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Internation-ATL Getaway

Tour Atlanta's international wonders

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So you wanna see the world. But your wallet isn't fat enough for actual international travel. We can turn you into a globe-trotter without having to endure those pesky U.S. Customs lines or malaria shots.

Explore the many international facets of Atlanta. Our city is a bountiful blend of cultures ranging from Spanish to Irish, Ethiopian to Australian, Japanese to Lebanese. Just follow our intown itinerary for worldly attractions. Savor some of Atlanta's international flavors, and leave your passport behind.

Let's face it, you don't know which drawer your passport is stuffed in, anyway.

Friday

9:30 a.m.: Begin your adventure with breakfast from Down Under. (No sissy American cornflakes for you, ha!) Put the good in your g'day at East Atlanta's Australian Bakery Café with an Aussie meatpie. Fill your rucksack with imported snacks (Cadbury sweets, ginger beer) for later on.

10:30 a.m.: Atlanta's international residents aren't limited to the human species. No siree, Zoo Atlanta has critters from many continents. Check out the Sumatran tigers or the red ruffled lemur from Madagascar. This summer, the city is on "Panda Watch 2005" to find out if Lun Lun, the panda from Chengdu, is actually pregnant. If so, she'll deliver in June or August. Fast fact: Lun Lun's favorite scents are cinnamon and mint. We are not making that up.

1:30 p.m.: After watching zoo animals chow down on raw red meat, it's time to feed the human. Head to Mezza: A Lebanese Bistro for a jallab (a refreshing raisin-based drink) or a luxurious glass of rose water. Falafel and lemony hummus make a light summertime lunch.

3-5 p.m.: Indulge in the Spanish tradition of an afternoon siesta. Giggle slightly as you doze off. Why? Everyone else is stuck in rush-hour traffic.

6 p.m.: Time to work off all those global calories you're ingesting. West End's Afrikan Djeli Cultural Center offers classes in African dance, drums, martial arts, language and crafts. Tonight, you're signed up for Adult Capoiera Angola (6-7:30 p.m.), a martial art/combat dance class where you can boogie to some brilliant drumming.

8 p.m.: After shaking your ass in class, it's time to eat with your hands. (OK, wash 'em first.) Explore Ethiopian fare at Queen of Sheba, where you can scoop up garlic lamb or spicy beef with Ethiopian flatbread (think spongy tortillas). The restaurant's dim lighting keeps you inconspicuous as you finger your food.

11 p.m.: Don yer fanciest dancing duds. Tonight is "International Night" at Club Europe's Platinum Room, and you're gonna dance till dawn. Be forewarned: The dress code is a bit Saville Row (no tennis shoes, T-shirts or baggy jeans). But admission is cheap: $5 for guys, free for ladies. DJs play a mix of techno, house, hip-hop, Latin and reggae, and the clientele is a cultural hodgepodge.

SATURDAY

10 a.m.: After that Friday night dance-a-thon, we're gonna eeeeease into the day. The Japanese Embroidery Center offers a class on decorative embroidery techniques, where you can learn how to stitch and enjoy the tranquility.

11:30 a.m.: Head to Mila European Spa for an expert facial (with European seaweed) or a Swedish-style massage. Oooohh baby, rub harder.

3 p.m.: Wanna cook your own international dinner? Go to the Buford Highway Farmer's Market, where foods are organized by nationality (Indian, American, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese/Indonesian, Latin American, etc.). There's everything from Korean ice cream to Jamaican ackees (the national fruit of Jamaica), champagne Ginseng-Up and the biggest oyster mushrooms we've ever seen.

10 p.m.: Grab a nightcap at James Joyce Irish Pub. The bartenders are as authentic as the Irish whiskey, and the patio is prime for Ulysses-style conversation. Warning: Do not try to drink Guinness-for-Guinness with the local Irish folk who frequent the bar. You will suffer.

SUNDAY

9 a.m.: You didn't listen, did you? Too many Guinness beers, and you need a big breakfast to balance it out. Go to the deceptively named Mozart Café and Bakery for Korean and Japanese delights like baby sweet bean rolls, sweet powder bean cakes, and fresh baked doughnuts.

10 a.m.: Tour Buford Highway, a unique medley of cultures ranging from Asian to Latino. A trek down Buford Highway is more educational than any high school "international relations" class you ever took.

Begin at Plaza Fiesta, which has everything you need to suit up in ranchero wear. Next stop: Atlanta Farmer's Market (formerly Hong Kong Supermarket), where you can buy pickled lotus, rice flour and live eels. Then stock up on foreign CDs and DVDs at the International Village Market.

1 p.m.: Lunch at El Rey Del Taco, where the guac is fresh and chunky, and even a vegetarian can find a fantastic mushroom burrito among dishes of authentic cow's cheek, pork stomach and beef brains.

6 p.m.: End with dinner at Pung Mie, a Chinese restaurant featuring authentic dishes like tender shredded jellyfish salad. The place is filled with Chinese Atlantans nightly, and it's reportedly a favorite of Atlanta author Ha Jin.

JUST THE FACTS

AFRIKAN DJELI CULTURAL ARTS CENTER 840 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. 404-753-8933. www.djeliculturalarts.com.

ATLANTA FARMER'S MARKET 4166 Buford Highway. 404-325-3999.

AUSTRALIAN BAKERY CAF 463 Flat Shoals Road. 404-653-0100. www.australianbakery.com.

BUFORD HIGHWAY FARMER'S MARKET 5600 Buford Highway. 770-455-0770.

CLUB EUROPE 4001 Presidential Parkway. 770-452-1240. www.clubeurope.net.

EL REY DEL TACO 5288 Buford Highway. 770-986-0032.

JAMES JOYCE IRISH PUB 22 N. Avondale Road. 404-296-5097.

MEZZA: A LEBANESE BISTRO 2751 LaVista Road. 404-633-8833. www.mezzabistro.com.

MILA EUROPEAN SPA 3167 Peachtree Road. 404-233-2588. www.milaeuropeanspa.com.

MOZART CAFE AND BAKERY 5301 Buford Highway. 770-936-8726.

PLAZA FIESTA 4166 Buford Highway. 404-982-9138.

PUNG MIE 5145 Buford Highway. 770-455-0435.

QUEEN OF SHEBA 1594 Woodcliff Drive. 404-321-1493.

THE JAPANESE EMBROIDERY CENTER 2727 Spalding Drive. 770-390-0617. www.japaneseembroidery.com.

ZOO ATLANTA 800 Cherokee Ave. 404-624-5600. www.zooatlanta.org.

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