Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ballmer, Merland

Going up the Patapsco River is similar to going up the Delaware—lots of industry, and little real scenery, unless Sparrows Point steel works can be considered scenery. he "industrial hand of man" has been quite busy on our major waterways in big cities.

Finally spotted this unique red, white, and blue buoy. It marks the spot where Francis Scott Key sat on a boat watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry.

We’re now back in our old stompin’ grounds. We pulled into Baltimore Harbor (Ballmer to the locals) around 4 p.m. and spent an unproductive hour trying to 1) unload our bag of recyclables, and 2) finding WiFi. Ballmer is behind the times on both counts. Gal running the marina office told us she’d take our recyclables home with her to put in her curbside bin—which Baltimore JUST began! Yegads, next thing I’ll hear is that Frances Scott Key is still trying to write a cool national anthem.

Saw this impressive 4-masted barque (ask Jake what that is) anchored in the harbor. Some crazy crew members ( e.g. Jake) have no fear of heights and actually go aloft to make the sails all neat and pretty when they anchor. On MicMac, we simply furl the mainsail into the mast. Then it’s five minutes to happy hour.

I got all excited to see a Texas flag on this big ship, and thought the Bushes were onboard. But it turned out to be a Chile flag. Beebe hasn’t painted this one yet, but there’s still time! Actually, we thought it was a Puerto Rico flag, but serendipity had us eat dinner at a newish Italian restaurant , Cinghiale, right across the street from the marina. The restaurant manager told us that the Esmeralda is the Chilean Navy training ship and that his father-in-law is a shiphand.
Cinghiale (Italian for wild boar) was a great choice for dinner too. Actually, we had reservations in Little Italy, a few blocks away, but another downpour left us drowned rats hiding under Cinghiale’s awnings. Looked in and that was that.

Getting back to ships . . . artists would be painting only still-lifes if it wasn’t for boats. Every time we walk into a gallery or museum on the Chesapeake, we realize that Bill Beebe has a lot of company, although no way near as talented. Everyone is painting ships.
Speaking of Beebe, the Pride of Baltimore II is not here today. . . and I wanted to compare her to the Beebe version. I forget which one she is in his painting, The Virginian (shown here).

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor really is a hoppin’ spot, and so much different from the real dives on the waterfront that I remember from college. Marlon Brando fit in there, and he actually might still fit in today.

Just saw one way that Baltimore is WAY ahead of other locations. We saw this weird looking “tractor-on-water” gizmo approaching us in the marina. Finally figured out that it’s a marine scooper-upper cleaning vessel that skims off garbage and other flotsam. I had read about it last year after googling ways to clean up floating debris on the Potomac. A much larger version was much needed then post-tornado—to remove the floating trees. Anyway, it looks like it’s as much fun as driving those Duck Tour boats.

1 comment:

  1. Hey P and MA, keep up the Mic Mac musings. I enjoy reading. We're off for a spur of the moment trip to the riverfront fishing cottage near Brevard NC, check it out at: Kids eating with M & D on Sun in our absence. Later, Laurel