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Friday, September 19, 2003

Holiday report - Wednesday 20th August

Quite alot happened on this day, which was dominated by Baltimore. First though, we had to get a map of the State that we were about to enter into. This proved difficult, but then the Divine Providence intervened in the shape of a handy 7-11. Forewarned with Maryland transport geography (twas a road map) we set off. We were suitably provisioned and ready to navigate the dangerous roads surrounded the Charybdis that is DC and the Scylla that is the Wrong Way. mmore listening to Rush Limbaugh. My conservative heart was truly warmed in the glow of this completely unapologetic, thoroughly biased radio show, the like of which could never exist on this side of the Atlantic. The day was cheifly divided into four parts.

FORT MCHENRY

The defence of this fort from a British fleet in the War of 1812 inspired what eventually became the American National Anthem (see, we give you all the best things ;) ) . The fort itself was very interesting. A little out of the way, but with useful, if somewhat tacky, boards. A very pleasant view up the river estuary as well, though a not so pleasant one of some rusting piers. An ideal place to have are packed lunch.

USS CONSTELLATION

The last all-sail warship built in the USN, in 1854. A frigate, incomparably luxurious when compared to similar British ships (a whole deck just for the crew to sleep and eat in. As opposed to messing in between the guns). A very good set-up with an audio tour. Highly recommended. There is something about wooden ships that is just so much more alluring then metal ones.

GETTING LOST

I make a separate passage for this, because lo, the devilish Marylanders caught us out with their indecipherable signs, wierd one-way systems, faulty maps, fauly roads, and so on and so on. The fact that I was navigating had absolutely nothing to do with it! Nothing! :D

More seriously much fun was had as we tried to work out firstly where the hell we had gotten too going from the Fort to the ship. I don't think we ever satisfactorily worked that one out. Then we had to navigate the Baltimore road system. The less said the better. But eventually we found the parking lot we were aiming for. Which just happened to be in Camden Yards. Which leads me to...

BASEBALL

Orioles v Devil Rays. We had seats high up right behind home plate. They were excellent. This is the first 'proper' sporting event I have ever watched live and in person. I really, really enjoyed myself. From my vantage point we could see the entire field. OK, so we couldn't see the guys close up, but so what? When someone hit a ball we got to see how the field reacted, far clearer I am convined than if we were much closer.

It confirmed my opinion that baseball is, in many ways, like cricket. We did not watch every moment avidly - that would have been utterly boring. No, we chatted, watched whatever was going on, chatted, but if interesting stuff was going on we paid attention. The excitement may have been helped by the fact the Orioles won, here is the link to the scorecard for the game. Much much fun was had, and I might go so far as to say that the experience firmly decided me that baseball is a game I like to watch.

Of course, the Wild Card situation that prevailed when I was in the States for the NL was fantastic as well, 7-8 teams within 5 games I think. A little more spread out now, but who says you need relegation/promotion to make a league exciting? (OK, loads of idiots on this side of the pond, but not me!).

And then we went home.

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