Last Days in Tilberg and Arriving in Antwerp

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February 16th 2010
Published: February 22nd 2010
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Ok! So it's Monday the 22nd now, but since I didn't have internet for the second half of the trip I'm just writing theses blogs now! I got back yesterday. Let's go back in time and pick up where we left off........

So Sarah and I woke up really early to go and check out the goat farm and "midget golf" only to be completely foiled. We took the bus to a super random part of town, but the walking directions that the bus website had given Sarah didn't match up with where we were at all. We walked around in the freezing cold and snow for a while, not seeing where we were, and eventually gave up on our dreams of seeing the 7 famous goats at the farm and the 100 different types of pancakes available at the restaurant there. Such is life!

We went back and visited the Scryption museum in town. It's a museum totally dedicated to the history of writing, and specifically one priest who developed the method for learning how to read in Dutch schools. We had the fortune of meeting this awesome women who worked there who gave us a tour

we were so happy that the sun finally came out!!!!
of the museum in English--because all the information was in Dutch!

The next day we made tacos for her friend Bali (Singapore) and her friend Matea (Slovenia) and her boyfriend who was visiting. I was dying to eat more guac after the one we had in Amsterdam, and so I made a batch, as well as a batch of homemade salsa that wasn't too shabby. This was about the time that I noticed I was started to get sick with a cold.

Tuesday night we were getting ready to leave the next day for Belgium, and we were planning on going out to a club. We had a few hours so we decided to watch a movie on her computer through this website that her and some friends had used the week before. We were watching "The Lovely Bones" and just as it was getting to the good part, Sarah's computer starts wigging out with all of these message saying "Your computer is in danger!" "Your computer's information is vulnerable!" and messages saying she had 25 viruses on her computer including like 5 Trojans. We contacted her brother to see what we should do, but he could only

a public urinal. yes, it is what it seems! you just whip it out and go right there!
help us later in the night. Needless to say, movie time was over and Sarah's computer was on the brink of death. It was a solemn time.

So then we went to the club until her brother was going to be available. Carnival was still in full swing and I was the only person there who hadn't felt like dressing up. MY cold was getting worse, and I was developing a nasty cough. The music was this terrible techno-disco-polka and I wasn't really feeling it. I was tired and really just wanted to leave. We stayed until around midnight and then took the bus back. Sarah was getting her things to talk to her brother, and I told her I was just going to go to sleep, because I wasn't feeling good.

The next morning, I notice that Sarah's alarm isn't going off to get us up to go to Belgium. It turns out that she had been up until 4am trying to remove the viruses and still hadn't finished! On top of that, the train acciedent that occured in Brussels was still affecting train routes, and we didn't know if all trains in Belgium were still halted, or for that matter, if when we entered Belgium, I would be able to take my train from Brussels to Besancon. It was a hurried and demanding day as we figured out what to do. We spent the morning at the campus, Sarah working the the school IT people to fix her computer and me researching the train situation.

We went by the train station and found out that at least train where running INTO Belgium, and we decided to go for it. We went back to her dorm, got our stuff together and caught the 5:00pm train to Antwerp, glad that we weren't going to have to miss our reservation at the hostel.

Our train arrived in Antwerp at 7:00pm (much later than we had ever originally planned) and we walked outside to investigate the public transit options, because it was a long walk and it was already dark. Antwerp was looking a little sketchy at the time, plus we were tired, so we decided to take a taxi. The driver took us to the street and dropped us off. But we couldn't see where the hostel was. There was no sign. So we walked to where

the train station at Antwerp
the address should be and saw painted in small letters on the wall the name of the hostel. This was our first indication that this was going to be a very strange and sketchy place. We ring the bell and go in and a woman is waiting for us in the hall. She takes us into this dimly like living area where there are people--mainly middle aged guys--watching a soccer game, and one guy is sleeping on a couch. It smells like cigarettes. She scratches our names off of a handwritten list and takes down our passport numbers. We pay and then she tells us about where stuff is and leads us to our rooms. We were staying in a 16 person female dorm. I asked if there was a computer--even though i knew it was silly, because she didn't even have one. She didn't even have a reception desk, she was just sitting at a table with other guests.

Hungry, and seeing that we weren't exactly in an area that had anything, Sarah and I walked across the street to a Chinese place. The woman only spoke Dutch, so we comically ordered using my French-Dutch phrasebook. We watched

the hostel
the make the food and put spoon fulls of MSG into the stir fry. Yum. But it was hot and it was food. Back in the hostel den, we sat at the table with the "reception" lady and this other Australian guy who supposedly worked there, but was just smoking ,drinking beers, and watching the game. I ordered a beer and Sarah and I played a few rounds of cards. The more time we were there, I more I adjusted to the space and actually embraced it. IT was a super ecclectic room lit dimly with Christmas lights, and the Australian guy was keeping a steady stream of good, mellow music on the speakers. There were odds and ends on the fireplace like peacock feathers, amulets, etc. It felt bohemian. Sarah and I went upstairs around 10pm and settled into bed--the mattresses were all spring and no cushion. Yikes!

Additional photos below
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the entrance to the bohemian den

the chinese place

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