“Wherefore art thou Baltimore?”
For I didn’t really see you. I couldn’t get around to the famous sites, if you had any, that is.
“Let’s get together. And do pie charts” was written on a sign in the lobby of the hotel I stayed in and it was actually a very accurate description of the time I spent in this fine crab city.
We arrived at our hotel at an hour when no normal person should be awake. Unless your breast feeding a baby. Or contemplating war or some other serious shit. After breakfast we received a message that our lift would be a guy wearing a yellow rain coat as per weather forecast. What we didn’t expect was someone in a failed attempt at a Minion costume. Bright yellow, with his hood tied a little too tightly, showcasing big round spectacles, he looked more like a big road cone. Maybe his dress was intentional so we couldn’t miss him.
Mr Road Cone turned out to be Santa Clause in disguise. A friendly, jovial old man, with blushing red cheeks and a big round belly. A total contradiction to the more common grumpier versions. This guy didn’t even need the white beard or red coat. After a while I was expecting him to complain about Rudolph and show us his sleigh.
One cannot have everything in life, and even though he seemed to be the sweetest person, his gullible nature was exploited by his co-workers. As was evident by this conversation we had somewhere between pie-charts and price negotiations.
John: “So Santa, did Pieter tell you about his pet lion? The one he has in his backyard?”
I was laughing at the joke.
Santa (very surprised): NO! He didn’t. Seriously? A pet lion.
My sense of humour disappeared and turned into a sense of disbelief. Was he actually buying this crap?
John: Yes, didn’t he tell you? He has a pet lion.
Santa turns to me and I’m absolutely dumbfounded. I didn’t have any words and hoped my brain went camping; for how else would I be able to have this conversation. I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience.
Santa: How did you find it? The lion. Was it a stray?
I knew I had to say something, and remove the WTF-expression I was wearing. I didn’t have any options, as I didn’t want to insult my host by laughing in his face, so I killed the joke. I told him that his colleagues were pulling his leg and that South Africa doesn’t have any stray lions walking around. And if you ever do find one, best not pick it up, for it might eat you.
The funniest thing was that Santa didn’t even seemed embarrassed about his wrong assumption, he actually seemed disappointed.
After spending a lot of time together we went for dinner in the revamped harbour district of the city. Part of the menu was a five step instruction on how to eat crabs. Intriguingly, the menu also showed the difference between male and female crab anatomy. As if that would make any difference in the taste of crab meat? Maybe it does, maybe the female meat is a little bit more tough…
I ordered a few crab cakes, of an unknown gender, as I wasn’t in the mood for using a hammer to put meat in my mouth. When we left I also got my first glimpse at a Halloween party, which did nothing to prepare me for the onslaught I was going to experience later the week. More on that in another post as good things comes in good time.
Next stop Houston.