Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Monday, August 18, 2008

Oh Belgium

Belgium is weird. Everyone knows that. There are the parties celebrating streets' birthdays, the carnivals with strangely dressed figures from myths, the giant omelettes...
Then there's this.

It's a carpet, made of begonias, on the Grand Place. I know. It only happens once every other year, and lasts just one weekend. It is an extravagent, labour intensive, and staggeringly impressive thing. But why? No idea.

You can queue to walk through the town hall, and up onto the balcony overlooking the carpet. From there you see the detail and impressive size. If you're lucky, you meet an old lady who was married in the town hall in 1939, comes to see the flower carpet each time and is celebrating her 90th birthday in South Africa in a couple of months. She will impress you even more than the flowers laid out over the cobbles, with her steady walking and straight forward chatter. You'll hope you are that fit when you're 60, let alone 90.

When you've taken hundreds of pictures of flowers laid out to look like a carpet, you'll suddenly have had enough, and when you look down at the people, you'll get carried away by the power of your zoom, and start taking sneaky shots of people eating frites and crepes rather than flowers.

Then the man with the security badge will ask you to leave in three languages, and you will go home, shaking your head at the mystery of it all.

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