Monday, August 12, 2013

Euro Trip Day 2: Brussels

On the second day, we went to Brussels which is about 2-hour drive from where my Aunt lives. But before that, we had to make a trip to the Aliens Police to report that I had stepped into the Netherlands. It was quite curious why I had to report when I already had a visa. Visa turns out to be a valid entry to the country while reporting the Aliens Police is for a valid stay in the country. There is a difference there. Apparently, if my stay is less than 72 hours in the country, I do not need to report to the Aliens Police. So yup, I was an alien.

I was too tired that I spent most of the time sleeping during the journey to Brussels. Near the parking area, it was a shopping district. Another different thing from Asia: I had to pay before using toilets, even if the toilets were in a shopping mall! Bleah.. And I expected a clean toilet which I did not get. But too bad, when nature calls, humans have to heed the call no matter what. Haha.. Our destination was actually Grote Markt. It is not a market :p The translation is Grand Palace. Lol..

Tiredness and cloudy sky just made things in a bad state and this is where the conflict with my sister began. From the shopping mall, we had to walk 10-15 minutes to reach Grote Markt. As rain was plausible, I suggested that we walked back to the car to get umbrellas before we were too far off from the parking lot. She was unhappy as walking back made her tired and cut off her precious shopping time. It was a mistake to go with someone who has entirely different purpose of travelling. I want to see things and enjoy the trip while she just wants to shop and shop. 

In fact, initially the purpose of the trip to Brussels was to see Tintin murals at various buildings. Due to unfavourable weather condition and timing (we were all hungry), the plan was cancelled. We only saw 2 murals (1 of Tintin and 1 of a comic which I don't know) on our way to Grote Markt and Manneken Pis.
A Tintin mural painting that we encountered
Grote Markt
Grote Markt is like a town square with magnificent buildings surrounding it. The buildings are tall and complete with gothic carvings and statues. With the unfriendly weather, it was rather an eerie sight. Unfortunately, the unfriendly weather and the crowd made it impossible for me to get nice pictures here or the buildings.

Tintin Shop
It was unexpected to see a Tintin Shop. I am not a fan of Tintin and I was glad. If I were a fan, I think I would be broke on the second day of my trip. The shop sells a lot of Tintin goodies, including resin collectibles which are damn good and expensive! Haha.. There is a nice coloured Tintin statue inside the shop but photography is not allowed inside. Lame shit. I could only take photos outside the shop with the statue of this Chinese boy. Never knew that Tintin had a Chinese boy friend (from the Blue Lotus story). But as I mentioned, I am not a Tintin fan.

Manneken Pis
Manneken Pis is a statue of naked boy urinating to a basin. It is a definite place of attraction of Brussels and tourists jostle to take turns to take photo with the statue. I managed to snap a picture of my sister and there was no crowd around her! I personally hate to have photos with other tourists in the background so to get a photo of a famous tourist place with no crowd is an amazing feat and I am proud of it! My sister, on the other hand, was too slow in taking pictures. Everytime there was a moment when there was no crowd, she would just miss it by the time she clicked the shutter. That pissed me off! Grr.. No pic of me with the pissing boy!

From Manneken Pis, we walked back to the first shopping mall for our lunch. I bumped into a machine which dispensed medallion souvenirs. It costs 2 euros per medallion. Thus my first souvenirs for this trip are 2 medallions with the image of the peeing boy statue and the Town Hall of the Grote Markt respectively. Lunch was not a happy affair either. The people generally speak French and next to none English. I had trouble evne to pronounce the food names! Bah!!

After lunch, I was expecting that we would be travelling back to pack our stuff for our trip to Paris on the following day. My sister wanted to walk back to the shopping district. I could not hide my anger of course. We passed by the various shops twice already (on the way to and back from Grote Markt), if she wanted to shop, why didn't she do so earlier? Why did we have to make a third trip to the shops??!! Jeez..

On the journey back, I fell asleep in the car (as always). I woke up a few times. At one of the stops, I heard her complaining to my aunt about me, and of course I pretended to be asleep. Yes you were tired about walking back to take the damn umbrellas but you were not tired to walk again to the shopping areas for another time? And was it your problem if I chose to open the umbrella when it started to drizzle? I did not want to fall sick and had the rest of my holidays ruined. You were the one having runny and blocked nose and it would be your problem if you chose not to take a good care of your health. Pui..

In the evening, it was another quarrel when we were packing for our trip with Paris. I personally hate to share luggage but if we were bringining our own luggages, we would be bringing 2 half-empty luggages. My aunt commented that my sister's luggage was too big and it would be cumbersome to transfer between trains. You know, she was the one with experience with travelling in Europe, she should know which size is convenient for travelling as well as which size will be enough to accomodate her shopping. She should be the one making decision! Aaargh!! I felt like pulling my hairs out because honestly, I prefered carrying my own luggage! In the end, she borrowed a small cabin-sized luggage from my aunt which would be full before the trip. I kindly asked her to combine our things and bring her super duper big luggage. This was a poor decision which led to another bout of quarreling in Paris. That will be the next story.

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