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Baltimore, MD
Miles Today: 66.7
Total Miles: 359.7
Days on the Road: 8

Weight of Mussels Served By Bertha's Each Week: 2000 lbs.
Weight of the Badunkadunk: 3537 lbs.
Speaks for Itself
Bargain of the Day - 50¢
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When Did You Start Growing That?
N 39°23.878 W 76°48.807
Saturday, Feb 8, 2003 - Day 8

The whole ride up to the Great Blacks In Wax museum, we were laughing, really whooping it up. It's just the name. Great Blacks In Wax. It's funny because it rhymes. It could be a great exclamation along the lines of "Great Horny Toads!", "Great Googalee-moogalee!", or "Jumpin' Jehosphat!". Imagine it. See? Funny.

So we arrived in jolly spirits, having just gorged ourselves on mussels and cask-conditioned ales in Baltimore's famed Fell's Point, and driving around in our erstwhile foresaken friend, the Badunkadunk, for the first time in a week. Then we entered and were immediately confronted by slavery. In disturbingly lifelike wax. Slavery = not funny.

The museum itself, apparently the most visited museum in Baltimore, is interesting though not especially well done. It's a bit disorganized, many of the information panels are simply computer printouts stapled to the walls, and some inexplicably are written on clear plastic discs with bare light bulbs behind them. I don't know what they said, but I hope it wasn't important. The ghostly voices bellowing "Remember" as you leave the slave ship exhibit were strikingly over the top, too. Note to curator: I want to remember, I really do, and I will, but it was a bit heavy-handed.

The more upbeat part of the day was spent wandering around Fell's Point in the snow. Fell's Point is one of the oldest sections of Baltimore, and you can tell this because it has so many bars. One boasts 166 draft and 200 bottled beers. That's 200 kinds, mind you, not just 200 bottles. Also, Homicide: Life on the Street used to be produced in Fell's Point, so the history is quite broad; everything from beer to television. And mussels.

The mussels are from Bertha's Mussels. If you've traveled much, especially in that particular part of Baltimore City, you may have seen their stickers: Eat Bertha's Mussels. We ate them. They were delicious. It's good advice. Another example of the wisdom of bumper stickers.

And oh yes, no visit to historic Baltimore would be complete without a nice long look at some formstone. What is formstone you ask? Take a gander at that photo up above. Formstone is a kind of fake rock covering, made of concrete and chicken wire and formed (hence the name, see?) into roughly stone-ish shapes. It was invented in Baltimore in 1938 and sold to people with poor quality bricks and/or stupid people. The formstone man would come to the block and lay down a fabulous schpiel about the miracles of formstone, how it never needed to be cleaned, it would last for centuries, and it was oh so attractive. They often sold it to entire blocks and it became quite popular for a time, spreading to cities like Philadelphia and, well, Philadelphia. Now people pay huge amounts of money to get the stuff pried off of their nice brick row houses. But there are those who love the stuff as well, like John Waters.

Lastly, this evening, we had a nice meal with some family folks of Anthony's, and were waited on by Laurel's brother.

gonna get me a homie
Gonna get me a homie
i got the mexican dude
I got the Mexican dude
more photos in the archives »

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yesterday tomorrow