Baltimore, MD: Some Things Never Change

One of my final thoughts on my trip to Guatemala was how the passage of time and life experiences can completely change a travel experience when revisiting a location, but my final thought on our quick stopover in Baltimore is how in some cases, some things never change.  In this instance, I felt instant joy upon exiting the beltway, turning on E. Pratt Street and seeing the familiar sights of the city such as the Inner Harbor and the Baltimore World Trade Center, which is billed as the World’s tallest pentagonal building.  Though I could see a lot of improvement to the city as well as new restaurants and shops, I was happy to see that a lot of my old favorite haunts still remained and in one bizarre case, to see that my former neighbor was still up to his dirty old man tricks.

Baltimore from the Inner Harbor
Baltimore from the Inner Harbor

Before Dillion and I set off tearing up the bars of Fells Point, we swung by the train station in Mount Vernon to pick up my friend and former travel partner in crime, Kelly, for a quick bite to eat at one of my favorite spots, Tapas Teatro.  When I previously lived in Baltimore from 2006 to 2008, Tapas Teatro was usually the start of an evening out with Diana, after which we’d proceed to the artist-friendly bar, Club Charles, across the street.  It was especially exciting for me to return to this particular restaurant as I’m now a seafood eater and could now partake in the ‘gambas al ajillo’ plate.  Kelly and I reminisced about our days working at Pro Mujer in Puno and the several trips we took throughout Perú – St. Patrick’s Day in Arequipa, Inca Uyo in Chucuito and the beach trip to Ilo.

After we dropped Kelly off at the train station for her trip back to Washington, DC, we made our way over to Fells Point for a night of bar hopping and proper drinking without the worry of having to drive back to our place (another awful reason why I don’t like living places where you have to drive everywhere).  Within the first few minutes of us sitting down on the saddle-like stools at The Horse You Came In On Saloon, a new story was already developing.

As we entered this particular establishment, I recounted to Dillion the tales of my creepy former neighbor in Baltimore who Diana and I nicknamed, Man Whore.  Though he was always a kind fellow to me and his acts of creepiness never permeated to my apartment, the stories he’s told me could make a prostitute blush and did make me vomit in my mouth at times.  Just as well, simply being a bystander to some of his shenanigans slowly destroyed my faith in the male species.  Of the numerous tales I was recounting to Dillion, the one about the Horse You Came In On Saloon was particularly hilarious as it was a Halloween party almost seven years ago at this bar where Diana and I ended up stranded in a broken taxi but three of his current girlfriends who were racing to the bar to fight off the other two girlfriends that were with him at the time.  We eventually made it to the same party to watch the shit show unfold and from that point on, the details are fuzzy.

So seven years later, I’m telling Dillion about my ridiculous neighbor and the last time I was at The Horse You Came In On.  We laugh, exchange looks of incredulity, and continue onward with a discussion about Michael Jackson.  Well actually, it was more of an impromptu karaoke session of the current MJ song playing rather than an intellectual discussion, but in the middle of one of the high notes, this man looks over at us and says something to the effect of, we must be having a good time.  Then he looked away and walked off with his drinks.  My face froze with my mouth wide open, because there he stood, Man Whore, in all his man whoreiness, seven years later with the same bald head and T-shirt tucked into shorts fashion statement.  Naturally, I spent the rest of the time at this bar spying on him to see if it really was Man Whore.  We observed him working his charm on two well-dressed, professional ladies and at that point, I was convinced.  My next obvious move was to announce to the world and more importantly tell Diana of my discovery of this classic character in Baltimore continuing to still do this thing.  To this day, I’m still shocked that so little could have changed with this man.  I’ll obviously be returning in another seven years to see what the latest scoop is.

The discovery of Man Whore still intact in his ways was probably the most eventful part of the evening, but we ended on a high note, making our way to two other local establishments along the main strip in Fells Point before packing it in.  The following day, we aimed to inject a bit of culture and education into our side-trip to Baltimore before heading up to my hometown of Malta, NY.  We visited the U.S.S. Constellation docked in the Inner Harbor which I was ashamed to admit, had never visited during my two years in Baltimore.  Though, I do suspect that that’s the way things shape up when one lives in a destination full of tourist activities.  It also wasn’t until I visited Philadelphia for my college reunion that I finally went to see the Museum of Art there.  This just goes to show it sometimes takes more than a few visits or even living somewhere to fully experience a certain place.

Port side of the U.S.S. Constellation
Port side of the U.S.S. Constellation

We ended the trip with a stop for lunch at one of the nearby food trucks whose name now escapes me, but reminds me of how I need to start taking more notes while traveling.  The food truck I patronized was an addition from when I lived in the city, but had already racked up some rewards and notoriety amongst the foodies in town.  Their broad range of international sandwiches offered something for every palette from vegetarian options to Greek lamb delights.  I sat the sidewalk eating my Japanese-Greek fusion sandwich taking in one last look of the Inner Harbor before we set off for our final stop in the U.S., my hometown.

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