2007 Sep 17 | Baltimore with Monica

UH closed down Wednesday night at 5pm and reopened the next day at 12pm. We had scheduled a speaker for the Practice Management Association that night, but since they were locking all the buildings, we didn't have any place for him to speak. Thankfully he was scheduled to speak the next night as well, so he just combined the two lectures. The university wanted to make sure everyone got the news; I received 2 phone calls, about 4 emails, and some text messages that the school was closing. After all of that, there wasn't even a cloud in the sky.

In clinic lab we practice on each other. We dilate so we can see inside the eye better. Dark (brown) eyes don't dilate very well and light (blue and green) eyes open up a lot more, so it's much easier to see around back there when you're looking into the dilated eyes of a blue-eyed person. Apparently I have some of the lightest eyes in my class because everyone kept leaving their partners to come look in my eyes since they could see everything so clearly.

I flew to Baltimore to see Monica because she would only be working there another week or so. This is downtown Houston from the airplane.

Southwest does a few things differently from other airlines. They take your drink orders like a waitress rather than bringing the cart around. It seems a little nicer, but the lady behind me didn't speak English, so in that case it would actually have been better to have the drink cart as they could have just shown her the options.

The lady in my row and I were both napping, so they just left the food in the middle seat, which I thought was pretty nice.

Our plane's outline on a cloud.

The harbor in Baltimore.

Probably not the cheapest of places to live.

The first thing Monica and I did was go to the Taste of Baltimore where they had a lot of little vendors set up. You bought tickets and then bought things from the vendors with those tickets. We primarily got food; cotton candy, pulled pork, cheesecake, etc. Right after we bought the cotton candy we walked by a stage with people promoting a fitness program; needless to say we tried to scurry past that as fast as possible.

A neat bunch of apartments.

Some more Baltimore buildings.

The Inner Harbor has most of the things to do in Baltimore. There is a building on the right side of the picture that has a great view of the ballpark near the middle. However, a motel is being built between the two, so the people in the building won't be able to see any more. Out of the picture to the left is a bunch of apartments being built on huge pontoons they set in the bay. Again, it would be pretty annoying to have ocean-front property and then have people still build in front of you.

A view from the 13th Floor, a club/bar on top of the Belevedere Hotel. It's in the bad section of town, though, and considering Baltimore always ranks in the top 5 of most dangerous US cities, we didn't stay too late.

The aquarium in the Inner Harbor lights up at night.

Well, I guess I'll add Maryland to Texas on the list of states where drivers will often sit in the left lane and go slow rather than pull into the other lane and let you by.

Sunday morning we went to Havre de Grace, a little town north of Baltimore with the oldest continuously-operating lighthouse in the state.

You can go up to the top and look around. I've concluded that Monica and I will never be able to live near each other. She loves this weather; about 60-70 degrees, snow in the winter, etc. For me, anything below 75 degrees at any time of the year is pushing it; if I'm more comfortable wearing jeans instead of shorts, it's too cold. Of course, every time I get back to Houston from anywhere, the heat and humitidy hit me like a blast furance the second I walk out of the airport, so southern Texas is way too warm.

The also have a maritime museum and in the back people are working on boats they're building by hand. It was weird being able to just walk around all of them; most places would rope you off so you wouldn't break anything.

Another sign of a small town: if you don't want to get locked out, just find a block of wood somewhere, stick it in the door, and put it back when you're done.

Sunday afternoon we went to Medieval Times, which is a dinner theater. They don't have silverware; you have to eat everything with your hands.

The horses were very well trained and they performed a lot of tricks, like only walking on their back legs.

They had six knights and six sections of spectators and each section was supposed to cheer for their knight. Ours was the red and yellow and he won the tournament. He really was the best at many of the challenges they did, like grabbing rings with their lances.

After the challenges, they got on to the good stuff. They actually jousted, with splinters flying around and everything, which I thought was pretty impressive.

Then they had sword fights. You can tell our guy is fighting by Monica's screaming and shaking me at the end. All the fights were planned ahead of time, and some were very obvious (slow swings, waiting for a few seconds to get hit), but some of the knights actually swung pretty hard and had sparks flying. Our guy even used a mace with a chain and two balls which he smacked into the other guy's shield with an awful lot of force.

A movie theater in the mall that has an Egyptian theme.

One of the things you have to remember about Southwest is they don't have assigned seats. That means if you want a good seat, you not only have to be in group A, but you also have to go sit near the front of the line about 30 minutes before they start boarding. When we got to Houston, they said, "We'd like to welcome you to Hawaii. Unfortunately, we're actually welcoming you to Houston," which got a chuckle out of most people.