Baltimore

I meant to write this three weeks ago, then life happened. A month long trip, with all its ups and downs, passed in the blink of an eye, and I’m back in Europe for the first time since August 2016. The rest of the week will pass in a whirlwind of celebration and story-telling, with the odd moment of peace and relaxation.

For now, I plan to use jet lag (or the disorienting lack thereof) to get some writing done. I’m going to do some stylistic experimentation because, easy as it is to navigate, the format I’ve been using so far bores me. I don’t feel like it reflects who I am and for something that looks like a guide, it isn’t helpful.

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Broken Feet

I was limping by the time I arrived in Baltimore. All I had brought with me in terms of footwear was a pair of New Balance shoes I’d been walking around in most days for the better part of a year, so my feet were killing me. In spite of my parents insisting on it, I didn’t buy new shoes until the last week of the trip. Conclusion? I’m an idiot and it’ll take my feet longer than necessary because of it.

The borderline injury brought about by ridiculous overuse meant that I spent the entire day with my Baltimore couch surfing hosts. It was one of the best days I had as a couch surfer over the course of the month I was on the road. The hosts cooked up a delicious brunch and afterwards, we watched The Grinch together. Gravity kept screwing my feet over, but my spirits were definitely lifted.

Personal Space

I have a personal bubble. There are people that I allow, even want, in that bubble, but there are also people I will consider framing for murder if they so much as look at it. Knowing that about myself, I decided to travel around Baltimore using the Charm City Circulators: a free bus network. Yes, it was packed. No, it didn’t make my blood boil. Even though the bus driver wouldn’t let me drink coffee.

Another lesson in personal space was brought to me by Jack the Cat, who liked to jump up on my bed in the morning and lie in the sun. I can’t say I blame him. I would’ve too, if it didn’t involve moving or risking a surprisingly aggressive and painful cat bite. The corner was a decent temperature too, under all the covers.

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Understandable Art

Translation: not modern art. Zana has a knack for interpreting modern art, whereas I tend to accept that I don’t understand the majority of what I’ve seen classified as such, even if it’s a piece or installation I like. Accepted defeat is an interesting lens to view art through. But the American Visionary Art Museum ($10 for students) featured understandable art, on the general topic of food. Yes, you read that right.

There was an entire exhibit where the art was made out of bread and, being the bread lover that I unapologetically am, I loved it. There were a few other exhibits on as well, none of which I’d be able to classify in broad terms, but the entire museum was amazing. Worth the $10 (I even thought so at the time, which was impressive, seeing as I jumped from having spent $0 on museum admission in D.C.)

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Spirit Dates

This might be obvious to the regular reader, but I like to visit cemeteries wherever I go. I find it peaceful to walk among the graves and wonder what kind of lives their occupants lived. Needless to say, I went to one in Baltimore. In fact, I went to both a cemetery and a graveyard (and yes, I just looked up the difference).

Green Mount Cemetery is the home of Elijah Bond’s grave. I don’t know much about Elijah Bond other than the fact that he patented the Ouija board and therefore has a Ouija board as his headstone. I thought that was an interesting way to ensure that a cemetery becomes haunted. The place must be teeming with restless souls.

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Caffeine Crawl

I went to two coffee shops while I was in town: Carma’s Café and Bird in Hand, both of which were in Charles Village. I’m a far cry from a connoisseur, but my taste buds told me the coffee was good. The serving sizes were significantly smaller at Bird in Hand, so I assume (possibly incorrectly) that their beans were better.

Don’t ask me what I mean by better. Pretend I’ve written something intelligent about bean quality and origin, or something insightful about the intricacies of the brewing process. As far as I’m concerned, you press a button, the machine goes bleep bloop and out comes coffee. I know a particular barista who’ll read this and either just text me basically or give me the schooling of a lifetime.

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I might as well be honest here and state that if it hadn’t been for Hairspray, I wouldn’t have known Baltimore existed. That being said, I didn’t seek out any filming locations. I didn’t do anywhere near as much as I did in D.C., which was definitely for the best. Baltimore was where I learned to slow down and enjoy a few things to the fullest rather than pack my schedule with too much exploring to process.

The city set the pace for the rest of the trip. If I’d kept planning 12-hour days like I did in D.C., I’m not sure I would’ve made it back to Europe.

– Cat

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