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Published: September 30th 2017
What's a Drug Opera? A cheesy daytime drama involving bizarre love triangles, people coming back from the dead, kids miraculously turning into adults overnight, and lots and lots of heroin?
Geo: 50.8371, 4.36761
Had a hot chocolate and granola bar for breakfast. Stupid crappy blankets at the hostel were too short so my feet were cold all night. I wanted to see what the girls were doing ... but surprise, there weren't awake yet! Last night they mentioned needing some help with their essays and I offered to help - but only because I am a big proponent of higher learning!
I walked down Rue Nueve, a pedestrian shopping street. Too bad it was Sunday and all the shops were closed - I'm sure it would've been hopping at any other time. There were 3 H&M clothing stores within 2 blocks - crazy! They're the clothing equivalent of Starbucks - spreading everywhere, well on their way to world domination. Though I'm not a fan of Starbucks, H&M is great - nice, cheap, and pretty good quality clothing. I probably will eventually become jaded and hate them once they spread some more. It's always only a matter of time for me!
Off to Le Grand Place - I grabbed a pain au chocolat on the way. Oh baby, how I've missed you ... it wasn't the best but was still good. Off to
Ahhhhh ... pain au chocolat ... how I have missed your sweet lips and tender kiss ...
the upper town (after getting lost). Skipped the Beaux-Arts and modern art museums. I just went inside the atrium where I spent a few minutes before walking back to the lower town. The architecture and layout of the area is a lot like Washington, DC. Saw a sculpture garden on the way, but sadly it was closed.
Sampled some snails at an antique market (check out pics). I was looking for a street mentioned in the guidebook that had some nice places to browse. I couldn't find it, though I looked and looked. After quite a bit of walking I realized that I was already on it when I began my search! 30 minutes of aimless wandering could have been saved by spending 10 seconds to look for a street sign in the beginning. But hey, sometimes getting lost and wandering aimlessly can be the most fun you can have!
I grabbed a turkey sandwich on the way back to the hostel - bad, dry wheat bread, though it had some nice veggies and tasty mayo. I wolfed it down rather quickly (2 PM already, and I'd only eaten a granola bar and a pain au chocolat - I
The Church of St. Jacques.
always forget to eat when I travel!).
Saw the girls on their way out to the park to work on their essays. They didn't need any help until after 😞 A bunch of Spanish girls checked into our room - I tried speaking a bit of Spanish with them but got nowhere! One was particularly beautiful and of course, this is the one that had a boyfriend! As Barbara and Marta left they said to me "Enjoy the new roommates!" How did they know? Is my Spanish obsession that obvious? Well, they were from the Andalusia region and had ultra-sexy accents ... the glistening of the drool on my goatee probably tipped them off.
Douglas and I grabbed lunch (mine was only a Duvel beer - bitter! Not to my liking). There's some nice eye candy in Belgium and it was nice to enjoy it out in the sun on a patio. There appears to be a big immigrant community here so the women are fairly exotic-looking.
We walked back to Le Grand Place, where I had a mocha gelato at Galler. Not creamy or particularly good, but it was better than nothing. Douglas decided to go
Part of the photo exhibit at the Parc de Bruxelles.
back to the hostel after only a few minutes. He was pretty exhausted having only slept a short while last night. I continued to walk around, however.
Le Grand Place actually reminds me a little bit of the square in front of Santiago de Compostela's cathedral. Santiago is famous as being the end point of a pilgrimage that stretches over 900 km, all the way from France (Paris, Vezelay, Le Puy, and Arles are the most common starting points). So I was inspired to do a pilgrimage of my own - see the pics. For once in my life, I truly understood what it felt like to be called by a higher power ...
I did some more walking and saw a lady eat an ice cream cone by sticking the ENTIRE thing in her mouth. She must've learned that in porn star school. Stumbled upon a mall that was ½ tourist junk and ½ cheap clothing for locals. A very common type of mall in Europe.
Walked back to the hostel - no one was around so I went to the grocery store but it was closed. I grabbed a Jupiler beer at a convenience store -
A pretty interesting exhibit - if I had more time and I wasn't so hot, I would've spent more time browsing.
better than Duvel but not as good as Maes. I quickly finished it before going into a Chinese grocery store - I didn't want them to think I grabbed it off the shelf and started drinking it!
I was hoping to find some yogurt but should've known that there wouldn't be any in a Chinese store. But given the questionable hygiene standards in Chinese stores, I probably could've found a jug of spoiled milk under a radiator that had turned into yogurt. It's funny - even in Europe the Chinese stores have the same stale/fishy smell. All you Asians reading this know what I mean.
Back to - you guessed it - Le Grand Place. Browsed inside a biscuit store. They keep it extremely hot inside - maybe to preserve the cookies? The last time I was in such a store was in Carcassonne, France - I ended up paying a lot for some pretty average cookies and didn't want to repeat my mistake (see Euro 2006 blog entitled "A mix of Disney, baguette, fromage, and merde!"😉.
Being hungry I grabbed some frites. Much better flavour than yesterday's. Crisp, with an interior similar to mashed potatoes -
The Royal Palace.
light, fluffy, and creamy. They reminded me of the best hashed browns (oh baby ... hashed browns ... ) I've ever had in my life - at a Travelodge during a business trip in Regina, 5 years ago. Why can I remember such silly little details in life, but forget all the important things?
Anyway, I sat and ate just enough of the fries and excellent mayo so that I was able to walk and eat the rest without spilling a bunch all over the ground. Back to the hostel where I napped, chilled, and used the internet. The girls came back - they didn't get much work done as there were too many distractions in the park. They had already eaten but Douglas hadn't, so we went off for dinner near ... Le Grand Place!
Douglas needed cash so we searched for an ATM ... for 30 minutes! We did find a few but none of them would take his ATM card, for some strange reason. Finally found a place and settled on a kebab place. I had grilled chicken and lamb, served with the ubiquitous frites. There was also a simple salad of lettuce, carrots, cabbage, cukes,
Reminds me of the stereotypical Parisian park.
and yogurt sauce. A surprisingly good meal. I asked the waiter what beer he had - I didn't recognize the name of it so I figured I'd try something new. Turns out it was a Jupiler - nooooooo! Not that it was bad, it's just that I wanted to try as many different types of Belgian beer as possible while I was here.
I had to have a waffle after dinner. I stuck with a plain one with icing sugar. After seeing mine, Douglas had to get one too! The waffle was fresh, crisp, and chewy ... I probably looked like a cocaine addict after eating it. Powder on my nose, goatee, and all over my clothes.
Back to the hostel - on our way, I pointed out what looked to be a gay bar to Douglas. He laughed and said "I think this is the gay area!" as he pointed out many other bars that looked the same. At the hostel, I saw Barbara and Marta sitting in the common room so I sat and chatted with them. Had some of their Chimay beer - good stuff! I asked Marta if she'd poured a beer before, because
Cows being slaughtered. Can anybody say "BBQ"?
it had a lot of head (and for once, I WASN'T being dirty). She seems to be a pretty straight-laced girl but she looked my straight in the eye, giggled, and said (with her cute Polish accent, I might add) "But I like head! I like REALLY BIG head!!!" What can a guy possibly say to that???
They told me of how the locals are extremely aggressive and way worse than guys in Italy. I guess Marta was eating a popsicle in the park, and was chewing on the stick when she had finished. This simple act resulted in some pretty rude comments from one guy. Upon hearing this I apologized and told her that if I knew it was her, I wouldn't have said such rude things!
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