Posts Tagged ‘Walking’

The Zoo

April 30, 2018

20180421_141557

So, I thought I would celebrate the end of this April challenge by taking a trip to the Zoo. Of course, you don’t know in what order I wrote all of these posts so you bought that line hook line and sinker. I picked the perfect Saturday to go to the Zoo. The sun was shining high up in the sky and there was not even a hint of rain on the horizon. It was about sixty degrees Fahrenheit (16 Celsius) and there was a cool breeze when I set out. I grabbed my phone and my phone battery pack and set out toward the Zoo. To get to the Zoo, I did not climb into my car. I instead decided to walk. Walking would bring me through the woods in Druid Hill Park. This always a slightly challenging but pleasant walk. This time it was filled with Frisbee Golfers. I warily watched them to make sure I did not get accidentally beaned by flying discs.

20180421_141148

To get to the Maryland Zoo, I had to actually walk past it first since the gate is on the far side of the park from my house. I walked the two miles to the gate and there was no line even though it was a nice day. It had been more than twenty years since I had been to that zoo even though it has never been far from where I lived (except when I lived in New Jersey). I had no idea where to go and it was way different from when I had last been. I climbed onto a tram that took me to the actual exhibits. The zoo’s land is very big and spread out and after two miles I was glad to sit in a tram for a few minutes. The ride over was pleasant and then I was walking in a sea of people, most of which were tiny children.

20180421_135931

The first things that I saw to my right were penguins. I had not really been expecting penguins as Maryland is only frosty part of the year. They were cute little African Penguins, though, not the larger varieties from the extreme South. They happily swam around as I took pictures and observed their shenanigans. I then took a trip to the Polar Bear area. The polar bears pulled a me and decided to stay inside and chill. However, right next to their exhibit is the Rise and Conquer exhibit. For those who do not know, Rise and Conquer are the names of the very real ravens that are brought to every home game of the Ravens football team. Between games and offseason, the two celebrities hang out at the Maryland Zoo in what I can only assume is a private bird apartment. Meanwhile, two celebrity lookalikes greet the crowds out in the public part of the Maryland Zoo. Over the years I have become a little obsessed with ravens partly because my hometown is so obsessed with them too.

20180421_135742

From there I pretty much went to grab something to eat since I had not gotten lunch yet. Food was expensive so I just got some cheese fries so I could keep going without overfilling my stomach. It was at this point that I realized that I was not only in a sea of humanity, but I was also in a menagerie of languages and accents. I do not know if this day was different but there were so many people speaking languages other than English. It truly was a melting pot of all these different cultures that were floating around. I definitely thought I heard Japanese, Spanish, and something that sounded Eastern European. I am not sure if the Zoo is a destination for tourists or if it is just a magnet for the more ethnic members of our city. Either way, it was a really interesting soundscape.

20180421_132714

After eating, I made my way into the African Journey section. I was ready to really see some animals. I walked along familiar wooden walkways to various animal enclosures and I saw animals from a whole other continent. I was a little disappointed because the leopard and the lions were being shy. I was especially keen on seeing the leopard because it is a variant of the panther which is the namesake of one of my current Tabletop RPG characters. However, there was a zoo employee in front of the cheetahs and she told us all about cheetahs who were busy pressing their noses against the fence as they watched the gazelles run around across the way. For example, I had no idea that cheetah claws do not retract and are therefore dull and are used more as cleats than as knives.

20180421_141846

I seem to remember all of the monkeys and apes being in cages in the open air but now they are behind glass in a cool little house. I do remember them fling poop as a kid so I suppose putting them behind glass removes that particular hazard. The place was dark and not exactly conducive to taking pictures as I tended to pick up people’s reflections instead. Still, the monkeys are definitely some of the most interesting because they are the most like us without being us. After seeing so much, I was kind of tired. I did not see anything on the map about a reptile house which used to exist. It was my nemesis growing up but I have since become fascinated with snakes (from afar). I decided that since I had been there for over an hour and the place was not far from closing that it was time to head home. I found my way back to the tram and ended up back at the prairie dogs and then I walked back out through the gate. After that, my home was just another walk away.

20180421_144429.jpg

As a side note, there were two reasons that I went back to the Zoo after all of these years. The first was that it was an easy Z word. I could have easily written a story about a zoo for dragons or I could have reviewed the movie Zoombies (Zombie zoo animals) but I felt like walking. The other reason was that I am still playing Pokemon Go and I have walked past the zoo enough to know that there are plenty of awesome pokemon in there. Yet again, Pokemon Go inspired me to exercise more than I would have. Thanks to the app, I know that I walked almost exactly 6 km altogether which is nearly 4 miles. There were a lot of hills and such along the way so I definitely felt like I got a good workout. I definitely recommend a trip to the Maryland Zoo.

