first the facts:
it's a small country, split into two parts (flemish/dutch and french).
but what comes from belgium, anyway?
1) chocolates. especially pralines. they're the best.
2) french fries. well, the french call them belgian fries, and belgians
call them pommes frietes. but they're from belgium.
3) waffles, i guess. though i've never seen any restaurant over
here serve belgian waffles, though. i think only americans eat belgian
4) beer - over 500 brands.
5) mussels. there's lots of mud along the coast, and belgium is
famous for their mussels harvested from the mud.
now the story:
we arrived in belgium wednesday evening, and set up our materials
for the next day's presentations. we had dinner in leuven, a 1,000
year old university town just outside of brussels.
leuven has this old market square, with restaurants all around it.
we ate fondue in a swiss restaurant. not very belgian sounding,
huh? for dessert i had fruits with a chocolate fondue. apparently
nobody ever orders that dish - we watched the chef grab a dish and
head across the street to another restaurant. the waitress told
us that he was on a chocolate raid.
we left the restaurant stuffed, and walked around the "old market".
leuven is a university city, and has lots of students all over the
place (25,000 students and only 18,000 residents). so the bars were
doing a good business, and lots of people were stumbling around
the bars. every time a bar door opened, we heard the music from
inside come pouring out into the market square.
no cars are allowed in the market place, so most people were walking.
some were on their bikes, and every now and then a moped would go
we watched this moped comes weaving over the cobblestones. two guys
were on it - one driving, and his buddy riding on the back fender.
the guy in the front was trying to drive straight, but i think he
was hampered by too much stella artois (local beer). his buddy was
busy talking to all the girls they passed.
the driver hit this bump, and oops! his buddy bounced off the fender
and onto his butt. ouch! the girls were giggling and pointing. meanwhile,
the driver stalled the moped as he turned around to see what happened
to his buddy.
the poor guy on the ground was ok; all that was hurt was his pride.
he stayed down for a while, groaning, then got up and walked ahead
for a block or so. he waited for the driver to pick him up. but
the driver was laughing too hard, and still talking to the girls.
too embarrssed to walk back, the buddy was hollering to be picked
finally, the driver was ready to move on. but his moped was still
stalled. he had it up on its kickstand, pedalling the wheels, trying
to kick-start it, but nothing happened. i don't think he minded
too much - he was too busy explaining again and again to the girls
how his buddy fell off. you could see him pantomiming the story.
each time he went "boom" and threw his hands up, they all laughed
the object of this hilarity was still waiting for his fender ride.
he let out this groan and fell onto the ground. i guess it was too
much effort for him to stand. or he was trying to be safe - you
can't fall off the floor, right? or maybe he was taking the opportunity
to grab a nap.
the girls walked off, and i guess that did it - the moped was able
to start as soon as they left! miraculous, right? the driver went
to his buddy, the buddy climbed on the back fender, and off they
weaved down the cobblestones, no worse for wear.