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Saturday, August 12, 2006

first friday evening in america

so a week has passed. Spent a full working week here and it was fun. After a long time I was working in the daytime. Since it was the first week, i was treated rather well. Both the bosses took turns to pick me up from the motel on their way to work and drop me back. They also stood me lunch a few times. I visited a place called Panera breads which had some awesome onion soup and sandwiches, a place called Pastablitz which was nice, a subway and an indian buffet which was very satisfying. Had roti and dal after quite a while and just filled myself up.

Workwise the pace was good. Got quite a few things underway and the next week should see some results start to come in. Today I worked from the motel and that was nice too. Went for a lunchtime swim, which is pure sinful luxury on a working day. Cooked me own lunch, which was heating up a matar paneer thing and making some rice. Also some nice bitter chocolate to top it off.

I went to meet a writer with whom I had a correspondence some time ago. She lives in downtown Baltimore near the John Hopkins Uni and that area is very lively and vibrant. I set out at 5:30 and caught a bus down to the city. Bought an all day pass. Once I reached downtown, I took a look around. Had been a little shocked by the neighbourhoods the bus had passed through. They were not like the pretty little white parts of town, but were more grungy and rundown. The disparity is pretty starkly visible. They are nice enough places compared to the ones in india, but compared to the rest of the town, they are just glorified slums.

The inner harbour area is nice with lots of tourist attractions. I got a little lost and walked into an area where there were pretty girls standing around on the street looing bored. A bit further on and the signs saying "hustler" and "you must have a drink at all times" made it pretty clear that this was a place where sex sells more blatantly than usual. I made my way towards the more shiny and bank type of buildings and asked around. I was directed to a bus stop where the #3 bus would take me to John Hopkins Uni where I was to find a cafe called Donnas.

Sitting in the bus, I suddenly spotted Donna's through the window and got down in a hurry. Waited around but couldnt spot my friend. So I asked the bar guy if this was the only Donna's around and I found that it wasnt, the one I wanted was another couple of miles down the road. I walked on, but couldnt find a bus stop, and a few more buses passed me by without stopping. Stopped and asked a policewoman for directions and she said it was another mile or so off. Said not to worry since it was a safe neighbourhood. So I walked on again..

Finally I got tired and stopped and asked an asian looking guy for directions. He told me it was still quite a way off, and I gave a loud sigh. He said that if i waited a couple of minutes, he could give me a lift part of the way. Soon he reappeared and I got into his car. He drove me straight to Donna's and I got off. Thanked him profusely and asked him if he was indian. Nopes he said, Pakistani.
Same thing I said, and he smiled. We exchanged numbers, and I thanked him again.
I believe he just came back to drive me out to Donna's and after that would have driven straight back to his house. Asian hospitality for you, and in its full glory in the US of A.

Met my friend, and we had a nice dinner, then caught the 10 pm bus back to the harbour, then the other bus, which was surprisingly crowded back to my motel.

My first adventure in the wild wicked west and it was quite fun actually. I think I shall buy some more day passes for these buses and see more of the area around this far so good...

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