Next up is Baltimore. This is a city that my youngest sister lived in for a number of years, and enjoyed immensely. My impressions of Baltimore come from the HBO show "The Wire," so I was hoping that the city looked better than what that show depicted... I was sorely disappointed. Driving though the city I was struck with the feeling I was starting in to the sixth layer of hell. The entire place seems to be rundown and falling apart. Nothing looks nice, even the bar district was crap. The food in the bar district on the other hand was awesome.
Right after landing in Baltimore, you learn who is calling the shots in the city. Normally in airports all across the country, there are shuttle buses from the various car rental companies that pick you up curbside and take you to the rental facility. Not in Baltimore. There is only one bus to take all of the rental people to a central rental garage. When I asked the bus driver, much to the chagrin of my wife, about why only one bus, and no many shuttle buses from the individual companies, the driver responded that the bus driver union made it so that the rental companies couldn't have their own buses. Only a union bus driver driving an airport bus, serviced by union workers in a union garage can do the drop offs and pick ups... Ok, so the unions run the show.
Driving around in Baltimore reminds me of driving on the dirt roads back in rural Nebraska. Lots of potholes and loose gravel. The streets looked like an IED went off every few feet. Anyway...
The major industry in Baltimore is government contracting. My old company has a HUGE presence here, as well as all of the other players in the government contracting business. There is a bunch of SharePoint work in the government arena. Interestingly enough BOTH of the major contracts that I worked on at my previous company had their offices in the Baltimore area. I could easily go back to work for them.
Maryland is a may issue state. The permit is issued by the local police department, and, in Baltimore, that means that a permit will never be issued. Guns are strictly controlled in the city, ensuring that criminals are the only ones armed. Kind of explains all of the home invasions and car jackings that go on in the city.
Training is sparse in the city, a couple of schools are around the area that I would be living in. The one I would likely go to has three black belts, and the other schools are taught by brown and purple belts, so.... I don't know I will have to try them out. I wasn't able to train in Baltimore, because of time restrictions.
Again, aviation is very tough to come by. Being so close to Washington D.C. in the post 9-11 world did in many of the small airports, and killed the local flight scene. However there are opportunities to learn how to fly sea-planes and helicopters.
The cost of living in the craphole that is Baltimore is very high, about 30% higher than in Oklahoma City. Taxes are high, and unions rule the roost, so services are poor.
All in all, this place is near the very bottom of places I would want to live. If the wife doesn't get the job here, I don't see myself EVER coming back to this place.