My journey through Baltimore was slightly improved the second day I spent there, but not by much. If I had the option to repeat all the trip planning decisions of the last year, then I’d skip the city altogether. Everything seems run down and no one seems to use any resources for building or cleaning. There’s evidence of rust with every fence or gate you’ll find, and it’s difficult to take a five minute walk down the street without coming across something that can be described as disgusting.
I did walk through John Hopkins University. It’s a great school stuck in the middle of a not-so-great place. There were supposed to be a couple of long trails nearby, but they were either being built over, or hadn’t been completed yet. The enormous Druid Hill Park wasn’t much better. It was a decent place to walk around, but no one seems to use it much. It was something to do, but not something I enjoyed. I listened to music and drowned out most of what was around me.
I can’t help but think that part of the problem is that Baltimore is the biggest independent city in the country–that is, it isn’t part of any of the surrounding counties. Perhaps the problem isn’t limited resources, but resource management. The city has more statues and monuments per capita than any other city in the U.S., but you wouldn’t know it if you’ve walked through cities like Philadelphia and Boston. More of its buildings are historic when compared to any other city. Baltimore may have a lot of history, but everything you think you’d want to see is surrounded by a state of disrepair that taints the experience.
It’s not a huge surprise that Edgar Allen Poe made his home here. At least now I know where all the inspiration came from. A friend of mine commented “Good Morning Baltimore” on a Facebook post and I responded that I feel like it’s probably never a good morning in Baltimore. He told me to listen to the song from Hairspray, so I did. “Every night is a fantasy” because every day sucks and you have to hold out hope that things will get better!
My train to Charleston was overnight, and predictably late. That’ll be day six.
The technology, or lackthereof
Maryland in general has been trying to make headway in the shutdown of fossil fuels. Earlier this year, environmentalists presented what essentially amounts to a couple of challenges for lawmakers in the state. Pass legislation that results in the doubling of current renewables, or pass legislation that completely eliminates reliance on fossil fuels. Naturally, the lawmakers instead chose to do nothing. Climate change is fake anyway (sarcasm).
It was why they did nothing that manages to elicit the collective state of awe from those who understand the problem we face: they thought we needed more information on the environmental impacts of the current policy, which guarantees that a quarter of energy is renewable. They explained that even the new utility facilities emit greenhouse gases, two of which are Baltimore’s biggest source of air pollution. One is a trash incinerator, though, so go figure. Also, they thought the transition would cost too much money.
There’s not much common sense being employed, nor is there much happening. I should probably have traveled to Silicon Valley.