in charge of booking our travel, and he had been especially pleased with himself for the Atlanta journey as it was free; not just the usual $1 for getting in quick on the megabus, but actually completely free for both of us.  And being an overnighter, we saved on accommodation too.   I think he was right to feel pleased.

We had a reasonably inexpensive hotel booked, that turned out to be very nice. Not least because although we arrived at around 8am, some seven hours early for checkin, they not only gave us a room straight away, but they also upgraded us and let us have breakfast there too.  This was great, because while overnight buses are great for the budget, they aren't quite so good for ones sleep.  So we had a couple of hours sleep before heading out to explore.

We were in quite a nice area for a few cafes and restaurants, so we tried a few of those during our stay, but we also checked out the nearby Jimmy Carter Presidential Center.

Now I can't say that I knew a great deal about Jimmy Carter other than he was president and he was involved in some peace negotiations.  And to be honest, I wasn't really sure that I was very interested in knowing any more than that.

But in fact I was glad we went.  It was really quite interesting, and I found a new respect for Mr Carter.  The son of a peanut farmer in Plains Georgia, James Earl Carter was born on 1 October 1924 and grew up with his white parents and black farm staff and their children.  His father, despite treating his workers well, was a supporter of the racial segregation of the time, whilst his mother favoured ending it.

Carter followed his mother's lead.  Having left his naval career to go back to help his family run the peanut farming business, he was drawn to leave that and go into politics when the governor at the time was seeking to retain segregation in schools.  And throughout his political career he worked to achieve better racial integration.

Whilst the symbol of his presidential campaign may have been the peanut, his promises were about bringing about change and being honest with the people.  Feelings are, of course mixed about whether this is something he achieved.

In his presidency, which was 1977-81, he made some improvement to the country's terrible economic position, brought in a national energy policy, worked towards environmental and human rights changes, including employing record numbers of women, black and Hispanic people to government posts.  But critics will say that most of these things had little effective impact.

He appeared to be a 'man of the people', the first to do walkabouts again following the increased security after the assassination of President Kennedy, and carrying his own bags.  But then it is said by some that he was ignorant to his staff and that the bag he carried was often empty, with the real weight being taken by others.
He did achieve a ratification of the Panama Canal Treaties and finalised a nuclear arms limitation treaty with the Soviet Union.  And he is probably best known for his work on resolving conflicts, in particular obtaining the Camp David peace agreement between Egypt and Israel. His work on negotiating peaceful resolutions is the one area that everyone seems to agree he did well.

And that work did not end with his presidency.  Together with his wife, he established the Carter Center, dedicated to preventing and resolving conflicts and improving health throughout the world.  The centre gives an excellent insight into their work.

Nobel Peace Prize
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for "his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development", and has received countless other accolades for his commitment and dedication to these aims.

So opinion about Carter seems to be very mixed. He may or may not have been a great president, but he and his wife certainly have devoted a huge part of their lives to improving the lives of others, and that surely has to be worthy of a bit of respect.

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