Here I am ten years later in Baltimore and on a very different “mission”. My earlier visit was in the company of some crazy Hungarian and other European counter intelligence officers. We were on a “school excursion” hosted by Uncle Sam to visit the National Aquarium. (Definitely worth a look). Which was a novel outing for our land locked Hungarian friend. Funny thing was that we met some very attractive Russian femme fatales (well, they had the potential to be) and our effervescent Hungarian (I know, you don’t normally use Hungarian and effervescent in the same sentence) was very quickly good friends. I have a photo of them all somewhere in a shoebox at home. I have wondered ever since just how accidental that meeting really was. But we were not thinking too hard about such things on the day which soon devolved into central European mayhem at a Hooters restaurant.
Then, it was a sunny Fall day. Today it is a wet and overcast occasion and downtown is windswept. And unkempt. An enormous amount of work has been directed at the waterfront but perhaps is has been at the expense of the rest of the city centre.
Nonetheless a walk through downtown hints at the colonial history of the city and there is evidence of some effort to properly preserve and gentrify their history. I suspect they have lost the opportunity to preserve their history as Philadelphia has done but better now than never. I did enjoy discovering some shades of separation with Australia as I spent the day here. A small cafe titled “David and Dad” is a neat inversion of the iconic “Dad and Dave” of Australia and its sharp presentation made me smile at the ironic contrast with the bumbling family of “On My Selection.” And I discovered part of Baltimore’s history is built on the back of a politician named John Eager Howard, a statue in the middle of town commemorating him. He was certainly eager, that Prime Minister of ours! Nearly as eager as a land locked Hungarian chasing Russians in an American aquarium.
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