15 December 2012

Good Morning Baltimore!

Stepping off my Amtrak train I said "Good Morning Baltimore!" Would the charms of Hairspray translate through to modern life Baltimore? I wanted to see what Baltimore had cooking up, I was ready to see something gritty! Trusting another landmark city along the U.S.A's North East Coast, I wanted to get to down to the 'Inner Harbor!' Maryland wasn't ready for me!

Another day, another city! Well that's a motto that I have been living by for the last year. My last trip took me to Baltimore, Maryland. My main motivation was to see if this city was anything like it was depicted in the film "Hairspray." I was quite impressed at what I saw! What you going to show me first? Baltimore! The Inner Harbour was my first stop, after getting off at the wrong light rail stop which proved to be rather Interesting. The December sun was lovely, the sun shone nicely onto the waters before me. I loved Baltimore because it was real and for me that counts for something! Harborplace, the surrounding area around the water looked modern, working nicely with the local feel of the area. In the distance was the Baltimore National Aquarium, this site definitely made the 'Inner Harbour' look a part of the modern age. This addition to the 'Inner Harbour' was something I was not expecting to see. Let's go B!

Baltimore didn't hold anything back, I kid you not! I have lost count of how many new places I have visited during 2012 for that I have been truly blessed! Baltimore, Maryland only stands a few stops away by train from Newark, New Jersey so I splashed out on the Amtrak to say 'Good Morning! Baltimore!' with some kind of class! Class? I don't know the meaning of the word! I wanted to see something that would challenge my senses and put me out of my comfort zone, lets be real I call Newark, NJ home right about now! Looking back at the 'Harborplace' I literally never knew that Baltimore had something to serve like that pocket sized harbour! Americans, why do you spell 'harbour' without an U? Let's leave the English differences behind and get down to business because I had a feeling that Baltimore wasn't going to wait for my adventure hungry self! Baltimore is located in-between District of Columbia and Delaware, so I got my freak on in Baltimore! Yes B, I love America!

Dominating the 'Inner Harbour' was the U.S.S Constellation, a vessel that is currently placed in front view for all to see at 'Harborplace'. The U.S.S Constellation was constructed in 1854, sometime before the Tracey Turnblad. This ship served during the Civil War and in 1999 was brought to sit in the waters of the 'Inner Habour' essentially becoming a point of interest and attraction with the Baltimore local folk and tourists alike. I believe that the U.S.S Constellation sat beautifully with the sun reflecting off its ebony exterior. Baltimore felt similar to Newark, NJ in some respects, these respects I shall not divulge to their full entirety. My year in America has enabled me to see several places that aren't featured in the tourist brochure, for that reason I see this as an experience as I've always got to be on my guard. Baltimore holds its own, serving a upfront personality that I identified with wholeheartedly!

Unlike NYC and Washington, D.C. Baltimore serves an individual flare that's actually quite endearing in some ways. Writing its own rules in a city that whispered to me that judging a book by its cover is just very rude and wrong to do! The sun shone bright during my Maryland outing but that December coldness made its presence known for sure! Time waits for no one, not even me so I didn't hop aboard the U.S.S Constellation for I didn't have plans to be in Baltimore when the stars would be in the sky. Baltimore didn't have anything to hide for the drabbest places always serve some first class shades of glam! Why I did I choose Baltimore? I passed through on my way to Washington, D.C. during August 2012 and I just wanted to see some of the ratchet scenes like I did before from my Bolt Bus window! Baltimore called me back some months later and I can wholeheartedly say that I was shown a day that I would not want to forget for a while! Go on with your glam self, Baltimore!

Moving away from the waters of the 'Inner Harbour' I discovered another historical point of interest. Preserved from the shipping days that have given Baltimore its prowess as a shipping city. 'Fells Point' gives visitors a perfect view at Baltimore in the past. It's linked well with the 'Inner Harbour' as there was good signage and also the waterfront was in constant view. The cobbled streets and picture postcard shops that stood in front of me were fantastic but something just didn't look how I envisaged things to be. I used to work at Disney so I know what an engineered attraction looks like! I really believe that the investment in this area will safe-guard the heritage and history of Baltimore, obviously not excusing for the current decaying properties in the nearby Ghettos. Overall, 'Fells Point' and the rest of its historical delights have been lovingly restored to a very high standard but I wanted to the crazy side!

Baltimore has a lovely corner of calm and restored history that honestly looked just smashing but I wanted to live life on the risky side, loving the drama gets me in trouble without fail! Throughout my day in Baltimore I saw the 'Inner Harbor' and war time ship and now a preserved corner of Maryland history. Why had it not occurred to me that I should of visited Baltimore a lot sooner!? Baltimore had shown me so much, stepping off my Amtrak MD bound train I was loving the variety of sights.  I'm going to be as honest as I want, its clear that my writing style is quite punchy and somewhat unapologetic at times but I don't need your confirmation or blessing because I'm going to fashion this blog and this publication from my own perspective. Oh! I got a bit lost then but I made my way out of 'Fells Point' in constant pursuit of Hairpsray's Tracey T! I love that film! 'Fells Point' had something special, it felt like I transported back to another time. Oh yes, Baltimore gave me life! 

Taking a walk away from the tourist appropriate streets of 'Fells Point' I made my way onto 'Eastern Ave.' Each step I took the feeling of the street changed, not entirely in a good way but it had the feeling of being in a bad council estate like back in England. Baltimore is a city that has grit, which I respect so all is not lost! If the truth be told, these new streets before me were more like the ones I had seen in the 'Hairspray' films. 'Eastern Ave' got a little bit too much at one point, I had made the decision to turn around to walk back closer to the Downtown area of Baltimore. So, breaking away from the predictable streets of 'Fells Point' to the slightly sketchy row-houses of 'Eastern Ave' showed me a small slice of the Baltimore that I set out to see. In this instance I seriously think that my Britney persona was completely to blame for that choice! Eastern Ave kept it real, OK?! 'Eastern Ave' was serving truth!

From the waters of the 'Inner Harbour' to the sketchy streets of 'Eastern Avenue' I believe that I saw the perfect blend of Baltimore. Will I get another chance to see more cities across the North East Coast? I don't think so, but my travels continue in two weeks. I love you Baltimore! I even took the liberty of wishing you a 'Good Morning!'. Let's just say that the next adventure will be a lot closer to base. So, yes I remember now! Eastern Ave put me in my place for sure and I always like to take things outside of my comfort zone for we need to grow and experience things that challenge us! Ratchet or not I don't care what anybody thinks because Baltimore showed me a day that was raw, edgy and very captivating for your information! Love the tourists traps but remember just down train line or the highway there's a new and undiscovered city that is waiting to show anyone what it has got to give! Maryland's provincial city showed me so much more, I was sad to leave that evening!

Good Morning Baltimore!

Joseph Harrison

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