I found myself on the train to Brussels city center wondering if I was getting lost. I was reminded of my parents, because in my usual panic where I always convince myself I am headed in the wrong direction, I hear their voices in my head asking if that would really be the worst thing. And it wouldn’t. It wouldn’t be the worst thing to go the wrong way, take the wrong train, or get lost. In fact, it might be just what I need to get me out of my own head.
My favorite bar to date, in the whole world, is Delirium in Brussels. The pink elephant sign will now forever make me happy. It was suggested that I get the “pink killer,” a grapefruit beer. And since the metric system is still gibberish to me, I accidently got a half liter (which is really big), so I really hoped I was going to like it. Turns out it is now my favorite beer I have ever tasted. I had three of those beers in my two days. During one trip to Delirium, I had a Belgian girl tell me I was pretty and another middle aged English man strike up a conversation. after which he then asked to take my photo. I’m sure my half drunked face and conversational skills were an instant classic in Manchester by the next morning. In addition to drinking, I could not get enough of waffles or Belgian frites. I bought a Belgian waffle and stood in the exact middle of the Grand Place square. I stood and ate my waffle, and every few minutes I would turn ninety degrees to face a new side, and I just looked, taking it all in. I had eaten so much that day that I could have thrown up in that square. Shortly after, I had the realization that I was full to the point of stuffed, so naturally I decided to get some Belgian frites as well. It was a corner store off the beaten path that freakishly resembled Grey’s Papaya in New York City. While waiting for my fries, after I tried to sound as European as possible, my fry guy asked where I was from. I decided not to lie and said the USA. The first question he asked after that was, “So how is that Trump situation?”
I heard there was a chocolate museum, and I heard they had free samples…. so naturally I went as fast as I could. I was dipping my third cookie into the chocolate fountain in the middle of the room, and I turned around and run into this man, whose shirt I probably got chocolate on. All he did was smile, but it took a good five seconds to untangle ourselves and get passed each other because he was in such a hurry. I wait a few more minutes and then the demonstration started. I walked into the kitchen and looked up…. I had run into the chocolate maker of all people, and yes, I did get chocolate on his white coat. The chocolate that day was good, but the mussels that night at Chez Leon were better. My father taught me at Marker 88 while eating escargot that the best part is dipping the bread in the garlic butter remnants after eating the seafood, and that’s exactly what I did.
I went to the museum corner of the city and found a new love, surrealism art, and the Museum Magritte was full of it. It’s the moments where you realize you are changing that are actually surreal. I used to hate standing out as a tourist. I tried my hardest while travelling to look like a local. Part of this was for safety while travelling alone, it was smart. But in Brussels I decided to embrace being a tourist, and my stomach thanked me.
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