Thursday, May 3, 2012

Travel Notes: Back To The Little “B”--Bellingham

Mikey's Big Adventure
Brussels, Baltimore— now back in Bellingham.

There’s no point in writing about Baltimore crab cakes; you have to experience them yourself.

Now that the Seattle Viaduct is finally being torn down, I wonder if Baltimore is still the model for how to redevelop a waterfront. Baltimore’s is impressive and people-friendly once you get across the heavy traffic of Light and Pratt streets. I liked the presence of “guides” who answer questions but also carry radios no doubt for security purposes. Nobody’s panhandling down on the waterfront and nobody’s sleeping in the bushes. But one can only walk around the waterfront once, maybe twice, without wondering what the rest of the town is like. For that, Baltimore runs three routes on its “Charm City Circulator,” free bus rides, two of which take you through the downtown waterfront core and out into the ‘hoods, the Orange and the Purple Routes. Great way to see the real city, real people.

One day in Washington DC as tourist. I think about being in Brussels and in Washington, D.C., both national capitals. I agree with the Lonely Planet Brussels guidebook that the massive architectural style of the palaces and halls of justice is meant to convey a sense of power over people.  Our Rotunda and Washington Monument stand in stark contrast with Brussels’ official buildings; you walk up to and enter the Lincoln Memorial. The museums and galleries look imposing— but they are people places, ride free zones, welcoming, edifying.

Here in the small “B”, the Georgia-Pacific site is a big chunk of bay waterfront being redeveloped. Maybe we’ll have Dungeness crab cakes to eat and guides to share the lore. Maybe people’s museums and galleries, even free transit links instead of car parking lots.

--Mike Sato

No comments:

Post a Comment