Act One Scene 1

Trip Start Apr 07, 2010
Trip End Sep 11, 2010

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Flag of Belgium  ,
Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lesson 1 in solo travel.  Never befriend a bummed out Moroccan if you are a woman or anything resembling a woman.  Even if he is your age and dresses like you and seems fine.  I am pretty sure I found the Brussels that they dont tell you about in the guidebooks.  Let's just say I went to Casablanca and back- except that Humphrey Bogart wasn't the one taking me.  Rasheed was. 

It all started when I noticed as soon as I got to where I was staying that there were a lot of beautiful Muslim women around.  After finding a good Mediterranean place to grab a Belgian "Greek" salad so I could pig out on chocolate and waffles after, I chatted with the French speaking middle aged Morroccan woman about what to see and where to eat the sweets.  next thing i know i have the map in hand in the great grand place, bustling in the late afternoon sun, and a nice looking French speaking Mediterranean young man asked me if I spoke English: "Yes, I do," I replied.  "You look like a friend of mine from Latvia," he answers.  Since I am already lost even though my restaurant friend drew me a map, I ask: "Where is this waffle place and chocolatier?"  Rasheed says: "I take you, and I show you the peeing baby too,  He is famous."  


We stop along the way to rub the famous Saint lady's hand for good luck or success.  I take my turn amongst the crowd to touch the skirt and hand and Rasheed says, "Oh you want a baby too?"  

So I must have rubbed the wrong part....

He takes me to see the peeing baby that is so famous - and on the way there is the waffle place.   So he buys me one.  Taking advantage of desperate & lonely foreign man?  Yes I am.  But how can I pass up free Belgian chocolate waffles????  In a further attempt to lure me into his dysfunction, Rasheed says - "Now you try famous Belgian beer. I buy."  Hmmmm, free? ...OK!  

I haven't been drinking lately, so I wasn't planning on trying it, but again, free beer in one of the capitals of beer?  With a dude named Rasheed?  By a peeing famous baby statue?  When in Rome!  Or should I say when in Morrocco.

During beer time Rasheed explains he had horrible work problems that day and the real deal seems to be coming out.  I realized I was a pick me up retreat for 'ol Rasheed so I began to panic and pick myself up outta there.    

"I speak 3 languages. You want hear me speak Arabic?"  Phone rings.  "Now you listen me speak Arabic."  Then came the serenade. In Arabic, in the restaurant, at full volume, sitting at the table.  Awkward....

As if this weren't the best part.  He followed this with "Father and Son" by Cat Stevens:  Now I'm not complaining, on paper this is one of the most ridiculous and amazing things that has ever happened to me.  But going home with a depressed Belgian Moroccan man - even if he does like Cat Stevens - is no where near what I had in mind for day 1 of this pilgrimage.  I think Rasheed got the point. 

So once I lost Rasheed, I got my long awaited chocolates.  a pistachio; a caramel; and one I have no idea what was in it but it had the word princess in it :)   And that is certainly not a Moroccan princess.

From Belgium,

...more photos here:

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Your favorite Aunt on

Hi, Lori. I'm glad you reached your first two destinations. How exciting. Belgian beer and chocolate! Not to mention the peeing baby. Looking forward to your next tale. Take care. Love you.

Dad on

Great story! Looking forward to the next.

Lesley Stern on

Without the Rasheeds of the world, where would we get our great stories (and free food?). Absolutely hilarious.

Crys on

Ha! Welcome to Europe! What a great tale : ) Can't wait for more! Love ya

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