Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Baltimore or Less!

Ok, so I'm catching up on my blogging. Now you're probably feeling inundated by posts about my summer exploits. This is an entry about the second of three summer trips that Michelle and I have taken with Mike and Jenn this year. There was a trip back in the spring also, and there will likely be a fall trip or two. As with the previous blog, I'm going to direct you to my website's gallery for pictures of the Baltimore trip. The main reason for this trip to Maryland was for a concert, which was being performed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. They performed the music of Final Fantasy, composed by Uematsu Nobuo. The game series has long been a favorite of mine. I've played it since I was very young, starting on the Nintendo Entertainment Center. I haven't missed one at this point. It's a great series, with sweeping, epic story lines and fun characters, but I digress. This was about the music. So we left on a Friday evening and drove all night to arrive in Baltimore, where we stayed at the Lord Baltimore Radisson. A very interesting hotel for sure. Beautiful decor and a picturesque lobby, but the rooms were a little worn, if cozy. The shower was insteresting. One end of the bathroom was just curtained off and there was not so much a stall as a corner. It was very institutional. Took some getting used to. :) So what did we do? First let me tell you that the concert was phenomenal! The music was played while a screen above the orchestra played different scenes from the games, and slideshows of character art and such. I absolutely enjoyed myself. Anyone would enjoy the music, whether they had played the games or not. What I love about Final Fantasy's music is that it really does stand on its own as great work. It's much more than the looped 8-bit synth and bleeps and bloops that a lot of games employ. Uematsu-san is a talented man! Fine Jon, the concert was awesome. What else did you do? Well, I'll tell you. We spent a lot of time at the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore. There are historic buildings, historic ships, great food, and great shopping all to be had in a four block radius. We had lunch one day at Edo's which is a nice Japanese place. Alright, one picture. Here's my lunch: Fun eh? That's Edamame, Teryaki Chicken, A pair of Spring Rolls, Four pieces of California Roll, a really tasty piece of Volcano Roll, and a salad with a carrot/ginger dressing. Awesome. We also took time out to visit a museum while we were there. I've posted a lot of pictures on the Gallery of everything from old chain armor to a mummy. The last big ticket sight that we saw in Baltimore was Edgar Allan Poe's grave. His grave was interesting, but the whole cemetery is incredible! The architecture is sometimes bizarre, and there are some huge names from American history buried right in the same place as Poe and his family. You'll find pictures of that adventure in the gallery as well. A couple of cool facts: Poe was moved from his original plot, across the cemetery, when it was decided that he should be honored with a memorial. Also, the church that shares the grounds, is actually built over the cemetery. There are catacombs beneath the church. We wanted very badly to see them, but apparently they are off limits, or they were while we were there. We could see through the locked gates somewhat, though. All in all, I really liked Baltimore. It's an old town. Really old. At least here in America. The buildings are a mix of all sorts of styles. Roman, Modern, Victorian...there are just different things to see everywhere. The people were friendly and the culture was rich. And a good time was had by all. Tune in next time when we hear Jon say: "I'm not sure how I ended up crammed in this tiny box with my hand sticking up through a table." -J

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