August 9, 2006 [LINK]

Baltimore: "Charm City" indeed!

I have compiled a batch of ten Baltimore montage photos from our recent weekend jaunt to Baltimore, three of which are multi-image montages taken from video freeze frames. Four of those photos are already included on the Camden Yards page. My favorite one is the tropical fish, coral, and sea anenomes we saw at the National Aquarium. If such awesome, exotic beauty doesn't turn you into a nature lover, nothing will.

Clockwise, from top left: The main entrance to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, tropical fish and coral, the Washington Monument (!), and the USS Constitution docked in the Inner Harbor.

This was the first time I had actually stopped to seriously visit Baltimore since the late 1980s. Its "charm" and unique character no doubt stems from the fact that it is a genuine self-generated urban center, not a contrived imperial parasite that sucks in wealth from the rest of the country, as Washington does. (Hey, let's be honest.) We paid a visit to the Peabody Institute Conservatory, home of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, located next to the Washington Monument. We also took a quick peek at the Public Works Museum, which I believe was used as the police headquarters when the first-class TV drama Homicide was filmed. We missed Fell's Point, Fort McHenry, and many other cultural and historical points of interest, however. Word of advice: Get your tickets to the National Aquarium very early in the morning if you have plans for the afternoon, such as a baseball game. On busy days, such as when there are literally thousands of New York Yankees fans milling around, the lines for the Aquarium and other main attractions are long.

While strolling past the Baltimore Convention Center, we saw large numbers of teens and young adults wearing bizarre, fanciful costumes, and some were carrying pretend swords and other paraphernelia. I learned that those folks were attending the Otakon convention, "the biggest and best celebration of Japanese animation, manga, J-pop, and east Asian culture in the world." Okay, whatever...

Speaking of Japan, we should remember that it was 62 years ago today that the second atomic bomb was dropped, destroying most of the city of Nagasaki.