East Coast Trippin’ Day 4: “Banned in DC”/ “Streets of Baltimore”

29 May

I blasted Bad Brains on my headphones and gave an internal middle finger to every monument we passed on the way to the train station in Washington D.C. Something told me not to dilly dally in the nation’s capital (where its professional football team’s mascot is a racial slur), and I’m glad I listened to that voice. It started raining immediately upon me catching the light rail to Baltimore.

I was exhausted just looking at all the people and buildings, all cogs of a bigger machine. I couldn’t believe people actually wanted to live in this town. It seemed cold and sterile. I was a little creeped out passing by the Pentagon, thinking of Obama, the NSA, Cheney and Bush, 9-11, Free Masons, and the Illuminati.

I finally got to Baltimore around 8:00 pm. A glimpse of west Baltimore hit me with a dose of reality, and I realized that this was no time to act like a tourist. My couchsurfing host was at work, and I almost immediately got lost, carrying all my luggage, without any idea what part of town I was in (If you’re at the poker table and you can’t tell who the mark is, then its you right?). I was just about to get worried when I saw white people jogging a couple of blocks down from me. Okay. I knew I was safe then.
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My host “Doug” rolled out the red carpet for me. His apartment was down the street from his job, so after I had enough to eat and drink, I just went up to his place and crashed. The next morning found me on his roof, testing out the local product, and getting a view of the city. My vertigo kicked in shortly after, and the trip down the fire escape was a little sobering. I kept imagining a loose bolt on the railing coming off, sending me back backwards onto the asphalt below (cringe).

oh boy!

oh boy!

I like Baltimore. Any sort of pretense is magnified in a place that is so blue collar and gritty. I imagine its what Oakland would be like if Oakland had humidity in the summer, and shitty weather during the winter months. there is a certain Baltimore swag that people have here that seems ingrained into people’s identity. It aint’ New York, it ain’t Philly, and it certainly ain’t Boston.
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It has been easy to get around town, the city feels pretty small, and it seems like whatever scene you run in, you’ll see the same faces again and again. I ended up at an open mic last night and the people there behaved as if they knew each other well. I enjoyed watching everyone perform and had I not gotten so drunk I would have taken pictures.

My boy “Doug” (who like me wants to one day work at Vice Media) took me around town, showed me where to get crab cakes and gave me a run down on where and where not to go. He took me to Baltimore’s version of the Tenderloin district, “Hey man! I got these socks! You know you need some socks dawg!” and gave me an inside look at the spectrum of females that live in the city (t feels like the marginally cute girls in NYC moved down here because they weren’t getting enough attention in the highly competitive Big Apple). It definitely jumps out at you when you see a hot chick here. The dime pieces here in Baltimore would be 8’s back home in Texas. Its funny to see these gals strut about town, as if they were Miss Maryland. It’s like being the best player on a last place team in the minor leagues. It’s all relative.

Speaking of relatives. Its time for me to bounce. I’m taking a bus up to New York in less than 2 hours, and finally get to meet my best friend’s new son. I’m excited. I eased up on my expenditures solely for my 10 day stay up in the NY. Although its not entirely out of the question to come back down to Baltimore for a day or two next week (I didn’t get to go to the aquarium or visit the Waterfront Hotel–the bar from that old cop show Homicide). I got mad love for this city.

just a little creepy

just a little creepy

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