Trip Start May 16, 2006
Trip End Aug 16, 2006

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Flag of Belgium  ,
Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Brussels was nice. Very nice downtown square thing, but overloaded with tourists. And not just any tourists, Japanese tourists, with their telltale cameras that are bigger than they are. They always go in organized tours, always with a Japanese tour guide, always hit the big sites then run off to the next place. Not for me.

This reminds me of a new passion of mine that I acquired in London. So I was wandering around one of the main tourist sightseeing areas, (Westminster, etc), when I turn a corner that puts you in view of the stunning, completely beautiful Parlaiment building, I think. Or else it's some other building. Either way it was really nice. Anyway, the point is, I turn the corner to see, along the sidewalk, maybe 10 people taking the exact same picture of this place. Maybe ten are standing and looking and not taking a picture. It was just very surreal. So, at this point I become more interested in watching the dynamics of the picture-takers at the tourist hotspots, rather than the tourist attraction itself. I spent much of the rest of the afternoon going to a tourist spot, admiring it for a minute, then seeing if I can get the most interesting cluster of picture-takers. I havent looked through them yet, but I'm sure there are some good ones. I really feel ridiculous standing in a crowd taking the exact same picture of the exact building that ten million other people have seen and taken a picture of, the exact same way.

Anyway, the reason I was reminded of this is that Brussels has, possibly, one of the best places for pictures such as these, possibly in the world. There is this one "famous" little fountain of a baby peeing. It's really very ordinary, but it's all over all the souvenir shops and such. So at this one corner, crowded around this very uninteresting statue, is a whole swarm of people at any given time, all taking pictures of it. Some guidebook must have told these people to come look at it. Either way, it made for some good additions to my "tourists are weird" collection of pictures.

The next day I went to a car museum showroom type thing, lots of old cars. And a brewery. It's a very small and traditional one. The process was interesting, but the beer tasted absolutely awful to me. Artificial or not, I take the new methods over the old.

And I ate some chocolate. And a waffle. Which pretty much wraps up all that is Brussels. Except french fried... never got around to it, but they're supposed to be good. Oh, one more thing... a lot of chocolate shops are little mom and pop type places where they, I guess, make their own chocolate. This is fairly normal, until you see how these shops are identified. A typical one would be something like.. "John Smith - Chocalateer". Chocolateer. Of all words. It makes me wonder if, in his chocolateer training days, he had to master horse riding and swordsmanship.

Oh, and one of the nights I went to a pub that had 2500 different beers. Only in Belgium, I would guess.
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