Another day in Brussels

Brussels has been more fun and lovely than I expected. Other than the gourmand culture that I’m over-enjoying, it has a style and aesthetic that goes beyond its (literal) taste to include sight and touch. By that I mean, its people are focused on a sensory goodness that feels more contemporary and less traditional than London’s. There are countless shops and makers of almost any kind of food product, an abundance of high-fashion boutiques, and plenty of gathering spots for the cool kids.
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On To Belgium

I’m having second thoughts about my “draft” itinerary, which is why I’m glad it’s draft. I’ve booked nothing ahead, so can pretty much go where I want and when, with little worry.

On that note, I decided to take the train to Belgium today. I took the high-speed Eurostar from London’s Waterloo station. The check-in agent remarked on the hour of sunshine we’d just had, as if God had worked some kind of miracle. After passing through security and informing the immigrations officer that I was headed for Brussels, he offered a skeptical glance and stamped my passport.
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London Update

It’s been a rather gray and rainy couple of days. Fortunately, I bought an umbrella when I arrived. Unfortunately, I left it in the hotel today, and decided to get lost (and soaked) in the Lower Marsh portion of the city.

I did get a few shots during the rain-breaks and managed to keep my camera mostly dry. I know they’re kinda touristy shots but there are a couple funky ones. I think I am headed out of here in the next day or so.

I went to DJ Magazine’s annual awards bash, and was less than impressed. That’s what happens, I guess, when you’re not on the cool list.

[A Flickr usage note: the browsing features show the smaller versions of the image. To see the full image, click the “all sizes” chicklet above the image.]

A pedestrian in London

I flew in on an overnight flight, and as one who can’t sleep on airplanes, that turned out to be a slightly less than ideal move. Having not slept since the previous night, I was feeling wiped out here when I arrived, and passed out at about 11PM – for a few hours. Now I’m up, wide awake, at 4AM local time. Here’s hoping my sleep cycle recovers. But in the meantime, I’ll crank out a piece…
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London, MBTA, rail safety, and terror

First of all, the odds of you getting injured by a terrorist are basically zero. Relative to that risk, it’s a near-certainty that you’ll die in your car tomorrow on the way to work. What are all of you so afraid of?

What happened in London is a tragedy and a horror I’d wish on no one. It’s very likely a result of islamic militants spreading an ideology to which I am vehemently opposed.

After the London incident, the “alert level” in Boston’s subway system was raised to orange (or maybe tangerine – I always get those shades mixed up) with great fanfare and a hurried press conference from the Governor. I checked my color chart magnet on the fridge and orange means “dress for sun”, so I put on cargo shorts and a silky soft Boss t-shirt and headed downtown. Wandering in and out of the Copley station, from what I could tell this basically means more cops standing around. How, exactly, is this making any difference whatsoever, except in my tax bill?

Then, on the way back, I heard Hillary Clinton carrying on about how the President had “cut $50 million from the budget destined to protect our railways”. Senator, could you at least wait for Londoners to finish dredging the corpses out of Piccadilly before you start on the pork and the politics? Get off my fucking radio.

I disagree with how Bush has handled basically all of this, but I certainly don’t accept the Washington assumption that your dedication to solving a problem is measured by how much of my money you throw at it.

And not to pick on the Londoners, but why all the bomb-sniffing dogs now? The bombs already went off, guys. Where were these dogs a few days ago? Something tells me they weren’t checking tube trains.

This is not a conflict of money nor of armament. It is a conflict of social and political ideology. Bombs and bored cops and an infinity of taxpayer dollars will not solve it.