July 16: Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Lebanese food, and way too much traffic, alas

I’m so glad I wasn’t doing the driving today. Downtown Baltimore is a nightmare to drive in, and they were doing construction on top of that. Teri was amazing to get us all through that and still manage to take us where we were going.

That said, I really liked the Inner Harbor area. We walked along the waterfront for a bit, and saw some interesting sights including a very odd piece of sculpture with a wonderful fountain at its base, and the weirdest trash collector I’ve ever seen. We ate lunch at a Lebanese restaurant (I’d never had Lebanese before, but it was close enough to Greek that I kind of knew what I was doing, and it was pretty tasty).

This, believe it or not, is a contraption that scoops garbage out of the Inner Harbor.
This, believe it or not, is a contraption that scoops garbage out of the Inner Harbor.
This is a sculpture celebrating Polish history.  It had a wonderful fountain as its base, too.
This is a sculpture celebrating Polish history. It had a wonderful fountain as its base, too.
This, I'm told, is the Bromo-Seltzer tower.  Apparently the guy who invented it lived in Baltimore.
This, I’m told, is the Bromo-Seltzer tower. Apparently the guy who invented it lived in Baltimore.

Then we drove around in the traffic for a bit more until we arrived at a park called Federal Hill (at first I thought Teri had said Federal Hell, and wasn’t that in DC, not Baltimore?), which gave us lovely views of the Inner Harbor area, and had a cute playground with a pirate ship and a screwpile lighthouse jungle gym.

An extremely bizarre sculpture, viewed from Federal Hill.
An extremely bizarre sculpture, viewed from Federal Hill.
Another view from Federal Hill.  That tan area is a beach volleyball venue.
Another view from Federal Hill. That tan area is a beach volleyball venue.

The playground at Federal Hill.  That's a screwpile lighthouse (a common lighthouse construction in Chesapeake Bay), and a pirate ship [g].
The playground at Federal Hill. That’s a screwpile lighthouse (a common lighthouse construction in Chesapeake Bay), and a pirate ship [g].
Then we went to the Museum of Industry, which was fascinating. Sort of like MOHAI in Seattle, oddly enough. We went on a tour of the museum with a guide who was knowledgeable and entertaining, and who even operated some of the machinery on display for us. We saw stuff about canning oysters (and vegetables in the off-season), and a working machine shop from the turn of the last century, and a tailor shop, and a pharmacy (Noxema was invented in Baltimore [g]). And we saw a print shop with a linotype machine that made me feel very old.

The linotype machine at the Museum of Industry.
The linotype machine at the Museum of Industry, and our tour guide.

My first full-time “permanent” job was as a display ad proofreader at a chain of newspapers in the Bay Area, and we worked in the same room as the folks who set the type for the articles and the ads. This was in the days before computers were widespread in that industry (I worked there from 1980-1983, and they were just moving to computers for part of the process when I left), and I remember the linotype machines.

Oh, well. It was a lovely museum, and I had a very good time. We were going to go to one of the last drive-in movie theaters in the country tonight, but there’s another thunderstorm booming and crashing (and, for a few hours at least, dropping the temperature to something resembling human) out there, so no movie for us, at least not tonight.