Since the boring January is over, February started with preparations for Carnival and other activities.
For the first time there was a Chinese New Year celebration with a New Year parade, which started at the Grand'Place in Brussels. I had seen Chinese New Year festivities long time ago in London, so I had to go there just to see how it was. Apparently there are 40.000 Chinese living in Belgium.
I wanted to arrive early to see the preparations of the parade and have the opportunity to take close pictures of the various costumes. We arrived at the Grand Place and I was lucky to find a parking space, it was almost a miracle ! Nicole was with me and we had lunch first.
When we arrived a quarter to 2, the parade was not yet ready, but we could see the costumes. Some were really very beautiful. The Chinese were lucky, it didn't rain and even the sun came out. But there was a very cold wind and the poor girls in their costumes were freezing. The place was packed ! Mr. Donald Duck Trump's Brussels hellhole was full of joy and instead of soldiers and policemen we only saw tourists from all over the world. I am sure he would prefer to go to hell than to heaven under these conditions !
We were very lucky ! We found a table at the window of the restaurant/bar "Le roi d'Espagne" (The King of Spain) which used to be my dates' meeting place, and I could take all pictures through the window and see the whole parade in the warmth of the room and drinking a coffee.
But to see the parade we had to wait ! It had been announced that it would start at 2 pm. At 3 there was still nothing. One Chinese who was sitting besides us, told us that they were waiting for the ambassador who would hold a speech. But I don't know if this was true, because the parade finally started around 4 pm two hours late !! I told him that even our King wouldn't dare to be 2 h late.
The waiting was worthwhile the parade was not very long but very nice and everybody had a lot of fun.
On our way back, Nicole wanted to show me a very special place, one of the oldest cafés in Brussels. It's still the place where artists meet, painters or actors and the walls are full of their paintings or designs.
It was so typical "Brussels", some of the guests still spoke the Brussels' dialect, and all people talked together and it was really very funny. The man had taken the first picture of us but then insisted to also be on the photo. I will write more detailed in another post.
The next day I had to pick up my friend Chantal from the airport. She came back from Toronto where she had been to take care of her sick son, who is fortunately far better. I especially arrived an hour after the landing and I was right, the handicapped people are the last once to leave the plane and there were 24 on board waiting for a wheelchair and then the luggages had to be collected.
I just waited 5 min when she arrived together with a man who was carrying her suitcase. She had had a nice time, it was sunny in Toronto and there were even 15°C on one day. Her son lives on the 20th floor of a building of 50 floors, and inside is a swimming pool and fitness room, cinema and shops. So she didn't have to go outside.
The afternoon I stayed home did our laundry and despite the sunny weather didn't go outside because there was a terrible wind and the parks closed.
1. I noticed that each week I complain about the bad weather ! It really makes me feel caged ! I run out of outside pictures, can't walk in the woods or parks, or visit special places etc. I am not at all a window shopper or boutique visitor, which leaves me with museums shopping centers and Galleries. I can't sit the whole day in a station and watch people ! From my three umbrellas, there is none left, I forgot them somewhere and have to buy a new one or better two !
That's Waterloo's main street ! Rather wet isn't it ?
As my friends are in the same case, what do we do ? We get together and chat ! That's less boring.
2. Fortunately I have my blogwork. I have finally time to file my pictures in the right folders read blogs, make comments and surf the net for all kind of things. I have also continued to read this blog since its very beginning and have noticed that I already complained about the weather ! My neighbor is again hospitalized and her daughter asked me to walk the dog once in the afternoon, which I did with pleasure, the funny thing was, it stopped raining probably because I went outside.
3. It's interesting to read and also how blogging has changed, less funny games and themes we played together as groups. Many old bloggers have moved to Facebook, which is not the same at all, or to this useless Google+, where you are not even allowed to comment on blogs without becoming member of this thing.
4. Nicole had a new TV channel provider installed which comes together with internet and telephone in a package. I went over to connect her tablet to her own internet and we also tried out the new channels. The only one who enjoys rain is Charlie the dog, he doesn't bother to be wet like a sponge.
5. We had lunch together in the "Lunch Garden" having Charlie with us is always a lot of fun because everybody who loves dogs asks if they could pet him, how old he is and start to chat about their own dogs or cats.
This time Charlie was especially happy because for lunch we had half a chicken !He was delighted that it was too much for us and kindly helped us to finish the plate ! He never begs, he only puts his head on my lap and looks at me ! Who could resist such a look.
Nicole had invited two friends to "our" Chinese restaurant, which they didn't know. Of course I came too. The two friends turned out to be like giggling teenagers, despite their vintage age. We also behaved like this, but without smart phones, we just talked in direct and laughed loud. We made quite some noise, because one of the girls had a very loud voice, her husband doesn't hear very well. From time to time we told her to speak a little less noisy, but that never lasted for long.
Besides our table was another one with 4 ladies. They were not noisy at all they were very silent despite the fact that they seemed to have a lot of fun too. They looked like a group of Italian Mammas speaking with their hands but no voice, all four of them were death and dumb. They made big smiles and signs to us and we smiled back and made signs that the food was very good.
At one moment I was at the buffet and one of the deaf women hit me at my arm and pointed on the sauces. I understood that she asked me which of the sauce was spicy. I pointed to the one which was not spicy at all and shook my head and then on one where I opened my mouth and panted like an old dog. She understood and we both smiled.
Later I thought it would be nice to learn the sign language and read on lips. I wonder if in all languages the signs are the same. I asked Mrs. Wikipedia and learned that "A common misconception is that all sign languages are the same worldwide or that sign language is international. Aside from the pidgin International Sign, each country generally has its own, native sign language, and some have more than one, though sign languages may share similarities to each other, whether in the same country or another one.It is not clear how many sign languages there are. The 2013 edition of Ethnologue lists 137 sign languages.
What a pity ! I thought at least the deaf and mute people had the same language all over the world !
If it would have been the same for all languages I would have tried to learn, I once had a deaf friend when I was 18, she read on my lips. At that time I would have learned, but there were no schools where I lived. Now I am too lazy and so I remain with my personal body language. If I want to tell that somebody had been strangled, I just put my hands around my neck open my mouth and let my tongue hang out, while I have a cross eyed look. I think that is understandable for everybody.
As I have worked as a volunteer during the festivities of the bicentenary of the Waterloo battle, I like to go there from time to time just to see if with all these renovations and changes there are more tourists now.
Of course January is not the ideal month to visit the site, but still the other years there were people who visited the site and had a warm or cold drink in the various restaurants or cafés around the Lion.
But now, there is nothing anymore. Read more here .....