And let me guess, you're the greatest park bench in Baltimore.
Baltimore... what a frustrating trip! A friend told me before I went that I would go, and then I'd be mad at myself, because I didn't have enough time to do everything. And that's pretty much exactly what happened. I'm disappointed that my airline will stop flying there next week, because it is almost the perfect day trip (the flight was only an hour and a half!), and I left far too much undone and unseen. Trinity's review: "This is the best place we ever took a vacation to." Trinity may be only seven, but she's been to a lot of places, and she's never made that claim before, ever. We stayed overnight, which was somewhat disappointing since 1.) the hotel was crappy, 2.) the hotel cost money, but also okay because I spent my extra time wandering around Camden Yards.
We were staying at the Holiday Inn BWI which I will not describe in this blog because I intend on writing it an horrific review at a later time. When we arrived we quickly changed from our non-rev clothes (my airline has a dress code for stand by passengers) into jeans and flip flops and ran back downstairs to the shuttle to the light rail stop. Thankfully I had read somewhere that the light rail ticket machines were cash only, so I pulled out the only cash I had to buy our tickets. On any other occasion I would not have been carrying cash, and I would have taken my chances with playing the ignorant tourist role should I actually encounter a ticket checker on the train. And my luck worked out, because I did later on that evening. We sat in front of a guy who talked loudly to the person on the other side, and said "whatever whatever" at the end of every sentence.
When the train arrived at my stop, I couldn't get off of it! I pressed the button to request my stop, the sign was illuminated, the train was stopped, yet the door never opened, and I tried about five different ways to get it to do so. I thought I was just an idiot, but at night I saw two kids who were clearly locals having the same problems trying to get off the train at a specific stop unsuccessfully. I got off at the next one instead, and this time the doors opened automatically, which confuses me...someone is obviously controlling the doors. I don't get it! It was fine after that, though. It was a short walk to the Inner Harbor, and I found a bench which said "Baltimore, The Greatest City in America" on it.
I gave Trinity the choice of the Maryland Science Center or the National Aquarium, and she chose the museum (although she did add that we can go to the Aquarium tomorrow/next time).
This was a great choice since the museum is a member of the ATSC (Association of Science-Technology Centers), which allows members of any of it's museums and centers free admission to any other facility on the list. I strongly recommend buying a membership to your local science center for this reason. It's a great perk, and you can support science and education at the same time (tax deductible probably...but who knows, I don't make nearly enough money to claim that type of thing!). We admired the Harbor and snapped pictures as we made our way to the MSC. It reminded us both a lot of Boston, which made us feel sad... this is the first summer of Trinity's life that we have not gone there. We passed a Ben and Jerry's and figured we would get ice cream there later, until I saw the sign that said Cash Only.
I'm unsure why the submarine has teeth, isn't the point of a submarine that no one sees them?
You lose Ben and Jerry's, welcome to the 21st century! We were hungry, and so, we ate at the cafe which was part of/next to the museum. It was a fine meal of sandwiches and bland tasting potato chips called Crab Chips made by a company called Utz which seemed to be local, because I've never seen them anywhere before. I chose the Crab Chips because my dad was supposed to come with me on this trip, but couldn't because of other things that arose, and so, I wanted to take a picture of the package and tell him I bought chips in his honor.
The we headed to the Maryland Science Center! Trinity and I both enjoyed it a lot. Among our favorite exhibits was what seemed to be almost an entire dinosaur buried in what an employee told me was a mixture of wax and sand, that we could actually dig up.
My Father, the Potato Chip
For the twenty minutes I spent there, I was a paleontologist (but aren't we all, deep down?). There was also an exhibit of an actual tornado (on a smaller scale, obviously), and another of a cloud, which was loads of fun to play with and try and take pictures of. Most of the third floor was about the body. If my nephew had been with me, we would have spent a good amount of time in the farting/pooping/burping area. But with just Trinity and I, we moved on to this physical challenge that involved a small seesaw type board and some handlebars. When you removed your hands from the bars, a digital clock would begin timing how long you could balance on the board. I wish I had this thing in my home! It was as addicting as Tetris. The highest I got I think was only 7 seconds, and Trinity got almost the same.
Touching a cloud at the Maryland Science Center
I know we could both do better if we didn't have a million other things to do there. There was a wall where as you walk past, this obnoxious voice tells you come back so she can measure you. You stand in between two beams and the computer tells you how tall you are. I've seen this before in other museums, but I can't remember where. Anyway, it turns out I'm shrinking. According to this obnoxious lady, I'm only 5 feet 2 1/2 inches tall. But, I also took a "real age" test and I'm only 31, two years younger than my actual age, woo-hoo!
After we left the museum and wandered around behind it to a giant hill. I learned that this area is called Federal Hill, and oh, if I had time, how much I would love to walk around and see real things and not just tourist activities.
