Monday, June 8, 2009


I was talking to an old co-worker today and giving him my new address, he's planning a fall European tour and I suggested the usage of my (almost) couch as a stopping point. I suggested he stop by for a day or two on his way through Belgium as the big tourist spots are relatively close. The Grand Place, along with the Mannekin Pis, seem to be the biggest tourist spots in Brussels and I'm right around the corner. My friend asked if I spent a lot of time at the Grand Place, and I compared it to spending a lot of time in Times Square. I then realized that I live WAY too close to the major tourist attraction, but then started to make some more New York comparisons.
What other regions of Manhattan are within two blocks of me? I've got Chinatown... A little bit of SoHo and/or East Village too. Granted, each of these exist for only a few blocks... and its Brussels. Clearly there is no comparison, but the important distinction is the type of person within each zone is still pretty similar. Grand Place = tourists... St Gery (east village) = people way cooler than me... Chinatown... you get the picture. The major difference (besides both quality and quantity) is transition.
It seems like while roaming in Brussels, neighborhoods can change instantaneously. Near the finale of Season 1, I had to go to the Ministry of Work to start up my working permits so I can get paid. I also had to do this on the end of an all night marathon. No sleep = poor planning and decisions. I knew where I was meant to end up, and I knew where I was starting. None of the mass transit seemed to be any faster on paper than just walking so I decided to go on ahead. I didn't remember that I had to cross under the train tracks of the North Station... Its important to note that the Brussels Red Light District happens to be on the "wrong" side of the tracks. In this case the wrong side is the east side, or the side I was on. This place snuck up on me; 1. I had no sleep, and 2. I was supposed to be in the BUSINESS DISTRICT. Well... the point is that the "transition" between the main financial district of Brussels and the red light district is a train track. These sneaky neighborhoods continually weird me out, not that they're worrisome or scary places but the drastic change in environment is a bit harsh. Some of the neighborhoods end up being almost as varied as the change from Chinatown to Little Italy.
In other news, Waffles? Not ubiquitous in all neighborhoods. Frites? Everywhere.

1 comment:

  1. Red light district after an all-nighter.. even if you didn't spend any money i am sure hilariaty ensued.