Monday, January 18, 2010

The Little Big City

As I mentioned in my last post, I've moved to Charm City. Yepper, Baltimore, Maryland, home of the Orioles, Ravens, steamed shrimp as only they can do it, and crabs. I was a little nervous about moving to the Big City, and I didn't quite know what to expect. The first thing that surprised me is how small it is.

Yes, small. You read that right. The city itself is big, 92.1 square miles according to Wikipedia, and they're generally right on target about stuff like that. I expected huge avenues surrounded by skyscrapers. There are some tall buildings around, like the Legg Mason building, in the new Harbor East area, but by and large what I found were miles and miles of charming row houses along narrow streets. Pretty small, when I grew up in a rancher and the folks now live in Grandma's two-story. The houses are narrow, some so narrow that I didn't think I could get my furniture in. (As it is, I have a mattress and box spring in my dining room. Free to a good home as I couldn't get it up my stairs.) It is spacious, though, and for that I'm grateful. When I was looking for a place to live, I bumped my head so many times that I took to putting my hand on top of my head before I went up or down steps. One of the hazards of being tall.

My house is precious, a 1929 rehab with the original oak floors and exposed brick. But it is small. Which leads me to the porch, about 8' by 3', but by city standards it's gigantic. And the yard. Yes, yard. Yards are uncommon in the city, so I feel quite lucky to be able to have a plot of 2 flowerbeds, about 6' by 2' each. I planted flowers in the lower one and plan on growing herbs in the upper one. Herbs don't take a lot of room and have a high yield. Again, small plants for the small plots.

The cars are small too. There are fewer SUV's and more Fits and SmartCars. They need to be small to fit in the parking pads (if you are lucky enough to have one) and the parking spaces. Around here, folks think that bumpers are for bumping, which leads to a lot of what we call "parking by Braille."

The stores and bars are also tiny. Although they tend to be bigger than the houses, they are still tiny by the standards I'm used to.

Even the wildlife is smaller. Back home, I am accustomed to seeing rodents, true, but they tend to be raccoons and possums. The most common form of wildlife (four-legged, not the wildlife at the bar down the street) I've seen is the rat. Currently, the Rat Count is up to four; three living and one dead. They all look like this picture below.

Really, I have a lot of respect for rats. They rid the area of garbage, and the ones around here are shy, running if they hear something coming. That is a welcome change from the raccoon, who will sit and stare at you. I prefer the live ones though. The dead ones don't move, and then you have to take care of them.

The one part of the city that isn't small is the people. Next time I'll talk about the people of this city, who from my experiences so far have quite large hearts.

10 comments:

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Nice. Never been to Baltimore, but as a foodie and seafood lover, I look forward to it someday.
Gotta get some of those G&M crab cakes.

MountainLaurel said...

SH, let me know when you get here. I'm also a seafood lover and have found the best crab cake and steamed shrimp in the city. At some point I may need to do a post on Bawlmer food.

Sarah Cooper said...

I've only been in Baltimore for a quick trip and only saw the bigger city areas. From your description, I think I'd like to see the parts that feel more like a real neighborhood. I look forward to hearing more!

MountainLaurel said...

Sarah, if you ever make it back here, I'd be glad to show you some of the more neighborhood type of areas. It's pretty interesting. It really is like a bunch of small towns all clumped together.

Buzzardbilly said...

Nice blog, but so sorry to see you got ad bombed in the comments. I had cousins who lived in Baltimore when I was growing up, and we used to love to visit. It's a fine city. And, you got Poe.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Hi Laurel. I always thought of B-more as unique an American city as New Orleans was pre-Katrina; never felt comfortable there, however, even the first time I visited at the age of 4 or 5.

How on earth, by the way, did you end up there? Job? School? If you told me/us already, forgive me, I've forgotten. That might be a cool post.

MountainLaurel said...

Hello BB! Glad you found it interesting. There is a bar not far from here called Annabel Lee. It's a bit pretentious for my taste, but I do love the Poe quotes on the walls.
Kit, I took a job here and ended up in the Greektown area. I had been here several times before I moved, but nothing really prepares you like living in a place. I, too, find it has a fascinating, unique character. I'm not comfortable here, either, and I've lived here six months (yesterday, in fact). As a woman living by myself, I"m never 100% comfortable. I"m always careful and looking over my shoulder. But again, I'd rather be too cautious than too complacent. Kit, should you get here, please do let me know.

And thanks, ladies, for the encouragement and comments. The spam had be down a bit, and you've given me the inspiration to keep it up.

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ชื่อที่แสดง said...

Nice. Never been to Baltimore,


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