After eating my way through the Netherlands, this continued as I journeyed through Belgium. Whilst in Belgium I explored the essence of waffles, chocolate, beer and a whole other spectrum of personal demons as we prepare to bring in the New Year… so here it is, some personal, some ridiculous and some factual, this is Shit I Learned In Belgium!
- There is a statue of a small boy pissing in the city centre known as the “Mannekin Pis”. For some reason this has become a national symbol of the Belgians and it is hilarious. On top of the Mannekin Pis, there had to be a lady version of this bought about to match the humour of the boy. As such, they have the “Jeanneke Pis”. This is the cheekiest and most amazing statue ever! I am in love with her and find it a total shame that they have hidden her in a back alley.
- There are three things I totally hate in this world. One is coffee. YUK!! Massively detest. The second is olives. And the third is beer. For some reason I seem to have this avid loathing of all things that other people seem to love. And yet, here, in the country of beer, I DRANK MY FIRST BEER!! OK so it was a Lindeman’s Raspberry flavoured one and it tasted nothing like beer and more like a raspberry soft drink, but hurrah! Winning! Am a beer drinker! (Well, kinda….)
- “French” fries are actually not French, but actually Belgian. As French is spoken in Belgium, it appears that the American’s who came over to visit and took them home gave them the name “French fries” with the misunderstanding that despite French being spoken there that they are not in fact French. In the many years I have been going to the pub to have meals and they are served with a side of salad and fries I never realized that this is where it comes from. So what else do you eat for your New Years Eve dinner except a Flemish stew with a side of fries and salad. Delicious!
- On the topic of New Years, I decided one evening in the company of a friend and under the influence of much wine that deleting the phone numbers/messages/Facebook profiles of any ex boyfriends or even dates was a smashing way to start over. Of course the great man Murphy is not having any of this shit and sees to it that you get messages from majority of them in the following week of deletion, even from ones you dumped two years ago, just to test how strong your resolution not to message the fuckers back is. So far excellent. No messages despite how much I want to tell them they are ginormous nobs. Well done me! Have learned self control this week.
- The word for whipped cream in Dutch is ‘slagroom’. I literally cannot help but find this funny.
- The only European colonization of a country where the profits reaped from this country went to a solo king and not to the state was when Leopold invaded and took charge of the Congo.
- Speaking of the Congo, I did not realize Tintin was a Belgian cartoon and the second of the comic books was ‘Tintin in the Congo’ featuring one of the most racist representation of the African’s you have ever seen. You can Google this and find the comic online but apparently this is an amended and tamer version than the previously more racist version… it is still however, quite racist.
- And the final thing I learned in Belgium is that pretending that you don’t speak French, Dutch or English by speaking Spanish instead will always get you into trouble because everybody seems to speak about a million languages and the ones they speak are totally unpredictable. I got caught speaking to a strange man in the street because he spoke Spanish…. excellent!
Keep you posted on the next adventures! Until then, happy reading and learning!