Advertisements

A Thursday Fire

February 20, 2017

20170217_134041

There was a fire around the corner the other day. It was a four-alarm fire on Union Avenue, the major thoroughfare in my neighborhood. It is the street I take to work and just about everywhere I need to or want to go. The thing is, I had no idea that it happened. I was asleep at the time and apparently upwind so I did not smell any smoke. The idea that something happened so close to me without my knowledge is kind of spooky but a credit to this city’s firefighters. They took care of the blaze without any collateral damage to surrounding neighborhoods.

20170217_125930

One thing that is also interesting is that I also did not hear the fire trucks or I did and they simply did not wake me up. I was born in Baltimore City and I was raised in that city as well. For most of my life, I have been a city slicker and that comes with accepting certain things. I used to live very close to University Parkway (and at one point on University Parkway) which brought with it certain realities. University Parkway is a major passage for emergency vehicles in that part of Baltimore. It is a wide, multi-lane road that is easy to navigate in a hurry. So we grew up hearing sirens more often than not. So it makes sense that I would not even notice extra sirens nearby.

20170217_134032

Usually, when a fire happens it is a horrible tragedy. If you remember, Baltimore had a huge fire during the riots nearly two years ago. In that fire, senior housing was burned down. Thankfully, nobody had moved in yet because construction was not quite done. Still, housing for seniors is a very important thing to have burned down. The building that burned on Thursday night was not being used for anything at the time. It was an old brick building nearby that I had taken pictures of last year because I found the graffiti on it interesting. The building was slated for development which I imagine will be dramatically delayed but at least nobody was killed.

20160911_124407

This also brought to mind how easy it is to get news, photographs and video of an event so soon after it happened. My brother asked me about the fire the morning after it happened and I had pictures of it on fire pulled up. I had the exact account of how it happened in minutes. It is extraordinary in this day and age that we get simple facts as wrong as we do when the real story is so close at hand. I suppose the problem comes in when so many people are seeing and saying different things. The truth should not be so complicated, should it?

20170217_134048

I walked down to the building on Friday to have a look for myself, partly because I felt awkward about not knowing that the event happened. By the time I arrived in the afternoon, everything was obviously all calm. You can see the damage from smoke on the outside but if you did not know there had been a fire, you would not be able to learn that from a glance. Of course, the double doors were wide open and the shadows inside hid what must have been black scorch marks. The windows that had already been broken, looked a little more heat damaged. On Saturday, all the open windows and doors had been boarded up.

Walking Once More

December 12, 2016

It is getting colder lately and I am starting to enter actual winter mode. Fall was not that cold but a lot of things happened that ended up keeping me indoors more than I wanted. I went and watched the 2016 election results at my cousin’s house. I got off of my Tuesday night class around eight o’clock and I rushed over to the farm to have a good time with some of my closest friends (who happen to also be family by marriage). However, when I arrived, things were already not going so great. As the night went on, things looked more and more grim and a lot of people I know are still struggling with the idea. I think I ended up struggling less thanks to the wisdom of good friends and thinking things through.

deer

Don’t think about the election.  Think about deer.  Awesome deer who rule the park.

Anyway, I ended up leaving around two in the morning because people needed to get to sleep and I was feeling tired and a little sick to my stomach. I got home at three and I was a little too wired to actually go to bed. I decided to eat a little something since I had declined to get a proper dinner directly after class. I cooked up some sausages and watched YouTube videos instead of flipping to any coverage of the election. You have to turn to fiction and entertainment in the hard times or you will go crazy. I woke up tired the next day and immediately threw myself back into schoolwork.

cool_patrol

Some of the true saints of the Internet.

The day after that, I started to feel crummy. I had a disgusting cold with a cough and an annoying runny nose. It made me not want to go on any of my walks because I would get three blocks and I would be sniffling and coughing and feeling self-conscious. I probably should have sucked it up and taken my Dayquil and just do the walk but I can be a bit of a baby when I’m sick. I like my walks but I had low energy and ended up taking it easy instead of getting my miles in. I focused on my studies and this blog and waited for the stupid cold to go away.

stack-1

Master Stacker, please keep sending me signs!

By the time the stupid cold was going away, it was time for Thanksgiving. I was trying to get my homework done while making time to spend with my family. It was a weird week but I have weird but great brothers. We ended up shooting over to West Virginia and we went out for dinner and even did some filming. I also watched Rizzo a bunch as my brother rushed around during a busy holiday week. By the time that was all over, November was almost over.

stack-2

OK. Maybe stop sending me messages. It got weird.

Wow, I meant to write about walking again and I ended up talking through some other stuff. I have started walking again and I am rediscovering the joys of exploration. Before the election, I was easily up to walking three miles within an hour. On Sunday I got back up to an even two miles. I will get back up to a good three miles again. The added distance allows me to find a lot of weird stuff and find interesting people to watch. It also allows me to catch and hatch more Pokemon as I am still playing Pokemon Go. It is a fun addition to any walk along with using Pandora to listen to music. So, I guess that is what I originally made this post about. I also wanted to show off some of the pictures I have taken in the past few months. I rarely take pictures so enjoy.

ravens

Oh!  I also went to a Ravens game with my mom, stepdad and my cousins.

