the adventure continues

December 2008: Graduated from university January 2009: started getting sick December 2009: worked on beating cancer January 2010: TBA

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Location: Seattle, WA, United States

newly minted alumnus of the Art Department at the University of Idaho; BFA in studio art, with a history minor


Field Trip II

...or: Belgian Chocolate is Better Fresh

We took the train to Brussels early Sunday morning and met up with a tour group to take a bus to the city of Brugges (find a Frenchman for the pronunciation... I’m not going to try to describe that one). We had a bit of down time near the central plaza of Brussels, but it was very tourist-y and full of people and souvenir shops. I despise touristy-souvenirs; especially the little “aged-finish” metal objects such as bells, spoons, clocks, pencil sharpeners, and especially copies of “le mannequin pis.”

The bus ride was quite nice-- much better than a Greyhound or charter bus in the states. Our guide was an older man named Jose, who looked vaguely like “Lyman Zerga” from the movie “Ocean’s Eleven.” His voice was deep and often switched languages mid-spiel. This was entertaining, but not nearly as much as the boat-tour-guide who was a Brit. _He_ could’ve been a stand-in for Michael Palin, with a sharp wit and heavy accent. While Jose explained some of the basic history of the town, “Mike” filled us in on trivia about canals, bridges, buildings, nuns, the Dutch, and much more. Actually, both men are quite talented-- I heard each of them using at least three different languages in a proficient manner, and I’m sure they know a few words in at least three more tongues.

After an hour and a half of being taken around by our various guides, there was “free time.” Most of my group had already departed to sample the delights of Brugges some time before, but a couple of us hung around and then headed down a side street from the main square to find cheaper food and more local shops. By coincidence we stumbled upon a small chocolate store and bought a couple of kilos of really good hand-made chocolate. The good news is: the chocolate is tasty. The bad news is: it doesn’t travel well, and I won’t be able to bring much with me. My suggestion for anyone interested in chocolate is to give me a call or email me and start planning another trip for next summer or fall. Seriously, it’s worth it.

The vagabonds

A few of the people who left the tour early never got back to the bus-- considering who it was, it wasn’t much of a surprise for our field supervisor- who arranged the tour. Remarkably, they arrived back at “home” only half an hour after us, having decided to jump on a train back to Brussels shortly after the bus had left. In America, someone would’ve had to go fetch them in a Hummer or something-- no public transportation for the wicked.

All this transpired on the same day that the FIFA World Cup was scheduled to be played. What does this mean? A lot of Italian and French flag waving, face-painting, drinking, shouting, and obsession. Apparently, Italy was the favored team of many people in Louvain-la-Nueve-- since they’re none to fond of France. I did not cheer for Italy, however, because I have heard there is some question as to their sportsmanship and possible shady dealings. Vive la France!

None of that international rivalry stuff stopped us from having a party anyhow-- there is a terrace on the roof of our building which is really pleasant in the evening. I finally deemed myself fit for a few sips of ‘vin blanc’ and we also enjoyed the company of our professor, Dr. Young, who came up and chatted for a while.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooh!! It all sounds SO exciting. I haven't been keeping up, because I haven't had internet until today. I'm so excited for you/incredibly jealous. :o) Hurrah for good chocolate (I'm still whittling away at my birthday stash). I hope you continue to have a delightful time. I must away to take care of some business-type-stuff.

Many loves!

2:10 PM  

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