Friday, April 28, 2006

Frites, frites, frites,.....and more frites!!

Okay, Diep had her turn at updating the blog and now it's mine!

Diep's recollection of our arrival here is pretty accurate...with just a few bits of info left out....

a) She arrived at the departure gate 3 hours before the flight took off. She was ready to go!!

b) While Julee couldn't figure out how to turn off the faucet in the airplane bathroom, Diep grappled with the finer points of putting down the tray behind the seat......and she's in charge of security :-)

c) Diep refuses to change the time on her watch and so Julee who has no watch has to wait for Diep to look at her watch and add 6 hours to the time just to know what time it is!

d) Diep loves malted balls......ooooooh, malted balls. She loves them so much, she even hugged the vending machine at the train station. See pic to the left.

e) Diep loves frites.....oh she loves frites. Frites, frites, frites.

That's all Julee heard once the train ended up in Brussels. Frites are french fries for you Americans. So the very moment we came across an establishment that sold frites, Diep ran to stand in line. She ordered two packet (French for bucket) of frites along with Samurai sauce. What's Samurai sauce, you ask? That's what Julee wanted to know as well only to find out it is mayo w/chili mixed into it so it is a bit spicy. Belgians appear to be obssessed with frites as I found out reading menus .... steak frites, poulet (chicken) frites and the national dish...moules (mussels) frites. With apologies to Patrick, we have not had any Flemish food since we've been here. Maybe when we get to Bruges and there are no French menus there.

f) Diep loves gaufre (which I had horribly mispronounced as "gopher"). Gaufre are the famous Belgian waffles and they are very yummy. Belgians love to pile on chocolate, whipped cream, strawberries, bananas, nutella (hazelnut/chocolate spread) on the waffles but we both think they taste best just plain and served hot. We munched on the mas they wandered the streets of Belgium.

g) We miss some of the conveniences of home aka ATM machines. Yep, we were running low on money and decided to find an ATM to use. We walked for what seemed to be an eternity to finally stumble on a Citibank ATM which for some reason, accepted Diep's card but rejected Julee's. Julee is now worried because she is running low on 1 euro coins!

h) We did not make it to some of the tourist hotspots but we covered most of the important sights (including some very beautiful gardens) all on foot - have not used any public transportation to make our way around though Diep has very fond recollections of her days riding the city's trams. Yes, she used to loiter around the city a lot in her youth. As a result of all the walking Julee needs new shoes but unfortunately, with all the frites and gaufres, has not lost any weight :-(

We cancelled out trip to Lyon opting to spend additional time somewhere else. We'll update you on that as we decide where we are going.

We miss everyone at home but are enjoying ourselves thoroughly. More later.

Julee