Aug 15 2017

The US adventure(part 5): the Baltimore wetland

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 4:57

The last entry ended with me leaving Washington in a hurry towards Baltimore. I arrived in Baltimore at 9 in the morning. I found a parking lot close to the hotel and proceeded to leave my car there until 9:00PM – 18$.
I left my bags at the hotel and proceeded to visit the city. The hotel was creepy. All three stars hotels here were creepy to me, because three stars in Europe means something else. But I got used to them. Sometimes they seem dirty, but if the towels and the sheets are clean, add in free WiFi and I’m ok. The most common search criterion I used on Google in this vacation is: “what to do in [town]”. For Baltimore there were quite a few options, but there seemed to be one itsy-bitsy-tiny-winy problem: the rain.

But that was not going to stop me. I had my white raincoat with me, the same immaculate one that was made fun of at Wacken. When it wasn’t raining, I put the jacket in the backpack, but because there were other things in it, the jacket was actually just placed horizontally and fixed with the backpack cap. This was leaving the sides of the jacket out, and more than one person, smiled at me and told me the jacket looked like angel wings.

This is a thing that creeped me out in US at first. People talk to you a lot, waiters ask you about your day, people that just have a hotel room next to you, salute you and ask you about your day. People compliment you on the street, because they like your hat, or hair, or dress. I’m not used to strangers communicating so much, but let me know it is really easy to get used to. First I did not like engaging in conversation too much, especially those providing a service too me, because they are clearly doing it for the tip. But you know what, it’s better this way, because some stranger being rude to you for its own personal issues can ruin your day. So yeah, I guess I’m ok with paying people to be nice to me after all. :)))

Back to Baltimore, the first stop was Edgar Allan Poe’s grave and house. While analysing his grave I noticed that his wife Virginia was born on the 15th of August, 195 years ago. The road from the hotel to Edgar Allan Poe’s house was mostly the W. Lombard street and this street might go through a black neighbourhood. I do not think myself to be a racist, but this neighbourhood looked like the bad black neighbourhoods I’ve seen in CSI and other cops movies. It was dirty, it was full o black people staring at me from their windows, and at some point a car with loud Rap music parked near me and I was honestly expecting something weird to happen. Fortunately, movies are one thing, reality is another. All went fine, I got to Edgar Allan Poe’s only to discover it was closed. Well, Google said that actually, but I was just so enchanted to see the house where one of my favourite poets lived, that I did not scroll down for more details.

At this point I was already wet and hungry, but before taking cover, I wanted to go to Federal Hill Park, because this was a good observation point for taking pictures of the whole city. So, more walking in the rain. Honestly now, the rain did not bother me that much, because it was warm, but it was a little tricky to use my phone and take pictures because of that. While I was on top of the Federal Hill Park, I saw building of the “American Visionary Art Museum”. On the internet it said they had a restaurant, so two birds – one stone. I got in, bought a ticket and ran directly to the bathroom, hoping they have a drier. Being wet outside was not a problem, being wet inside is a problem in US as they keep all air conditioning machines on all the times and at cca. 18 degrees. So that is why I hoped for a drier, but nope. Not my lucky day. Ended up actually visiting the museum for more than two hours, and hoping that the rain might stop. But again, this was not my lucky day, so when I left the museum, it was still raining outside. As for the museum, it was interesting to say the least. It had creations of people that are not famous, prison inmates, people with schizophrenia and children. The creations are unexpected, and range from sculptures, to paintings, to arrangements made from grain or burned bread. In one of the buildings, there is a ball made of bras, with stories of women donating the bras and why. It’s a really interesting exhibition and it proves that Americans really know how to sell anything.

The museum restaurant was closed, so I had to find something else. I headed to the Baltimore Pier and found Hooters. Well, I knew Hooters from Frankfurt, so I knew what to expect when it comes to food, so I went in. Of course, the temperature inside was 5 degrees lower than outside. And no, these guys did not have a drier in the bathroom either. Unffa! But what they had, was a great hamburger, great sweet potato fries, a magnificent cheese-cake and crappy coffe. I just bought the coffee, because it was the only hot beverage they had.

After I got the sustenance I needed I went outside again, but before doing that I managed to find an H&M and bought some cheap t-shirts, to change the one I had on that was soaking wet. Being one of the “sacrifice” t-shirts from home, it ended directly in the trash after that.

The rain was lighter now, so I needed to get to cover before the next t-shirt got wet, I photographed some boats and some parts of the pier fast and then went to visit the Aquarium. I did that in Munich, in 2010 and their aquarium was small, but I remember the hour spent in there very well. The Baltimore aquarium is amazing and on top of it they have a small tropical forest too. I got to see cacao flowers and fruits. I had no idea that basically the flowers and fruits grow directly on the body of the tree. I was mesmerised. As for the aquarium, I admired fish from all the world and frogs and tortoises and I wanted to smack the little kids hitting the windows of the aquariums. But overall the experience was great. I killed there about 3 hours probably.

After that I went back to the hotel, got my room, started un-packing things, took a shower and at 9:00 PM and had to go out to move the car to an over-night parking lot. Because the night was starting the more shady characters were out in the streets talking loud, drinking in the street. Apparently, although the hotel was located in a cool area from a turistic point of view, because you had quick access to a lot of important objectives, when it came to the quiet and security, hmm… not so much. But I moved the car, payed 20$ for the night parking and got back without any incident. So maybe it was all in my head, maybe I was just paranoid, because I was a woman, alone in a place that I did not know.

In the morning I left as soon as I could to New Castle, because two big cities one after the other was too much for me.

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