Inside a dinosaur footprint at the Maryland Science Center
A lady told me that this hill I climbed was where they watched the British come into port, but as far as I could see, now it's just an ordinary playground and dog park. It served it's purpose for me, to take lots of pictures of the harbor, without other things getting in my way. On the Harbor near the museum there were trapeze lessons which are open to the public, how exciting is that? We watched a girl try and fail numerous times to flip over. I felt sorry for her because I could never do that, but she had an audience watching her suck. I have an absolutely debilitating fear of... are you ready for this?... hanging upside down. I'm also afraid of squirrels, needles, the concept of infinity, and clowns, but none terrify me so much as even the idea of hanging upside down.
Baltimore believes in garbage
I would jump out of a million airplanes before I would attempt to hang from a trapeze. I seriously think I would faint if I somehow managed to get up there. But I gawked at the girl and probably made her feel uncomfortable anyway. We walked a good length along the Harbor, but then we realized that the Harbor was not quite like Boston after all. There did not appear to be an end in sight. We didn't wanted to miss any of the main tourist attractions since we only had one night there, so we turned back around.
We admired the USS Constellation and other things along the Harbor. I was getting hungry but Trinity kept saying no to every choice I offered her, and then we somehow ended up in Barnes and Noble of all places, eating bakery at Starbucks, which I admit is about the most boring thing ever.
Apparently, the police in Baltimore are clowns
But, the bookstore did have a fish tank inside, and a nice patio that overlooked the Aquarium and the Hard Rock Cafe, so it was good for people watching as we drank water and ate our snacks. I was amused because I was watching these two guys on the opposite side of the water taking pictures of each other, and it reminded me of some comedy where a photographer keeps saying "a little further back" to their subject, who eventually falls backwards into the body of water or swimming pool behind them. it was hilarious because they spend a good four minutes finding a perfect place on the Aquarium ticket window on which to place their camera and set the timer, and as soon as they did, out of nowhere comes this man pushing a giant garbage cart. I could actually see the camera flash and take a picture of the garbage, hahaha.
We then walked back and checked out the USS Torsk, mainly because it had the number 423 on the side, and 4-23 is Trinity's birthday. We walked past to take a couple pictures, and when we got back literally two minutes later, it had closed! I'd have liked to check out the inside of a submarine, but it wasn't terribly tragic. We were going to head back to the light rail stop, but I wanted to find a bathroom, and so we ended up at a small mall on the Harbor. We found a couple tourist shops inside, so Trinity got her snowglobe and I got my magnet, and we bought my parents a magnet that said "Leave me alone, I'm crabby!" Inside we also found an ice cream shop. If there's one must do thing we have in every city, it's ice cream! It was called Marble Slab Creamery, and the ice cream looked like gelato, but was real ice cream.
The sign called it "the freshest ice cream in the world". I love when places make that claim. I mean, I've made my own ice cream, surely that was fresher, because it was eaten immediately thereafter. But I digress! Trinity got strawberry and I got chocolate mint. Not mint chocolate, which would be green, but chocolate mint, which was brown... how exciting! Well, within seconds, Trinity decided that she hated hers and asked me to switch, which is fine, it's just ice cream and I enjoy strawberry as well. We sat outside on a pedestrian bridge connected to a mall and a hotel and ate our ice cream. Trinity offered her review of the ice cream: "I'm eating the freshest ice cream in the world... and it sucks."
I fully intended on going straight back to the hotel because I got mugged once five years ago and promised myself at that time that I would stop wandering around exploring things after dark.
Trinity and a tornado at the Maryland Science Center
But I wandered right into Camden Yards...what is a baseball fan to do? Not go running back to the hotel because it's dark out like some kind of sissy, that's for sure. I had no interest in the game which had already started, and thus, I didn't go to the game, I just walked around at looked at bricks and statues and whatnot. Camden Yards was the first "new" stadium built, and all the other updated ones kind of followed their lead. The Orioles are in last place, but Brooks Robinson played for them, so whatever. It was still a sexy baseball stadium, that had flowerbeds filled with orange flowers.
The next day we had to take an earlier flight, because the late one was filing up quickly, and I saw on the news that weather was coming. I liked BWI, it was a nice airport.
I didn't see any castmembers from that old show Airline though. I guess they probably got furloughed :P I love comparing airports to my own. In our airport, we have gate agents who literally freak out over the paging system while looking for their passengers (I'm not one, I try to sound indifferent, like the narrator from How It's Made). The gate agents in BWI sounded like this computer game Trinity has called Buzzy Bee Visits the Airport. The entire time we were there, they were paging a person named Adrianna Ortiz. I don't normally remember names I hear in airports, I can barely remember the names of my own passengers for longer than 30 seconds. But I remember Adrianna Ortiz because they literally paged her every 30 seconds for the entire ~90 minutes~ I was in this airport.
They paged her in Spanish and in English, again and again and again. Late that night, when we had been back in Milwaukee for several hours, Trinity was like "I wonder if they ever found Adrianna Ortiz?" Where in the WORLD is Adrianna Ortiz?! Because I know where she's NOT.