Walking

September 12, 2016

So I have been walking a lot more lately. I have lived in the same place for a long time now but I never walked around that much. I could probably count on one hand how many times I went on a walk starting at my front door. If I was going to walk, I would waste time before a movie in the parking lot in Columbia or go to the gym. After this, I’m not sure I can go back to walking on a treadmill after spending the last week and change walking around. It started with walking around Druid Hill Park because it’s so close but I have started to take different paths through my little corner of Baltimore City. Of course, the impetus of this walking is Pokemon Go but I also want to see something new every day. Sometimes it’s seeing a herd of deer within a few feet of me and sometimes it’s finding something in a corner I never thought existed.

I walked up the hill and started to take a path that I had taken a long time ago. I remember walking it with my mother when she lived in the area. I knew that the path went to the Baltimore Zoo eventually and I had taken it that far once with her. I decided to take a different fork in the path and ended up deep in the woods. Of course, the path was still paved so it was hard to worry too much. In the middle of Baltimore you really don’t have to worry too much about dangerous animals. The worst I’ve seen are foxes and rats the size of small dogs. People are nice in this area too. Everybody just wants to go about their business and the majority of them are jogging or walking their dogs. What I stumbled on was a lane in the woods called Three Sisters. I could not help but think of Macbeth as I stopped to rest and battle a gym.

On another day, I turned down a different path. I was looking at all the paths laid out on the Pokemon Go display and I saw an awesome circular pathway that had a ton of pokestops on it. I headed in that direction and instead of finding my destination, I found a fence. I tried to walk around the fence but too late I realized I had found the backend of the Zoo. There was no way I was getting in that way and there was no way that I would ever jump a fence at my age. Not that I couldn’t but unless you’re a kid, breaking the law like that is never going to end well. So I kept walking down the Mountain Pass even though there are no mountains in Baltimore. I did not expect the road to get so steep. By the end of it, my calves were screaming. I still got home alive, though.

Of course, one of the nicest places to walk that isn’t in the middle of the woods is Clipper Mill.  A lot of my walks include some part of it either as a jumping off point or a cool down period.  The streets are flat as hell and easy to walk down.  Everybody is friendly and everything is sunny and I just feel good walking through that little neighborhood.  I’ve always found it interesting too.  Long before I was born, the mill burned down and left only shells of buildings.  When I moved into the area they were just starting to rehabilitate the area except they didn’t tear it down.  They left most of the buildings up and just made sure they were safe.  The place is clean but it is designed to look like reclaimed architecture.  The industrial became residential.  I love the feeling of walking through the future that is made from the past.  It’s a great area.

fire-memorial

Finally, yesterday I went down a road I have only gone down once but it was when I was tired  and in a car so I could not pay attention.  So, I decided to pick that specific path to go down.  It runs particularly close to the light rail tracks so it pays to  be wary where you walk.  The first thing I noticed was how run down the building I was walking next to was.  It looked like people had thrown rocks through a lot of the windows and nobody had fixed them.  Ah, Charm City.  That is not what interested me most.  Instead, I started to stumble on graffiti.  See, when I was in high school, I was friends people who tagged and some of them were real artists.  Sure it may be illegal but it is a form of human expression and it often doesn’t really hurt anyone and I think I can back that.  The stuff I found yesterday was cool.  It was almost cute.  I’ll leave it here for you to check out and make your own decisions.

At this rate, I will probably keep walking.  It is more fun than the gym and I feel like I am having an adventure.  Of course, I am catching a lot of interesting Pokemon but I am starting to see the world around me.  I get restless in my apartment and going to class does not always fix that.  So, I will see what’s out there and maybe get a little healthier in the process.


Wolfenoot

No Hate Only Snootboops

As Told By Carly

The Ramblings of a Geek Girl

Beyond the Flow

A Survivor's Philosophy of Life

Silvia Writes

Life is a story. Might as well write it.

An Artist’s Path

A space for creative seekers.

The Bloggess

Bizarre thoughts from author Jenny Lawson - Like Mother Teresa, only better.

Silence Killed The Dinosaurs

Comics, Stories, Dinosaurs, Cats

Daily (w)rite

Damyanti Biswas is an author, blogger, animal-lover, spiritualist. Her work is represented by Ed Wilson from the Johnson & Alcock agency. When not pottering about with her plants or her aquariums, you can find her nose deep in a book, or baking up a storm.

The Empire of Carane

Where fiction comes to life

DMing With Charisma

Stories, Reviews and Opinions!

half a 1000 miles

cringeworthy (adj) -- causing feelings of awkwardness or embarrassment

kayrayiam

Adventures of a Gypsy Nurse with a Cryptic Past

Abbs Abroad

27 Months with a Maryland Girl in Senegal

%d bloggers like this: