Belgium: Last Day in Brussels
A life too planned leaves too little to chance.
So I parted ways with friends to venture out on my own for a time in Brussels. Being with myself. Experiencing the city. Passing by the reclining statue of 'T Serclaes, which I had earlier rubbed for luck. My Indian friend and I agreed that there’s no sense passing an opportunity which may bring good into one’s life. Especially in an instance where it takes very little effort. I stroked from head to toe. I did not do it again when I walked by this time. Perhaps a second time may have reversed the charm rather than bring double luck.
I continued down the street to Manneken-Pis. Yes. Translated: Manequin Piss. A statue of a small boy pissing that has become a wildly popular tourist symbol. Hundreds of people stop to have a look, and he has more than 600 costumes, all designed so he can continue his endless pee. We adorned him in fair trade clothing from India earlier in the day. Because that’s what is done with official sanctions from the mayor. There’s a mildy Monty Pythonesque site on Manneken-Pis here that’s worth a look, just for the amusement.
I stopped in a restaurant for dinner. I was there only a few minutes when, as often happens in European restaurants, two guys were seated right next to me. They had met at the youth hostel. One a South Korean student in Europe for his first visit. And the other a tennis-pro from California competing on a team in Switzerland. The Korean spoke very little English, so I spoke mostly to the American. We shared travel stories. He’d been playing ‘round Europe, and told me that Nigeria has a great tennis player who rates in the top 200. (I learned that only the top 200 in the world can really make money playing tennis.) While I finished my beer and gave half of my pizza to the tennis-pro, who seemed not to be flush with money and burning thousands of calories a day, he started. Proselytizing. And I talked about my friends - Hindu and Muslim, Christian, Jewish - and how I can no longer believe that all of those cultured souls must adopt a foreign religion.
I slept soundly in puffy white comforters at the hotel, woke up refreshed, and dragged my luggage, wheels bumping over the cobblestones, to the central train station to go to the airport. Goodbye Brussels.