The Ups and Downs of Pittsburgh

Trip Start Mar 10, 2011
Trip End May 05, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My time in Pittsburgh was surprisingly brief given my limited plans and awesomeness of Bear Run.  It did afford me plenty of time to relax and reflect, but I did also have my fair share of activities and excitement, sometimes at inappropriate moments.
The city is a series of undulations between the apex of three rivers.  I was able to view this on my first day exploring the town from Mount Washington.  The hill is perhaps a bit ambitiously named but the view from the "summit" of the city was quite a beautiful contrast of industry to plentiful water.  The cable car ride up Duquesne Incline was also quaint, but inexplicably complicated. The tollbooth accepted only exact change, but was inexplicably and unnecessarily attended. Furthermore, the change machine only offered the almost extinct dollar coin so that in exchange for my twenty I received a small mountain of metal.

The two sights I visited in Pittsburgh were quite contrasting.  The first was the Andy Warhol Museum. A challenging ode to Pittsburgh's favourite son.  The museum is the largest single artist exhibit in the world.  I suppose this is expected given Warhol's dabbling in almost all forms of art and his ability to duplicate (and sell) many variations of the same piece.  I suppose the genius in his work was that he was able to distil fine art into its basest components - symbolism and emotion and then make it commercially viable to the masses.  Yet, I cannot help but yearn for the recognition of technical expertise as found in classic art.  It does sometime seem that now one can be an "Artist" without much skill in "Art". Was that Warhol's intention all along?

My conundrum was quickly forgotten the next day at the National Aviary.  I am well aware this is a place for pre-school children but the bald eagle was too great an attraction.  Surprisingly there was much more here than an injured national symbol.  The majestic condor and the forest rooms were enough themselves to inspire a mental escape away from the city.  In addition, feeding some of the endagered birds as they swooped overhead was quite experience. Not an ornothologist, I even learnt a thing or two from the trainers.

Before leaving Pittsburgh, our last plan was to exercise our right to bear arms.  Blindly expecting fireworks we made for a shooting range.  The promise of weilding such power was intoxicating and we arrived shaking with excitement after we fortified our resolves at the door. We were rejected. This was quite reasonable in retrospect as none of us had actually fired a gun and hadn't the faintest idea how to operate one.  So instead we consoled ourselves over High Tea at Frick Park and lost our time gorging delicious desserts. We also ran into some unexpected traffic on the way and thinking we had made it, breathed a sigh of relief when we saw the bus. But as we turned the final bend, off it went! Stunned, and after a brief moment of panic David drove madly after it.  Luckily, the traffic light saved me and I managed to sneak on during a red just after the depot.

So with the excitement over, I am now on route for the pinnacle of my journey, New York City.  Maybe I can shoot a gun there.   
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