Sometimes a guy just needs to spoon ...

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April 21st 2007
Published: September 30th 2017
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My biggest regret from the last Euro trip was not having a spork to eat yogurt and deli food with. Well, this time I bought the king of sporks - made of ultra-lightweight and ultra-strong titanium. You could probably stick an entire turkey on the end of this thing without bending it. In fact I tried, but my skinny arm snapped in half. Rumour has it that this spork was forged by Thor himself, and that he favoured this spork over the "Hammer of Thor" when he backpacked! True story!
Geo: 50.8446, -113.878

Ahhh ... traveling again ... it feels nice but it's funny because I really haven't been very excited about this trip. I think I've been spoiled the past few years - anything less than a month feels like a short weekend getaway! Though I hadn't even left yet I was already imagining returning home - I saw the ending before it even began, if that makes sense! And for that reason I saw no reason to get excited ... until today!

I couldn't sit still at work and had a lot of nervous energy. So I stuffed myself on Spolumbo's sandwiches and potato salad that were served at a lunch and learn. My nervous energy was converted into a bubbling cauldron of stomach acid, slowly decomposing Genoa salami, marinara sauce, and provolone cheese!

I booked a few hostels and changed my plans slightly - I'm going to squeeze in Amsterdam. Reading up on Belgium, I didn't think it was necessary to spend 7 nights there. I could've squeezed in Luxembourg instead but I prefer to see Amsterdam. Though I've heard that Luxembourg is nice I think I only want to see it because I like the name.

Ahhh ... a little bonding before the trip by spooning with Becky, the backpack. It has been so long, my love. Never again will I let you languish in the closet for months on end ... once again we are together, and will see the world once more!
It sounds so regal!

Got to the airport - it's pretty sad because I actually have grown to enjoy being at airports. The excitement, the anticipation, the hope ... for me it always signifies the start of something better. Of course, the return journeys are the exception - they're just plain depressing!

I did some walking around at the airport to burn off the excess energy. It was a lot less hectic than the last time I was at the airport (see blog entitled "The Trials and Tribulations of a Wannabe Spanish Casanova Part 2: Hoping That the Women of Latin America Have Lower Standards than Spanish Ones"😉. No drama getting onto the plane this time!

I always seem to feel so normal and at peace when I am traveling. I have a tendency to get caught up in the mundane aspects of day-to-day life. The unimportant things that bother me seem to evaporate ... I magically regain my perspective and creative juices once I switch to travel mode.

There was a good selection of new and old music on the plane, such as Soul Asylum's "Runaway Train". I haven't heard it in ages but it's still a classic!

Ooh ... a menage a trois with her younger sister, Denise the daypack.
But then ... they played a Fergie song! All that money she's spent on plastic surgery to make herself look like a muppet should have been used to buy some musical ability. Though I did like some of her older work with the Black Eyed Peas, her solo effort is no better than the medical waste leftover from her facelifts!

I did a little napping, reading, and writing - a very relaxing flight. I had a dinner of chicken Basquaise - the flavour actually wasn't too bad with a tomato sauce loaded with bell peppers. I'm not sure how it's a Basque dish (it's definitely not as good as Basque tapas!) but it was filling. But it wasn't very visually appealing - all the condensation on the inside had formed into a large puddle, and it was accompanied by some form of risotto that had dry, chunky, and cheesy bits. The salad was only plain iceberg lettuce - not even a sliver of carrot for colour or rogue cockroach for texture and crunch! I used to work for the company that caters all of Air Canada's meals so I know all about their sketchy hygiene standards. The big packet of

Some guy using the internet at the UPS store in the Calgary airport. What is he typing? Could he be frantically searching for flights from London to Madrid, so that he can go find the Spanish senorita of his dreams? I'm sure that happens all the time, right?
balsamic vinaigrette was actually larger than the salad itself.

The meal could have been worse - I suppose I could've wretched and choked on my own vomit and died. Ahhh .. the inner optimist in me manages to rear his ugly head every so often. I was disappointed that there was no dessert supplied on the tray ... but then they came around with ice cream! I felt like a man that had been crawling through the dessert and finally got a sip of pure, fresh mountain spring water! But sadly, it was only vanilla ...

