Monday, March 2, 2009

Weird Brussels

So the other story I had to tell was about this picture. You see, behind this police car there is a garage for people that live in that apartment building (right across the street from ours). Now, people park there pretty frequently, and then when someone that can park in the garage wants to get in or out, lots and lots of honking ensues, which prompts us to look out the window at what's going on. Most of the time it's one of the Congolese causing the trouble. Well, when we got back from the movie on Saturday, this police car was parked there! Please note the arrow pointing to the no parking sign! So there you have it.

Saturday Night Movie in Brussels and Strange Occurrences

So Miguel and I decided to go and see a movie Saturday night, because there are tons out that we want to see. The choice of the night was Milk. It just opened here last Tuesday, so we were actually on top of it this time. So a Saturday night movie date was the name of the game. We got our tickets in advance this afternoon to avoid the queue, so we thought we were way ahead of the game. Ha. Ha. Ha.

So we set off with plenty of time to get a good seat and catch the trailers. To start out, if I haven't mentioned it before, we live in a great neighborhood in Ixelles, Boniface, right by the Matonge. This is a mostly Congolese (Afrikaan) area, and the people there tend to be a bit different from your average Belgian/Bruxelloise. They like to walk in groups of 2, 3 or even 4 people and block off the whole sidewalk. This reminds me very much of Siena on market day, so I've decided that playing chicken is a great idea, and now for the most part I don't move an inch. I've decided that I, too, am entitled to a piece of the sidewalk, and so, when confronted by these groups (several times a day) I square my shoulders and prepare for impact. And, unfortunately for my shoulder, I normally get hit pretty hard. So I got slammed more than a few times on the way to this movie mostly due to my own stubbornness.

So we get to the theater pretty much without incident, and go in with our tickets. I stopped to get some popcorn and Miguel went downstairs to get seats. You usually have to get there quite early to get a good seat. So I get my popcorn, and head down to meet him, and I see this huge crowd of people. Well, I thought it was huge at the time, but it was going to get a lot bigger. So I kinda push my way through, looking for Miguel, and he finally finds me and says that they've blocked it off and aren't letting anyone in. Ok. So at the time it was 6:50pm, and our movie was set to start at 7:10. As we wait, the crowd grows. It starts to fill up the entire downstairs lobby. If there had been a fire, most of us would have been trampled to death. We all stand around, wait, look at each other quizzically, tap our feet for ages. Then, a staff member comes out and called for all those going to "Salle 8" (we are 7, so it's a no-go). So by now it's 7:05, and everyone is antsy from all the standing around, my popcorn is half gone end everyone is fed up. Then, we see these people sneaking around the empty snack counter into the theaters. So the people at the very front of the line see this and get pissed off. It's now 7:08. Someone opens the velvet rope, and we all charge in. Luckily, miguel and I were near the front. We grab our seats, and watch the auditorium fill up. And it did fill up. This is a huge one, and nearly every seat was occupied.

So we settle in for the trailers. This is a weird thing about the UGC Toison D'Or (the theater we go to normally). They show the trailers before the start time of the movie. At 7:10 when the lights go down there are commercials. The same commercials. Every. Single. Damn. Time. The kind of commercials that make you mutter to yourself, I paid for a ticket why? Nevertheless, we got through those and the show started.

I'll say now, Milk was an excellent movie. So well done, well acted, etc. But I'm sure many of you have already seen it so I'll move on.

When I go to the movies I like to be transported. I like to soak in the film and, if it's good, stay in my little reverie for as long as possible. Well, this is not possible at the UGC on a Saturday night. We get out of the show (along with the mob), and we're going up the maze of stairs to the ground level, and a woman kicks her foot back while walking, and it connects, very painfully, with my shin. Now, had we been in the US, or maybe any other civilized country, this person would have looked back and apologized. Not here. She was walking in the middle of the staircase, so she couldn't have thought she kicked the railing. So, with the full knowledge that she just kicked someone, hard enough to give them a bruise, she walked on, talking to her friend. This made me angry. So angry that on the walk home I pity the people that tried to defend their 12 inches of sidewalk.

So that is why we don't go to the movies on Saturday nights.

And here's an odd story from Friday night. Miguel and I were walking back from happy hour with the American Club (which was fun) and Miguel says "Look, a guy peeing." Now, this was 9:30 on a Friday night, there were quite a few people walking around, and this guy (Afrikaan) was taking a piss on a white van while talking on his cell phone. As the owner watched in horror. Finally, his spoke up and told the guy to move off. The guy proceeded to walk around to the back of the van and continued peeing and talking on the phone. The owner then came around to tell the guy off again, that it was his van, etc., and the peeing guy was all apologetic, and patting the owner on the shoulder, etc., while we looked on, rather horrified/disgusted. So gross.

And there you have a bit of weird Brussels.