The Ominous Adventure

Ominous
1. portending evil or harm; foreboding; threatening; inauspicious: an ominous bank of dark clouds.
2. indicating the nature of a future event, for good or evil; having the significance of an omen; being a portent: Some of these events were immediately ominous, while others only later revealed themselves as such.

This week is National Public Safety Telecommunications Week so hug your friendly dispatchers because you never know when you might need us. 😉 For those new to this blog this week celebrates my job as a 911 (Police/Fire/EMS) Dispatcher. Each year there is a conference held during this week and last year I went to Baltimore to attend. My co-worker and I went a couple days early so we could visit Washington D.C. I had never been before and we only had two days so we crammed as much as we could into that time. It was so much fun; I would go back in a heartbeat.

DC

Tiny me in front of the monument!

Back in Baltimore we had free time after the classes were done for the day so we decided to do some exploring. My mom had asked if I could get a picture of Edgar Allan Poe’s memorial grave marker. Due to Poe’s popularity I figured this would be an easy task. It was not. After looking up directions we set off on a beautiful spring day. Our hotel, located on the east side of the harbor, was about half a mile from a metro station so we decided to take that to Lexington Market. Now if we had researched properly we would have taken a cab…or not gone at all. Our first hint was the metro station. It was a little A LOT sketchy. It was a short ride to the next station and out we went. (Now as a warning I’m about to sound seriously racist or politically incorrect but I SWEAR I am just telling the facts like they are.) As we emerged into the daylight we looked around and quickly realized we were the only two white people in sight. We saw at least five police officers with a crowd of people so we hurried the other direction. The looks we got were great; two white girls wandering about, obviously lost and out of place. We got turned around trying to figure out which way was Westminster Hall. We got a lot of catcalls. I’m not going to lie, there were a few times I was a little scared but was not about to turn around. I was going to get that picture. We FINALLY made it and I was so relieved.

Still not sure this picture was worth it….

We spent a bit of time at the Hall looking at the different graves and taking pictures. It is a interesting, beautiful place with a lot of history. When we were done we (hesitantly) headed back out to the street. There’s signs everywhere directing people to Poe’s museum house on Amity Street. It was only a half mile walk and there was still plenty of daylight so we decided “why not?” Again…bad idea. Actually this was a worse idea. Right past the hall there are the medical campuses for the University of Maryland which are clean and nice so there was nothing indicating things were about to be bad. After you cross MLK Jr Blvd you enter a sort of ghetto area. Lots of run down houses, graffiti, boarded up windows, bars on windows. I can go on but I’m sure you get the point. Again, I’m trying not to project but we’re pretty sure we witnessed a drug deal going down. There were some young ladies spray painting a wall. At this point we decided we would go a little further and if we didn’t find anything we would turn back. Then it happened. Out of nowhere a young gentleman came speeding up on a bike and stopped behind us. He was soon joined by 4-5 other males who were following not so subtly behind us. Now I’m not sure if it was the stress making us crazy or if we really heard this but the words “I’ll take the one on the left” rang clear behind us. I’m not sure why but I shoved my phone in my bra.  Without even looking at each other, as if mentally conversing, we took off. I have never walked so fast in my life (at the time running didn’t seem smart, it seemed wiser to appear as if we didn’t care). Knowing we couldn’t go back the way we came we took whatever roads looked safest and wound up at a major road. We followed it back to the medical campus which eventually took us to another metro station and back to our hotel. We had never been so happy to see a rich, glitzy neighborhood in our lives. To celebrate our safe return we went out for mussels at Bertha’s Mussels and had a few drinks to calm ourselves.

Later at a local shop I had a conversation with the owner about Poe and he happened to mention that the museum had recently been bought by a company who had closed it and was making the area into affordable housing. His advice: don’t try to visit it. If only we’d been to his store earlier in the day.

So that’s the story of how I almost got my co-worker and I mugged and/or killed in Baltimore. The city was not quite what I had expected and I know I only saw part of the city but what we did see was a hole! Sorry to anyone who lives there…

Today is Bat Appreciation Day. I had to look into it because I was pretty sure it was the night creature but I was afraid if I assumed that it would be for baseball bats or something. It’s also National Haiku Poetry Day and I wanted to write one but I’m not good at it. If I come up with one I’ll be sure to post it.

**To see pictures of Baltimore or D.C. check out my photo blog!

We’ll meet again at P!

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