As I ate the ice cream I had a million-dollar idea - those disposable wooden ice cream spoons they use taste like crap. Why not make flavoured ones? Perhaps hazelnut? The problem is that I would have tried to eat a hazelnut-flavoured spoon, wretched and choked on my own vomit, and died.

A cab-merlot was served with dinner. Horrid! I've never before described wine as being pungent, but this definitely was. Dry, strong, harsh ... Alec Baldwin's character on "30 Rock" once had wine so terrible a wine critic described it as tasting "like the urine of Satan after a hefty

Pshaw! Purdy's chocolates - you're nothing but trash compared to your elegant and sophisticated Belgian cousins!
portion of asparagus". Well, this wine was even worse - more like Satan's piss after a hefty portion of asparagus AND a severe kidney/bladder infection! It WAS the right colour, after all!

The first movie playing was "Dream Girls" - I passed as I have no desire to see Beyonce act. She should stick to her booty-shaking in formulaic R&B/Hip-hop videos. Though I had a surprise - Steve Urkel isn't dead, and he is actually in this movie!!! Thank goodness for the music on board - I'm really digging the new Killers song "Read my mind". Definitely not as good as what was on their first album (who could ever forget "Mr. Brightside"?) but still catchy.

Interesting song selection of the flight - Fuel's "Falls on me". Curious as it never really achieved any degree of commercial success - the problem is that they could never again match the greatness of "Hemorrhage". For me, it's still one of the best, most powerful rock songs ever. Once you achieve greatness on the first try, you will always fall short afterward. That's why people should adopt my approach to life - if you shoot for the bare minimum at the

Donations - for what??? It doesn't even say! I should set one of those up somewhere and use it to fund my travels.
beginning, you will always find a way to surprise and achieve!

"The Red Violin" was the next movie - I've always wanted to watch it because I've heard such good things about it, but it was pretty lame. Bad acting and disjointed storytelling ... it's the story of a violin that spans several hundred years. Not cohesive at all, but perhaps this was the intent to emphasize its epic journey through time. There was a pretty stupid twist at the end. Two thumbs down! Perhaps the only thing that could have saved the movie was replacing Samuel L. Jackson with Beyonce's booty-shaking!

I actually managed to get 3-4 hours of sleep with numerous short naps. The third movie "Eragon" managed to put me asleep for the first half but I had to suffer through the lame last half.

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My lotion, bagged in a see-through and resealable bag, just like the security people like. Yes, I REALLY do carry lotion with me and I REALLY am a girly-man. So I have been asked by a few people - why Belgium? First, it's convenient and cheap to get there from London. But most importantly, it's the home of many of my heroes. What famous Belgians could possibly be my heroes, you ask? Maybe Bruegel, the painter? Liz Claiborne, the fashion designer? Perhaps Kim Clijsters or Justine Henin-Hardenne, both top-ranked women's tennis players? Audrey Hepburn, actor and special ambassador to UNICEF? Gerardus Mercator, creator of the Mercator map projection? Or the ultimate humanitarian, Father Damien, missionary on the leper island of Molokai, Hawaii? While all these people are heroes in their own rights, I like to think my personal Belgian heroes have had more of an impact on human history.

Personally, I could not care less but some people consider Jean-Claude Van Damme to be their hero. For those of you that know him, just ask Tri - if you're lucky, he might even show you the shrine he has created to honour Van Damme. He even proudly displays it in his bonus room window for all his neighbours to see!

But I do have to say that Pierre Culliford is one of my heroes. He's the creator of "The Smurfs". I'm probably the only one that will ever admit this, but wasn't Smurfette pretty hot? Though always flaunting herself in her short skirt and high heels, and being the only female Smurf around, I'm pretty sure that she was a bit of a ho.

Dr. Evil is one of my Belgian heroes, too. I hope to one day hold the world ransom for "One meeel-yon pieces of Belgian chocolates" and to create a 1/8 sized version of myself out of white chocolate (probably white chocolate with a little bit of yellow food colouring ...) But there is one Belgian above all that has literally shaped me into who I am today ...

... Bernard Callebaut! Like Michelangelo, this man is a master sculptor. But it is sad that his works of art disappear so soon after he creates them. I must admit, I cry salty tears when I eat his chocolates ... salty tears of frickin' joy!

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