Monday, April 14, 2014

hello from baltimore

i'm writing from baltimore this evening.  this has been my first chance to sit down and think about the past few days.  yesterday we hopped in the van and hit the road for a 10 hour drive to baltimore.  we came with the intention of picking up a cooler load of crabs to bring back to the landlocked midwest.  this morning we hit the tourist district along the harbor.  blech.  we ate at some shitty place called miss shirley's.  it had great reviews, so we waited, but also watched what was being delivered to tables.  food products.  puke.  not only that, but there was a hair on my napkin and silverware.  and when i complained the manager said she would let her supplier know that she is disappointed.  my response was, maybe having a 'supplier' is your problem.  you can't launder and fold your own napkins and silverware?  ugh.  bad start.  then we walked over to the MARC train at camden yards hoping to catch a train to DC to see the cherry blossoms.  again, no dice.  the train we were trying to hop didn't leave until 3.  so that was out.  we could have made our way to penn station and got to DC, but it was way much time to spend getting there and back and not enough time there.  so we nixed the idea of DC.  oh well.

we were both disappointed and annoyed with baltimore.  so we got the hell out of tourist town and headed the neighborhoods where Open Walls Baltimore is.  we parked.  walked around aimlessly for a bit, and then ran into a guy doing a chalk drawing on the window of his corner shop.  he told us where to go find some of the murals, and that there was a free wall and a place called the graffiti warehouse.  

ok.  i'm interested now.  we wandered some more and found some more murals, and then in the 80° heat we needed something to drink, so we stopped in a cool little shop.  the owner was there.  it was a new place, only open for the past few months, but he chatted us up for a while about graf and street art. he gave us such a good vibe that it made us forget about our earlier shit experience in tourist town.  then we stopped in an art shop, picked up a few cans, and headed to the free wall/alley.  

i started by pasting my new crow print, then painted the cell phone guy.  some guy and his daughters came down to paint (and for the girls to practice their skills [they were probably around 10 +/-]).  that was one of the coolest things to see:  a place where you can freely interact and teach kids to paint, and give them access to space to actually paint.  i then went on to add a cat to the wall.  and when i was about finished and totally disappointed with what i had created, one of the managers of the space came up with some guy in a neck tie.  i chatted them up a bit, then added a neck tie to my cat.  that seemed to get break some walls down, and we chatted and laughed a bit.  everyone we met in the station north neighborhood was awesome.  down to earth.  good people.  for real.  

after that i was so excited about baltimore.  fuck all that tourist shit that people want to see.  we went to where the people live, and they invited us into their neighborhood and treated us like they wanted us there.  magic.

we headed back downtown to go to the orioles game.  o's v. tampa bay rays.  the ballpark at camden yards was so cool.  it is quite a small park, and we wandered all through it before the game.  we found our seats, i grabbed a beer, and we settled in.  the game was a blowout, as tampa pitcher chris archer, seemed to be serving up meatballs from the get go.  mindy was so happy to get to see former reds catcher ryan hanigan on the lineup card for the rays.  and i was too.  hanigan has been a favorite player of mindy's (and mine) since he came up with the reds a long while back.  but now he's with the rays, and we were lucky that he was starting today.  the o's won the game.  and we had such a great experience at camden yards.  now, i need some sleep.

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