Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why the Belgians are better than the French (Pt 1)

Okay, even the title of this post is going to get me into huge trouble, but too bad.  In September, Tiny Dancer and I went to Brussels and Bruges for a long weekend, and being in a half-Flemish, half-French country really highlighted some of the differences between French speakers in France and in other countries (have I mentioned before that I know of Parisians who will only speak English to native French speakers from other countries because they simply can't bear to hear French spoken by anyone other than the French? Because a foreign accent is so "offensive" to their delicate ears. Seriously.) and of course this is meant only in a tongue-in-cheek, poking-affectionate-fun-at way...

1.  Belgians bring the crazy right away.  This is one of the first things we saw from the bus window upon entering Brussels.  Tasteful?  No.  Hilarious? Yes.  Hee!

2.  Belgians like fun art - not just the occasional temporary fun thing installed in the Tuileries masquerading as some kind of festival, or some wacky thing hidden away where no one will see it.  Nope, they stick a great big robot-thingie guy right on the path from the train station to the centre of town and they leave it there.  Excellent.  And fun.

3. Belgians know how to have a good time.  The sign for this beer festival?  Still up two weeks later.  Clearly they enjoyed themselves at the beer festival so much that they just couldn't be bothered to take the sign down afterward.  (In France, I am sure there is some humourless bureaucrat whose entire job is to make sure signs are promptly taken down after events.)

4.  Belgians apparently sell "High Quality Pleasure" in shops, and Miss K entirely approves of anyone selling such a thing.

5. In Brussels, they quite literally roll the red carpet out for pedestrians.  Seriously!  The sign says so, and I'm not kidding, the carpet goes on forever.  Fantastique!  And as pedestrians who are almost killed every damn day on the Parisian streets, this is the exact moment when Tiny Dancer (pictured below) and I both fell in love with the Belgians.

To be continued...

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