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David's Thoughts

by David Placher

Friday, December 08, 2017

Awesome • Osaka

Japan’s 3rd biggest city boasts stunning architecture & unique eats

Traveling from Tokyo to Osaka by bullet train is about three hours and the train ride takes you through Japan’s beautiful countryside. Osaka is a large port city located in the southern center of Japan. It’s Japan’s third most populated city and is a major economic area. Although it was heavily destroyed during World War II, it was rebuilt and recovered quickly. Osaka’s nickname is Tenka no Daidokoro (nation’s kitchen) because of its reputation as a foodie’s paradise and its food exports to other countries and to other cities in Japan. Regional dishes include okonomiyaki (pan-fried batter cake), takoyaki (octopus in fried batter), udon (a noodle dish), and oshizushi (pressed sushi).

Friday, November 10, 2017

Providence • Party On

At any good party, no man’s an island. Neither is Rhode Island!

Traveling to Providence, Rhode Island, from Baltimore is easy and very affordable. Several discount airlines fly to Boston, and from Boston’s airport the Silver Line (public bus that runs partly underground like a subway) goes to South Station, a train station, where Amtrak offers tickets to Providence for as little as $14. Providence is the capital of Rhode Island, the smallest state. Providence is geographically very compact because it was developed prior to the automobile. It is a densely populated city with a beautiful river walkway in the middle that separates part of the city from areas where higher education institutions are located. Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Johnson and Wales University are located in Providence. Although there are many things to love about Providence, the three that standout are its history, its WaterPlace Park, and its LGBT progressive movements.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Tokyo • Asia’s Hub

World’s largest metro area dazzles with calm efficiency

Traveling to Tokyo, Japan, is exhausting, but exciting. Depending on the airline, you can expect to spend at least 15 hours on a plane. When I travel abroad, I usual go with one of my best friends, who lives in New York City. For this trip, I travelled from Baltimore to New York City by Amtrak and then flew on Korea Air from New York to Seoul, South Korea, and then on to Tokyo, Japan. A total of 17 hours in the air. The round-trip ticket was around $1,400. Tokyo is 11 hours ahead of Baltimore and you can expect jet lag. Many people in Tokyo do not speak English, but many do understand it a little.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Chicago • Prarie Brash

Traveling to Chicago for a weekend trip is easy and affordable. Spirit, United, and Southwest airlines offer round-trip tickets from Baltimore to Chicago starting at $140 if your timing is right. Chicago has two airports and both offer public transport to downtown. Chicago is the third-most populous city in the US and a major business center. Its famous nickname “Windy City” comes from the frigid breezes that blow off Lake Michigan and go through the city’s streets – though some say the moniker references Chicago politicians, deemed to be “full of hot air.” Famous landmarks include the Millennium Park, Grant Park (where former President Obama gave his acceptance speech on November 4th, 2008), Navy Pier, the Willis (Sears) Tower, the Magnificent Mile, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago is popular for its history, its city planning and development, and its cultural diversity – of which the city’s large gay community is a glittering jewel.

The 2016 Pulse massacre reverberates still through Orlando city politics. Councilwoman Patty Sheehan, whose district includes Pulse, talks with Baltimore OUTloud

On June 12th, 2016, a deranged gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 at Pulse, a gay bar and dance club in Orlando. “Some families lost their only child and another family lost a mother. So much pain,” said Commissioner Patty Sheehan, Orlando City Councilwoman who represents the district where Pulse was located and is herself a member of the LGBT community. “It was a hate crime against the LGBTQ people.”

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