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Susquehanna Life

Baltimore is Beautiful

May 05, 2015 02:47AM ● By Troy Metzger

The beauty of living in Central Pennsylvania is the sheer convenience of being centrally located of amazing cities to explore: New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, and Pittsburgh. I scheduled a group trip to Inner Harbor in Baltimore that included a trip to the National Aquarium, lunch at Hard Rock Cafe, and a lot of free time to explore until our city lights boat tour to end the day. But what happened by the end of the night exemplified the meaning of travel to me.

Our time at the National Aquarium was delightful. They have done an amazing job with the exhibits. Popular exhibits included animals from the Amazon river, Australia, Shark Alley, and famous (and extremely rare) Toby the Blue Lobster who is 1 in 2 million. I was most fascinated by jellyfish exhibit. Jellyfish are mesmerizing to watch. Their translucent bodies move ever so slowly through dark water. The different varieties of jellies included: Sea Nettle, Lion’s Mane, Spotted Lagoon, Leidys Comb and several others. I was surprised to find a touch tank that allowed us to touch the tops of Moon jellies  --jellyfish whose tentacles were too small to penetrate human skin to sting. It brought back memories of the time I was stung by an unidentified jellyfish in Subic Bay of the South China Sea in the Philippines.

After our lunch at Hard Rock Cafe, where I recommend you get on the waiting list as soon as possible, we headed on the promenade. The promenade is a nice walk that took us from Inner Harbor to Fell’s Point. Fell’s Point is an exciting gem in Baltimore. Brick-lined streets, tiny old houses, bustling waterfront activity...need I say more? Fell’s Point is a new found favorite of mine. We stood outside The Horse You Came In on Saloon where Edgar Allen Poe’s made his last stop, we were entertained by an old street rapper (he had to be in his 70’s), had a drink at Max’s Taphouse --a bar with 120 beers on tap, and enjoyed some appetizers at a waterfront Mexican restaurant, Barcocina. It was a relaxing, mellow afternoon. I would highly recommend the short walk from Inner Harbor to Fell’s Point.

Upon arriving back into Inner Harbor and stopping in at various stores, we noticed that crowds were thinning out --except for a large mob of people across the street. After a quick Google search on our phones, we realized that it was the formation of peaceful protests. ‘Nothing to worry about’, I thought. Before long, we found ourselves locked inside the building. We could leave, but not be allowed to enter back in. Although three people from the group left to head home because their concern for safety, the cruise was still on. Police walked up and down the streets in full riot gear, some floated on rafts protecting the historic ships in the harbor, helicopters shined spotlights up and down the streets as though they were looking for a fugitive on the run. We thought we’d be safest on a boat instead of being on the streets of Baltimore. We embarked on our night cruise, had a couple sangria’s and listened to great music as the lights and distress of Inner Harbor faded slowly behind us.

 We sailed away from the chaos.

Looking out the windows, I remember thinking that I could sit on that boat for days and sail away while listening to Jimmy Buffett. I didn’t want the boat to turn back. But eventually, it did.

What occurred after the boat ride was the beginning of the worst for the Baltimore. We drove on shattered glass by broken windows and barricaded streets with hundreds of police officers. Home was only an hour and a half away, but that night, it took three hours.

It’s a shame that Baltimore will suffer from the repercussions of these riots. Because of events like this, some people don’t travel because they have a fear of the unknown and unfamiliar places. Current events keep some people from seeing this amazing world, experiencing new cultures, and meeting new people. But the beauty of travel is just that. When you travel, you never know what, or who, will cross your path. It’s part of the adventure. This experience has exemplified the meaning of travel to me. As Helen Keller once said ‘life is a daring adventure or nothing.’

My day in Baltimore was beautiful; and I cannot wait to go back.

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