Friday, June 19, 2009

Live! From Baltimore, Maryland

So I've been East Coasting for awhile.

After taking in a Giants game last Friday, my wife and I hopped on an Oakland-Washington JetBlue flight to begin our vacation.  It will be a very busy summer.  Some observations.

-First, school is done.

-Our flight from Oakland to Washington was fine until we reached the plains of Wyoming.  It was then that I had my first experience with "moderate turbulence".  I've had turbulence in the past and I've never had a problem.  This was different.  This was the plane bobbing up and down, seeming to slip side to side in a motion that felt horridly unnatural.  Mix in to that the lightening strikes off on the horizon and it made about 40 minutes of the trip quite the nightmare.  I know, planes don't fall out of the air and turbulence doesn't cause crashes.  Still, it was more than unnerving and it distracted me from my podcast of Prime Minister's Questions.

-Our trip included three days in Washington, two days in Philadelphia, two days in Baltimore.  We are beginning the last leg of our journey that has included some wonderful weather.  The humidity has been very light, and Philadelphia was down right chilly.  We spent Tuesday night at Citizen's Bank Ballpark to watch a Phillies game and experienced AT&T park 60 degree temperatures.  It's a tad bit more muggy here in Baltimore, but still mild nonetheless.  Oh, and while California is suffering from lack of water, the people of the East Coast are begging for it to stop.  Apparently the number of sunny days in Baltimore is so limited that people have started to wonder if the large star in the sky actually exists.  It has rained for over a month here, with thunderstorms almost daily and the locals are tired of it.  Bummer.  Bring that water back to Ukiah where mandatory rationing has now been put into effect.

-Note to Californians, everyone knows about our economic situation.......and nobody cares.  When mentioning that we are from California, people nod, smile, and then insist that the federal government not bail-out the state.  It's almost like we are the spoiled brats of the country and we are getting what's coming to us.

-Pandas are cool.  I want one.  I watched a couple at the National Zoo tear apart bamboo branches like they were toothpicks.  That makes me want one even more.  I can hug and cuddle it, then bring it to school and let it loose on misbehaving students.  Box it and ship it...now!

-The Philadelphia Museum of Art is incredibly huge.  We had planned on two hours for the mammoth building, only to find that it's actually a smaller version of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and at least a half day is needed to really appreciate it.  Actually, if you are an art fan you need to come to Philly.  Not only is the Museum of Art good, but there is also the Barnes Foundation out in Merion, about a 30 minute bus trip outside the city center.  In residential neighborhood, the museum is a Gilded Age home with the largest collection of Renoir paintings in the world.  It quite a treat.

So to recap:

Friday:  Giants game

Saturday:  Golf, Oakland to Washington D.C. (red-eye)

Sunday:  Ford's Theater, National Archives (excellent), Dupont Circle Farmer's Market, Phillips Collection (Jacob Lawrence work a must for U.S. History teachers).

Monday:  National Zoo, Supreme Court, Library of Congress (said "hello" to Justice Scalia), tour of Adams Morgan neighborhood

Tuesday:  Train to Philadelphia, City Hall and Broad Street, Redding Terminal Market, National Constitution Center, Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank, Phillies Game at Citizen's Bank (good park, but not AT&T), Fox and Hound Pub to watch the Giants game.

Wednesday:  Philadelphia Mint, Independence Hall, Congress Hall, Liberty Bell, Barnes Foundation.

Thursday:  Train to Baltimore, Inner Harbor, Orioles game (walk off win, and better than Citizen's Bank, but not better than AT&T).

Friday:  Fort McHenry (a gem and a must see if you are near Baltimore), Walter Art Museum, Maryland Historical Society, Light Rail to Hunt Valley

Saturday:  Home

Oh, and the fact that California doesn't have a rail system like here in the East is an embarrassment. 

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