Charm City Baby

Trip Start Oct 13, 2013
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Trip End Apr 13, 2014


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Where I stayed
Phillip's Crib

Flag of United States  , Maryland
Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I arrived in the land of the home of the brave, customs and getting my bag was a hassle and a half because I has a connecting flight to Ottawa that I was not getting on. I charmed my way through a 300 dollar change bag fee thing, got through customs, spent an hour in line to go through security again and finally made my way out of the terminal. The Dulles airport is not set up for public transportation at all, people were in a hurry, rude and unhelpful. Not a good reintroduction to the west. after several hours at the air port I made my way to down town Washington DC. It is a beautiful city, the cherry blossoms were just emerging filling the streets with the sweet scent of spring. The buildings are colonial and the streets are clean. I walked around to see the white house and the Washington monument. I took a train from the regal union station to Baltimore's more rugged Penn station where I met my oldest friend Phillip. For those of you who don't know he lives next to my grandma in fort Lauderdale and we spent our childhood Summers and Christmas playing together. He moved when I was 12. we saw each other in 2007 when I visited him on spring break. It was a lovely surprise visit made possible by my 48 hour layover in Baltimore before I headed to Florida. We spent the first night catching up at a local pub where I had my first meal back in the western world; a heavenly crab max and cheese dish. Yum! my jet lag was insane as I had started my journey at 3 am on the 31st and it was now April 2nd at midnight. So Naturally we had a few night caps and caught up till 4 am. The next day tired and hungover Phillip went to his lab and I went exiting the frigid streets of downtown Baltimore. It is a beautiful downtown core with a Semi clean waterfront and interesting heritage buildings. I climbed a hill and had a great view of the city. I was struck by the homelessness, in SE Asia there is a lot of poverty and homelessness, but no one expects a hand out. Everyone is selling, cleaning or doing something for money. Whereas in Baltimore they are all sitting on the ground with a cup out. interesting. The streets are also so wide! Everything is so big, the door frames, the signs, the parking lots, the food portions, the people etc... It was very weird to walk around. The culture shock of Baltimore was more than my arrival in Bangkok all those nights ago.  Phillip and I met for a street meat lunch and I promptly fell asleep until he finished work. We met 3 of his friends for an all American night of "pre gaming" bar food and baseball. We watched the oriels vs red sox. It was really fun. Again I was amazed to see so many people on their on their phones. The girl beside me was on Facebook for the entire game. What was the point of going !? The night was some all American fun for sure. The next day I did the heritage walk around the city. I saw where the flag was made, where done war stuff happened and the such. It was so cold ! I only have clothes suitable for the 30 plus degrees in SE Asia. Just bad planning on my part I guess. But despite all that it is a city with a certain charm to it. The locals ate really proud of their city and love to give suggestions of where to go, what to see and to give you little tidbits of information. It was a really short and sweet visit. It was so great to see my childhood best friend. We picked up as if we saw,each other everyday. I am so lucky to have such great and easy friendships with such amazing people.  I said good bye to Phillip and we promised not to wait another 7 years before seeing each other again. The train ride to the,airport was interesting. 
It was a chatty cart. I learnt a lot more about some of these people than I cared to. But it made for a quick and interesting ride. the airport is small and painless a for the 5th time in 3 days I was up in the air on my way to fort Lauderdale to see my grandma, aunt Barbie, aunt Catherine, uncle Mike and my mother !!!
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