Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions

Journal

Brussels, Beer, and Bombs

October 12, 2006 by Richard Wright in Journal, Life

You missed me, right? Not that I’m insecure or anything…

Yes, I’m finally back, after an insane period of travelling across the UK, with a sojourn to Belgium for good measure. It’s been tiring, but fun, and the obvious pitfalls of spending a long time not at home were offset slightly by meeting some excellent people along the way. I’ve actually been back a few days now, but there’s been an awful lot of catching up to do, so writing here has been put off. No longer.

As part of my travels, I spent altogether too much time going in and out of Heathrow airport, at the very worst possible time to do so. My first flight of the session, in August, was the Sunday after the alleged terrorist plot was thwarted, meaning it was hit and miss whether I would get anywhere at all. I have reels of complaints about the logic put into the extra security measures at the airports, including the nonsense involved in having my lighter (a tube of highly flammable liquid) taken off me at security and then being able to buy a new lighter (an identical tube of flammable liquid) from an airside shop before getting on the plane, but I shan’t bore you with them here..

From the whole experience, there are probably two things to note, that were enjoyable in one way or another. Tash, and Brussels.

Halfway through September, after years of promising I’d visit her, I spent the weekend at my friend Tash’s new London pad. It was wonderful to see her and catch up in person. After taking me out to see Les Miserables one evening, she guided me through the centre of London, which means I can finally say that I’ve seen the Houses of Parliament, the Millenium Eye, Big Ben, Downing Street, et al, first hand. We walked along the river, and Tash did cartwheels. I did not, but enjoyed watching her astonishment at not being rubbish at them. We relaxed the next day by painting her hallway to loud music. A good weekend, all told, and I like her neighbourhood. I won’t be leaving it quite so long before going back.

More recently, Kirsty and I took a couple of days to chill out, and flew off to Brussels.

There are over 700 beers in Brussels.

And not much else.

Don’t go. You know a place is struggling for decent attractions when the Rough Guide lists chips with mayonnaise in the top twenty things to see and do at the front of the book. Yes, really. With a photograph, in case you have trouble imagining it. That said, we made the effort, and stopped by a Friterie for a cone each while we were there. They were not unpleasant, but nor should they be on your list of things to do before you die. We noticed that the Belgians have chips with absolutely everything. They’re worse than the British. They also have Stoempe, which is a fancy foreign way of saying ‘mashed potato with other veg crushed through it’, but was very tasty.

Oh, and as with Paris, Kirsty accidentally booked us into a hotel in the red light district, so peep shows and girls in windows were the order of the day. That was funny, although I do wonder whether her subconscious is trying to tell her something. Perhaps she harbours secret desires for a life on the game? I shall investigate further and, if this is the case, report back.

What else? The only thing to really bother going to see in if you’re in Brussels is the Grand Plaz, which is very pretty. According to the Rough Guide, it is in fact the prettiest enclosed square in Europe, which is a very specific sort of a thing to be proud of. Not the prettiest square, because as claims go that wouldn’t really stick, but they might be able to get away with prettiest enclosed square. As most other things in the city are made of concrete, we spent much time drinking and eating around that area.

Okay, that’s all for now – talk to you later.

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8 Comments

  1. markOctober 12, 2006 at 7:25 am

    Good to see you back.

    If you didn’t like Brussels then make sure you NEVER EVER (EVER) go to Luxembourg – Brussels is *brilliant* compared to Luxembourg.

  2. Richard WrightOctober 12, 2006 at 7:44 am

    *shudder*

  3. MarkOctober 12, 2006 at 12:10 pm

    He’s back!

    Good to see you again, Richard, glad to have you home, safe and sound.

    I went to America just after the clampdown and, bizarrely, didn’t really notice much from the last time I’d flown – the flights weren’t delayed and, apart from a queue to get frisked at Gatwick, I had no other hassles at all. Having said that, I don’t smoke so nobody would try to take a lighter off me.

  4. Richard WrightOctober 12, 2006 at 1:43 pmAuthor

    Cheers – it’s good to be back.

    I don’t know if the repetition of going through it week in and week out made the security feel worse than it was, but I can’t descri be my relief when they finally dropped some of the hand luggage restrictions. It’s almost back to normal now, thank god.

  5. KirsteenOctober 12, 2006 at 6:14 pm

    Hey you – how the hell are you?

  6. Richard WrightOctober 12, 2006 at 8:34 pmAuthor

    Kirsteen! Thanks for dropping by – I’m good, thanks, as you know from the journal I suppose. How the devil are you? Better yet, I’ll drop you an email…

  7. HeatherOctober 23, 2006 at 9:22 am

    :O

    How many journals have you left by the wayside now, then?

    Yeah – fourth year already, how the time flies, huh?! Good to know you’re still around 😉

  8. Richard WrightOctober 23, 2006 at 10:05 amAuthor

    My internet journey is littered with the corpses of journals dead and gone… 😉

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