Before launching into this one, I have to say that I was inspired by these posts:
and my absolute favourite: http://pethatesblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/what-not-to-do-in-paris/
The latter just speaks to me. It’s all about culture shock, if you come from a warm climate, you put your cozzie (bathing suit) on, walk out the door and take a goof (jump into the pool).
So these poor Aussies arrived in Paris and thought it would be that simple, wrong! Sometimes guys aren’t allowed to wear shorts of any lengths and budgie-smugglers are the accepted uniform of the day. I thought my sons would understand why, I got some weird answers like:
1) if you have swimming pants that look like shorts, you keep taking water out of the pool and then the pool gets empty;
2) you could be hiding something, well if you’re wearing budgie -smuggling speedos, you most certainly are, or not. They’re also not just ordinary speedos that swimmers wear but look even more ridiculous because they’re the boxer-types, obligatory wear for swimming practice, and for some pools otherwise they never leave my house and certainly not the country, Belgium that is.
3) long (or short) shorts can be dirty and so the pool gets dirty etc etc
Yes, I seriously believe all of this. We dutifully go out with the proper bathing attire, try not to steal the swimming pool water and hopefully are rather clean when we get there, so I skip the mostly cold shower which is obligatory too. Not to mention the sometimes communal changing rooms ,well you get a private cubicle but I once had the misfortune of having a druk guy changing next to me with his plastic cup of beer which he upended, it flowed my way under the cubicle and missed my stuff but only just. He was swearing at the Walloons in Flemish, I was holding my breath for the moment he was going to break the door or the cubicle, or when vomit was going to be floating out way…
The other thing I could relate to in the latter blog was the feeling of having stepped in dog poo, you haven’t, not this time, but it feels like it, you feel it oozing through your toes as you get crapped on for doing something culture shock-like. I’ve worked out why they are so sparse on instructions, it gives some people the maximum opportunity to crap on people and so have a better day.
Which brings me to the first two blogs, which made me have a better day, Brussels has its fair share of whacky statues, and I don’t really understand the little guys with the big square heads in Leuven.
The other day I learnt something, you know how Mannekin Pis looks weird, no really, apart from the fact that he is peeing in public, he looks strange. I had half an hour to hang around, I had had coffee, done window shopping, my budget didn’t stretch to real retail therapy so I went into the Brussels Museum on the Grand Place. If you’re into porcelain relics and all kinds of relics found in Brussels, and very dark models of Brussels in the Middle Ages (maybe they forgot to switch the lights on) and 10 million Mannekin Pis costumes, this is the place for you. But seriously I found out what’s wrong with Mannekin Pis, the sculptor clearly didn’t understand child anatomy, the kid is built like a grown man, I’m talking about his muscles of course, little kids don’t have muscled arms and legs like this little fountain, and that’s why he’s there if you were wondering, in the Middle Ages people must have gotten bored drinking water from ordinary fountains and decided to try a different design…. I was saved from gleaning any more bits of wisdom because I got kicked out for taking a business call on my mobile phone…