Round the world without odour eaters
Easter Island (7)
French Polynesia (11)
Hong Kong (8)
New Zealand/Aotearoa (50)
* The End
* Day 189: London baby!
* Day 188: Museums
* Day 187: MTR
* Day 186: Kowloon Park
* Day 185: Peak tram
* Day 184: Central and Admiralty
* Day 183: Fly away
* Day 182: last day in Kiwiland
* Day 181: Auckland
* Day 180: Bouncy pillow
* Day 179: Christchurch
* Day 178: Christchurch
* Day 177: Fairlie
* Day 176: Hooker valley
* Day 175: Mt Cook/Aoraki NP
* Day 174: Oamaru
* Day 173: Dunedin cafe culture
* Day 172: Taieri Gorge Railway
* Day 171: Otago Peninsula
October 02, 2004
Who would have thought that my first stop, Belgium, which is actually my home country, would actually give me my first bout of culture shock.
Spending only a weekend here every couple of months I hadn’t really realised how much it has changed. Or perhaps it has more to do with the fact that I have changed.
Living in the UK for two years, I have always felt distinctly different, typically Belgian I thought. But now that I am here, I get the nagging feeling that this, Toto, ain't Kansas any more.
It's very trivial things. Prices have gone up, BV's (bekende Vlamingen - famous Flemings) come and go and political parties change their names more often than Prince. I didn't recognise any song on the radio. I still know all the people at the supermarket where I used to work as a student, ten years ago. Thing is, they no longer recognise me. The TV has cycling instead of cricket. News reader Stef Wauters has moved from VRT to VTM.
Of course, some things never change. People with purple perms still go out to eat pancakes and 'wafels'. Brussels is still a linguistical minefield (the menu was in French, we addressed the waitress in French and got the bill in Dutch). And the sausage rolls at Panos are still much better than those at Greggs.
I went to a benefit concert for a guy who is participating in the Iron Man and there was this typical 'parochiezaal' (community centre) atmosphere: there was a band of overage hippies (I have been watching the Young Ones recently and the singer was a cross between Neil and any band member of ZZ Top) who were so happy they got to play they did not want to stop. There was the obligatory obnoxious drunk (yes, ONLY one!) And also, I was touched to see Flemings still excel in bad poetry, to make the people they are celebrating cry.
I am feeling a bit lost, very tired and I am spending too much money. I guess this means my travels have, in effect, already started.
Posted by Nathalie on October 2, 2004 06:30 PM
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