Thursday, October 29, 2009

title: the beaux city of brussels

victory! here, at last, loyal readers, is the documentation of the weekend i turned 20!
my big goal in brussels was to see the mannekin pis, because quite honestly i didn't know the first thing about the city before visiting. i didn't even know they spoke french there. so yes, i saw the mannekin.but then i saw the rest of the city, and the mannekin pis is absolutely not the coolest thing there.lots of sculpture.
i also have to comment on this particular image:the view from this spot in the park looked just like some kind of city from star trek. it was so futuristic and blue.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

title: herfst

the most beautiful time to be born.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

title: and so, to ghent!

fortunately, bruges does not speak for all of belgium. ghent is awesome. it's like if bruges and brussels had a brilliant lovechild. it's full of art and medieval charm, just to the right scale, and everything is affordable for a lowly student such as myself. (don't get me wrong, you can go expensive if you want to, but it's not forced like in CERTAIN towns.) plus, the people are friendly here and the oldsters aren't scabs. i had coffee with a woman who has lived in ghent all her life, and had been going to that particular coffee shop (mokabon, where you can go to the best cappucino ever for only 2 euro) since she was nine years old. a cute young couple also sat with us, and spent the entire time pinching each other as they stirred their coffees. and that was only the beautiful beginning to my day.

one more cool thing: there is a street in ghent where you can do graffiti without getting in any trouble. behold.
does it not speak to the innermost happiness of you soul?! they love art in ghent. i also took in the s.m.a.k., where i saw some crappy modern art and some cool modern art. in addition to its exhibits, there is "coming people": the museum displays art students' work, chosen by curators from the museum itself and from international museums (this year it was a person from japan). also, they actually allow you to take (non-flash) photos in the museum, which is an awesome idea. i'm still working out whether or not any of the photos i took are good enough to be worth posting. only photoshop will tell! for now, just enjoy this beautiful image from a junk shop (where, incidentally, i wound up haggling for and buying a melodica):wow.

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title: bruges: the simple

if you have ever seen the movie in bruges, you will know that colin farrell spends nearly the entire thing making fun of how boring bruges is. let me halfheartedly apologize for referencing this movie in my post. i know it's all bruges is known for and that it's so cliche to use it as a jumping-off point. if that bothers you, you should probably go away. there is a reason that said film is the only thing in bruges that people talk about. let me allow colin to explain:

"if i grew up on a farm, and was retarded, bruges might impress me; but i didn't, so it doesn't."

yeah, that's pretty much true. it's a lovely old city, really, but everything is super expensive and everyone is old. old and cranky. all the museums ad cathedrals are under construction, so they're either not worth seeing or closed. they don't let you see jesus' blood for some reason, so even that small novelty is out the window. plus everything smells like groty egg farts, all the time. this first photo is an extremely typical street-shot of bruges.
what are you going to do? pay 4 euro for a bottled beer and feel sorry for yourself, then go to ghent.

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title: nighttime in paris

we come at last to the end of our paris series!
i took a small break in between posts to go to belgium. no big deal.
the last day i spent in paris was a monday. at night the city was deserted (parisians have to sleep too), and alex and i walked around with a cheap bottle of wine and all the time in the world. an interesting fact about this night: it is the first time i have peed on (not in, mind you) a foreign country. don't worry, i managed to avoid peeing on myself. check this first photo out extra close: alex took this little baby at night without a tripod. he has the steady hands of a surgeon.
this last photo is my absolute favorite ever. alex's idea, my drunken execution.
coming up are photos from belgium, including bruges, ghent, and my birthday in brussels!

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

title: streets of paris 2: art and architecture

i didn't wind up taking too terribly many photos of buildings on my trip. i have a lot of shots from high places like the butte montmartre and the eiffel tower, but they are really very basic. i think i was just hyped up on caffeine and excited by how much i could see. check out this beautiful place!
i saw that poster being glued to the wall while i was having coffee with my mom and aunt. the man who put it up painted the wall over and over with glue, and took especial care to lay the poster flat. he even cut of the corner so he didn't paste over that red clown's speech bubble, which was an absolutely adorable act.
the next and final segment will be: paris by night!

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title: streets of paris 1: the people

the general pleasantness of the parisians, especially when the weather is nice, came as something of a surprise to me. all we ever hear about the french in america is that they are grumpy and short-tempered. oh yeah, and that they hate us. well, i ran into the sort of americans that even americans hate (i.e. the kind who pronounce pigalle like "pig-alley", which i promise is something i actually heard), and that was the only time i felt self-conscious of my nationality. and at that point, my mom, aunt, and i were laughing at these people along with the rest of the metro car. here are some images of the people of paris, being cute and all-around french.
yup, that's a didgeridoo. the caliber of street performers in paris sets the bar very high for the rest of the world. take this guy for example:i don't know if you can tell, but he has a live goldfish in that jar on top of his head. and he was actually managing to juggle and dance in time with the music. he so deserved the money he was earning! i also gave some change to a guy playing "volare" on his guitar in the metro, and a guy who was playing the entire amelie soundtrack on his accordian in a metro station. i wasn't the only one with her camera at the ready! these people are all taking photos of a solid chocolate-and-swarovski-crystal representation of the paris opera. decadence, thy name is paris.
and what would a post about the people i saw in paris be without photos of my beloved mommy and auntie?
this was while having coffee on the first level of the eiffel tower. yum!
next up will be the sequel: the streets of paris sans people. (i just rhymed)

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