Archive for May, 2009

I ate waffles with fruit, ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and powdered sugar for dinner!

May 29, 2009

Belgium is a wonderful country. They have their priorities straight. There was definitely that European tempo to life in the city of Brussels, where people would just sit around all day in the park or on benches, as if they were exactly where they needed to be. It’s like they were acting as backgrounds for my tourist experience, encouraging me to loaf along side them. Amazing. The weather was perfect the whole trip as well, being sunny and warm during the days, and just cool enough for pants and short sleeves at night. Everyone was out and about.

I did eat a waffle as described in the title of this post. It was great. I then had a nice hot cappuccino afterwards while sitting outside  in the Grand Market Place in the middle of Brussels.

I went toeach little restaurant in the square, sampling a different beer at each place. Belgian beer is strong, but it is tastier than most beers. I can drink an ale usually, but just plain American beer doesn’t taste good to me. Even nice German stuff gets too strong for me after two, at most. But the Belgium stuff tasted better and was stronger. The average American beer is two to three percent alcohol by volume. German beer sits around five or six. Belgium beer was nine on average, so it doesn’t take much. Good thing I didn’t have a rental car, I suppose. I never would have been able to drive it!

The chocolate is as good as they advertise and have a reputation for. It was curious to see many foreign chocolatier there as well, like Godiva, but as long as they made the products the local way, it all tasted exquisite. It’s pretty hard to mess up chocolate confectionery treats. Gauging from the wide range of product selection, I think the chocolatiers think this way:

Step 1: Find something edible.

Step 2: Cover it in chocolate.

Step 3: Charge Euro for it.

Step 3: Profit!

Speaking of charging Euro for things, I found a tie that said Brussels, Belgium in a pattern over the tie. After finding a nice tie in Paris, France last trip, I think the rule from now on is I must buy a tie wherever I travel on vacation or holiday. If I plan on being a teacher, and will be expected to wear ties, then I need more than the 7 I had when I worked at the bank. No one expects bankers to dress with variety, just nicely. It won’t be anything like Troy Dungan and his bow ties, but it will be a bit of flair. Realistically, if I wanted 1 per school day, I’d only need about 180 ties.

Now that I’ve typed 180 ties, that sounds like a lot. It will be one of those long term goals without any actual significance.

Go check out the pictures I took in Brussels by following the link to my Flickr page on the left side of the blog. The shots of the Market Place at night are my favorites.

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Brussels or Bust

May 18, 2009

I had an ok weekend, for staying at home and doing almost nothing. I did go out Friday with a buddy and saw Star Trek, which received mixed reviews from the Trekker I went with. I thought it was a good reboot that met the spirit, if not the particulars, of the old show. Trek needed a reboot like this since the late 90s.

We stayed through the end and watched the Watchmen, thereby answering the old latin proverb. That movie is worth a second viewing, just like the comic stood up to multiple reads. The imagery, foreshadowing, themes, and dialogue are so rich that it’s a wonder that anyone debates whether it’s a good interpretation of the comic or not.

But besides laundry and some video games, not much else happened this weekend. That’s deplorable. I’d hate to break my record of 3 weekends at home in a row, so next weekend I’m going to Brussels, Belgium. I’m going to sample the fine Belgium Beer I hear so much about, see the palaces, and submit a couple of resolutions to the European Union for them to vote on. I’ll let you know when the motion for my nomination of “benevolent dictator for life” is passed.

What does this mean for you, faithful reader? Hopefully, more pictures. Also, a happier blogger. Thirdly, a chance to use the word thirdly.

If anyone has any travel suggestions of things to see while there, please let me know. Otherwise, I’m going to go read the Wikipedia entry on Brussels, and figure it out from there.

Even More Paris Pictures!

May 5, 2009

I went to Paris again, this time with coworkers. It was fun. I actually got inside the Louvre, which was a pleasure denied to me last time. I almost, more or less, made this trip to go to the Louvre, but I also got to see Paris at night from the top of the Eiffel Tower, which was amazing. The city must spend a fortune lighting up all the monuments and attractions so you can see them so well from the top. It was definitely worth the second trip up the elevator lines. You can see those pictures if you click the link on the left side of this blog.

The first time I went to the Louvre, we got there 15 minutes before it closed on a Tuesday, which was 5 PM that day. This time, we got there right at opening, and I spent the majority of the 4 hours I spent inside looking at sculptures and ancient artifacts. The logic behind this is that I can study paintings by looking at pictures of the paintings. Some small details, ones I don’t know enough about painting to appreciate, will be lost on me, I understand. But sculptures are something that are meant to be engaged in a 3D environment, walked around, and studied from different angles. I saw ancient works of Art like Venus de Milo, up to contemporary French pieces, and many masterpieces like the Borghese collection. It was wonderful.

Also, I got to see a lot of half naked marble women! I saw some less than decently clothed men too, but that’s the price I pay for being a student of the liberal arts. Jokes aside, it is suprising the attitude towards the representation of the genders. During times that are classically depicted as sexually repressive, when the “flash of ankle” was scandalous, you could go to the local manor and see a representation of Diana, Hercules, Aphrodite, Mars, Liberty, or a other classical subjects completely naked, or wearing a misplaced sheet.

The one thing I did notice is, hairy men were only in style during the 1960s and 1970s, because every single statue of a man, if he wasn’t wearing a cuirass or some other kind of armor, was hairless, except for his Grecian curls or Roman stubble. I suppose men waxing their chests has a history longer than most other cosmetic practices. Who knew there was the oldest profession in the world first, then hunter-gatherers second, artists third, and a close fourth was someone to give you a good bikini or chest wax?

They really did have it all back then, except for electricity.

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