Brussels

Posted: July 24, 2011 in Everything
Tags: , ,

The first thing that struck me about Brussels was how diverse it is – the first neighborhood I walked around seemed like ‘Little Turkey (Islam)’. Actually, the Muslim presence in Brussels was surprisingly high, it seems that every fringe area of the tourist circle was strewn with halal food places, kebabs etc which is sorta shocking to my American perspective.

The next thing that got my attention immediately from the airport throughout my time walking the city: black people. There are a lot of black people in Brussels, almost to the point where I want to say I feel more black presence in Brussels than I did in Cambridge/Boston. And I’m not talking African blacks who seem to have a separate culture, but Afro-Belgians that have that mix of African culture and their mainstream Belgian culture. Perhaps they were all tourists just like me.

I doubt this though as I’ve seen so many mixed children and interracial couples walking around the city. Can I say that I’m proud of Brussels? Or does that just reflect my US race biases/perceptions? But then again this seems like a visitor/tourist city, so I may only be seeing the most progressive/cosmopolitan folks.

In updates unrelated to the demography of Brussels, I did some normal touristy stuff. I got lost: the first time by getting off one stop too North/early on the train, and then a ton more times while walking around central Brussels. I took tons of pics on my SLR, I had a Belgian waffle with chocolate and whipped cream…and I went to McDonalds.

Don’t judge that last part. The delicacies in this country are kinda too much to do more than one meal – they have waffles, gelato and very bready sandwiches every few kms. I really couldn’t stomach more sugar, so I found myself some McNuggets. I ditched the fries, which were way too salty.

And lastly, firstly and continually I keep facing sticker shock. I keep converting the Euro in my head to it’s USD equivalent. But then I remember, this isn’t the US and if I replaced the currency symbols, the prices would make sense. Damn you, weak ass dollar.

Sidenote: I took a 10-hour layover in the hopes, I’d see a lot. Brussels is definitely not a 10 hour city nor a 5 hour city unless it’s night time.

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