Lucia has something to say

Sunday, May 20, 2007

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.

7 Comments:

Blogger QT said...

What an interesting dinner converstaion you must have had. I am glad you gleaned a bit of adventure from this trip. :)

10:18 AM  
Blogger jen said...

i wonder if you'll summarize the whole of the trip for us at some point, the ups and downs alike. it feels so different from your other travel stories, this trip you just finished. melancholy and light, both.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

We managed to miss the Manneken-Pis when we backpacked through Brussels, which seemed almost a sacrilege to the many other travelers we met.

1:35 PM  
Blogger thailandchani said...

Very interesting! And your posts lately seem richer somehow... deeper - more personal. I really enjoy reading them!


Peace,

~Chani

6:54 PM  
Blogger pei wei said...

I once thought that it was almost..egoistic to choose one religion because that would mean dismissing all other religions, with their history, culture, millions of believers etc. Explains why I'm still a free thinker I guess - the inability to choose and by virtue that choice tell everyone else, "You've got it wrong"

11:20 PM  
Blogger Gordo The Geek said...

Along pei-wei's lines, I've always felt that the name of The Standard Church (Wesleyan Methodist) is rather arrogant in that all others are, therefore, non-standard.

I love the way you right in vignettes about your trips, Lucia. Thank you.

9:08 PM  
Blogger sabbeth said...

I found you on a RSS newsfeed and am very interested in where you found the fair trade clothing in India. I haven't read your entire blog, but I notice you also mentioned Bangladesh , something else I'd like to talk about. If you have a chance, I would love to chat by email.... (elisabeth @ livingwageclothing.com)

Thanks,

Elisabeth Garson
http://www.livingwageclothing.com

7:49 AM  

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