Looking for a surreal, and somewhat tragically beautiful experience?
Take a train through Baltimore, through the poorest and most forgotten sections of a city past its prime, ideally at sunset, when the sky itself is a parfait of pastel colors. Notice the houses with the falling-in roofs. Look at the boarded-up windows.
If you can, listen to classical music while you’re riding. Not majestic music, trumpets blaring and drums beating; choose, instead, something simple. Perhaps a piano line that is slow and melancholy without being dramatic. Watch the children playing basketball on a court where the asphalt has broken into chunks. See that house at the end of a row that is almost entirely broken, see that house with its new siding and carefully-tended lawn. Wonder why. Where is such hope and perseverence born?
The landscape changes again, quickly enough that suddenly the train speeds over water, quickly enough that the sunset has deepened only slightly. Stars are lurking up there somewhere, hidden now, waiting to burst forth when the time is right.