By: Gabriela Yareliz
The first time I went to Baltimore, I saw the harbor area. It’s a beautiful area with little boats and bright lights. Very reminiscent of La Rochelle, France, except it misses the old-time charm La Rochelle undoubtedly has. I stood under an umbrella with my host who was attempting a Skype session with her husband. The rain made it all mystical and lovely. Sometimes, rain washes the phony pretentious vibes of a city, and you are left with its purity.
As I headed to Baltimore this time, my eyes were shiny with anticipation for a job prospect, and I was filled with a sense of adventure. My bus from New York had a hilarious driver, who at Penn Station was introducing himself, and then he stopped and yelled in the intercom system, “Get out the way fool!”
He then turned his attention back to us and said, “Yeah, that is why you chose Boltbus right?” And we all laughed. Witty bus driver. When we drove into Baltimore, it was a sunny afternoon. We drove straight through a neighborhood where all the buildings were lacking windows, and some square holes were filled with plywood. Some were covered with something and duck tape. I saw a massive cemetery; some fire hydrants had exploded, and they were sending floods of water curling around street corners and following the inclination downward. Older men sat on stoops smoking; men shook hands by The Brother’s Barber Shop (or something along those lines, I remember it was called “The Brothers”).
I saw a District Court with the surrounding sidewalk and road full of trash, and a glorious multi-colored crab standing tall on the court roof. Welcome to Maryland.
I was so blessed that a friend let me stay in his charming place, where fire hydrants were intact, and there were churches on every corner. As I walked along the streets of Baltimore, I decided I had to see the city for myself and not rely on images from The Wire, people’s horror stories and what I had seen on the bus. I figured, Baltimore has to have some sort of beauty. They call it Charm City for crying out loud!
I decided to find its charm, its “diversity”, and find its beauty (and a Ravens player willing to be my bodyguard in NYC, if I was to be that lucky!).
I rode the metro rail to my interview, which is so much cheaper than Washington, D.C., and cheaper than New York City. A dollar-sixty is not bad for a one-way trip. I hate trains though, so on my “adventure”, I decided to walk.
I have bravado to me of fearless adventure, so I decided to put my money where my mouth usually is and take a walk. I took one glance at my cell, but using Google Maps kills the battery, so I memorized the main streets and how they run. My goal was to go to Little Italy. I was in need to find someone Latin, and I have an adoration for Little Italies, so, I embarked on my journey.
I walked out and looked at some beautiful buildings in the distance, and I walked toward them.
While walking, men in trucks and other cars would blow kisses at me (literally) from their windows and greet me. Some would tilt their heads in a gentlemanly fashion. Who knew I could be so popular? I then saw why Baltimore is called Charm City (grin).
Check out what I saw:
I didn’t want to leave with the impression I got of Baltimore coming into the city. I had to be adventurous and give Baltimore a chance. Once you give it a chance, its charm unfolds before your feet. I had a lovely time in Baltimore. I wouldn’t have changed a thing about my trip. Granted, I was not on vacation, but my walk around the city was a wonderful exploration of the unknown. Its church filled corners; its mysterious skyline where from one street to another, a rooftop is in a completely different style; its flirtatious drivers; its window boxes in full bloom; its dancing boats and unpopulated streets; thank you Baltimore for charming me with your unique Bmore charm.
Bmore charm is the kind of charm that requires you to open yourself. Then, it winks at you, and you are not disappointed.