12 June 2010

A visit, a vacation, and vivacious vespertine vizards (part 11 of ?)

From there we go on to St. Katherine's. You'd think we'd be tired of
cathedrals by now but first, you'd be wrong anyway, and second, this
one has a feature we just have to see for ourselves - a urinal on one
side. Not a Port-a-Potty, this is just two half walls and water
running down the walk of the cathedral itself to allow people to
relieve themselves and show exactly what they think of Mother Church
in the same go. Or perhaps a kinder interpretation would be that they
can get physical relief outside and spiritual relief inside. In either
case, neither Pat nor I use the facilities, on my part less out of a
sense of propriety for the church and more of one for myself - those
walls aren't that high, and it's right next to a high traffic road.
From there, we go get the first two things people associate with
Belgium - chocolate and beer. This time we go for the much more widely
famed trappist ales. We see the Mannekin Pis, which is exactly as
interesting as you'd expect it to be, but since it's on pretty much
every postcard I got for my Burkinabé friends, I figured I ought to
see it. Research the stories about why it's there, though, reading
them is much more fun than actually being on a street corner looking
at a sight I see on a daily basis in Burkina. Though to be fair, in BF
the streets usually aren't paved.
We find another local tradition, fries. I mean, I knew Europeans take
their fries with mayo - I love it myself - but if the tradition wasn't
started here, don't tell the Belgians. Toward the close of the day we
find the hat Pat's been looking for, pick up a couple of Cuban cigars,
and head back to the hostel. Tonight we find our room being shared
with an animated, opinionated Nigerian who lived for a few months in
Nashville and is now based in England. We chit chat about what's
ailing West Africa and I find myself for the most part in agreement.
Pat and I hit a nearby outdoor pub to enjoy our last on-site Belgian
beers and smoke our cigars - mine a Romeo y Julieta, his an H. Upmann.

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