15 Dec 2012

BRUSSELS UGGLIEST CHRISTMAS TREE

Each year we had a wonderful huge Christmas tree a real one, coming from Norway or the Ardennes standing in the middle of the Grand'Place. This year the city council members got probably boozed and accepted the tree's sponsor, electricity generator Electrabel,  and has opted for something new. A "Christmas tree" in metal,  attached some boxes on it and with a lot of phantasy you imagine that you are standing in front of a Christmas tree, which is rather made for your nightmares ! How it was built you can see here. There had been lots and lots of protestations, whithout result.

As I just came back from holidays and didn't have the opportunity to go personally to the Grand'Place, (besides it rained and it was cold), I had the good idea to watch the Grand'Place through the different video cameras which are there probably to observe the tourists or upcoming troubles. I wish somebody would dismantle this horror during night, but the big brother is watching you ! Myself included !

First I saw the box tree how it looks natural



It looks as if somebody has hang up old big boxes in carton color



Suddenly the thing became green, and probably made the visitors green looking too. Faces ready for Halloween.



After a while everybody looked blue


then yellow



the orange color gave a more advantageous complexion



and then your face looked purple, before it turned to colorless again and the whole light show started again.

Here is an a article and a video from Euronews

14 Dec 2012

FRIDAY's FAVE FIVE



more participants at Susanne at Living to tell the Story.

1. I came back from my 12 days holidays in Egypt at the Red Sea and felt like returning to the Northpole !
From 28°C in the shade,  I found myself suddenly confronted with - 3°C ! I had put on my T-shirt a thick cardigan and a windbreaker, I also wore socks for the first time again, but still althought the airport was heated and our car too, the cold hit me like a hammer !



With one foot still on holidays I throw the whole content of my suitcase in the laundry, supervised by Arthur, and then spend the whole day by sorting out my pictures, I was in a melancholic mood, and just avoided to look outside.

2. I managed to pull myself together and go at least to my Yoga classes, Dominique who had been with me in Egypt felt the same way, and while getting out of the car we did a shiver competition ! After the Yoga we felt a little better and did some food shopping in our favourite "Deepfreeze" shop.

3. I had to bring papers to the health insurance and took the opportunity to find some Christmas gifts, and fortunately I found what I wanted ! Now I have almost everything.

4. While I was away the city had decorated streets and put up trees and it looked really very christmassy everywhere.


One of the trees just on my way home

I had got an invitation from my friend (ex blog friend) Claudie to spent New Year's Eve with her in the South of France and as Mr. G. pushed me to accept, because he prefers to sleep into the New Year I booked my flight and said "Youpee" !

5. When I arrived in my painting class, I noticed that the whole retirement home was decorated ! Little Christmas trees were on all little tables where people sit and have coffee and play cards or scrabble or whatever.



It is not a private home but subsidized by the city and I think it is really a very good place  for poor or less poor people who can't live alone anymore. Of course my class mates all asked me if I had noticed something of the troubles going on in Egypt, but where I was it has been like always, the troubles are apparently only in Cairo.

The rest of my time I spent with with making Christmas headers for my blogs and Christmas cards, I love to be creative and had a lot of pleasure by doing this. It comforted me and let me forget the cold weather and eventual worries !

13 Dec 2012

WHEN CHRISTMAS BECOMES A DUTY

Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday
 


The definition of the word "Duty is a term that conveys a sense of moral commitment or obligation to someone or something. It's also something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation.

That's what often happens on Christmas. Children think it's their duty to celebrate Christmas with the parents and that becomes complicated when they are married or have a partner because of course you have to go to both parents ! I was lucky, in some way, because my Italian husband's family didn't celebrate Christmas as it is celebrated in France, part of Belgium (the Wallons, the Flemish copy the Dutchs) France, the UK, Austria, the Eastern countries and Switzerland. Nobody ever asked us to visit them in Italy it also was too far away.

Therefore I celebrated with my parents only , and nobody else. They never invited my Grandma for Christmas. My father didn't like her with his brother and sister he had broken all contact. As a child Christmas was very nice , but when I married it became different ! Christmas became a duty for me.

My parents arrived the car loaded with presents and my father unloaded very slowly so that the whole street could see how generous he was with his daughter. He had also told his collegues what things he would offer (my mother didn't count and was never mentioned) Often I knew already what he would offer, because some of the collegues' daughters were my friend. He was a man who lived for appearance and was convinced that he could buy everything. He always had to do more than his collegues or friends, he wanted to be the most generous father in the world. Love was not his thing.

My mother arrived, changed all decorations in the house and as I didn't agree, the fights started. She checked the house for eventual dust or dirt, and brought me cleaning stuff. This was the beginning of a very stressful "on duty" Christmas ! Mr. G. got long speaches of what he should do in his job, and my mother got angry because my father had told her that my cooking was better than hers. Everything was done to put things on the table and hurt each other. What did we do ? We escaped ! Once Mr. G. once me to my best friend who lived a few streets farer to rest and breath and then return to the "battle field". Our only concern was that our little son didn't realize the tension and had a nice and cheerful Christmas.

When I think back now of all these "on duty" Christmas celebrations, I regret that I didn't dare to tell my parents, that in our house we are the hosts and they the guests and not the other way around. If Christmas with us was so awful, why didn't they stay home ? Mr. G. and I once they were gone, were fully exhausted and he was hurt but never said anything. He could do what he wanted, it was never good enough for my parents and that, they showed especially on Christmas. Of course I was rather furious and hurt, that he never said a word, just to keep the balance and create some kind of peace !

Christmas celebrations became a nightmare for me for many years until they both died. I think this has marked me for life. I am always fearing Christmas, because I never know if I would be hurt again.



Appearances are deceptive

But I am not alone, many of my friends and lots of people live the same in this season.

12 Dec 2012

11 Dec 2012

MY WORLD - Hurghada Red Sea Egypt




Since 2007 between end November beginning December I am spending 2 weeks in Hurghada, Egypt at the Red Sea. It had been long ago a little fisher town, until since the 1980s some clever investors discovered that this would be an ideal place for the sun hungry Europeans !



read more here

10 Dec 2012

WHAT DID YOU DO THIS WEEKEND ?



Helps you to remember what you have done on the weekend of December 8. If you participate please put the little logo on the top of your post and leave your link.

On Saturday it was again a very beautiful day and as it was our last holiday we enjoyed the sunshine until the last minute !



We said good bye to the beautiful flowers



a last picture on the beach



and on a quad just for fun because we didn't want to go with that thing in the desert. We would have prefered a camel, that's less noisy and more romantic



We took our last supper in our favorite restaurant which mostly served Egyption, Morrocan or Libanese food and after that, we unfortunately had to pack our suitcases



We had got another fruit basket for the last days, but which we had no opportunity to eat and then waited for the bus which should take us to the airport.




The weather was a little cloudy so it wasn't too hard to say good bye



The new flower decoration in the reception hall before we left the hotel

The bus arrived at 9.30 am and took us on a "sightseeing" tour through Hurghada, stopping in I don't know how many hotels to pick up guests and drive them to the airport. I had just time to buy some things in the free shop before we had to board.


The  airport in Sharm el Sheik. During the flight we could watch the movie "We bought a Zoo" (??) which was a quiet funny film. 

Once in the plane we were told that we had to stop in Sharm el Sheik before flying to Brussels. By the time they had explained how to survive in case of a plane crash, we had already arrived as the flight took only 15 min. We all had to get out of the plane, some of the passengers stayed in Sharm el Sheik, the others with some new comers were carried again to the plane which meanwhile had refuelled. Finally we went up into the air, watching again the hostess dancing her survival dance and flew without any incident this time right through to Brussels, where we arrived at 6.30 pm (there is 1 h time difference).

Of course the last suitcase which arrived to be picked up was Nicole's and we had to wait and wait until it finally arrived. Mr. G. thought we would never arrive then drove us home through an awful strong rain, and cold weather. I felt welcomed home. We stopped at Nicole's and said good bye and then went home. To end our holidays properly, Mr. G. had prepared warmed up Lasagne, we had a lot to tell and then Dominique went home, and I fell half dead in my bed. We had been 12 h underway (just for 4 h flight) Long live the security controls ! 

The one an only cat who greated me with joy was Arthur. He probably thought I would have brought him some Egyptian chicken ....



9 Dec 2012

DISCOVERING POSH HURGHADA

The most posh area in Hurghada is the Marine, or harbour. I had never been there in all these years I have spent my winter holidays here since 2007. We decided to go there in the evening after supper.

This time we took the hotel's taxi, there was no haggling the driver took us there asked when we wanted to come back and picked us up very punctually. The whole return trip to the other end of Hurghada cost only 5 € ! Sad that we didn't know that before ! In fact it was written, but we didn't pay attention.



The area was very luxury indeed. Gigantic yachts, some even with a helicopter on the top ! The shops were in a Gallery all out of marble, and everything looked very clean.



Nicole inspects an antique oven which was there for decoration. The shops are very elegant and all along the harbour were beautifully decorated restaurants and caf├ęs. Unfortunately my camera was in a bad mood this evening and the night pictures didn't come out very well. I must have done something wrong with the settings. We had a refreshing glass of beer before we went home. Now we know that we have to go back there one afternoon, to see this in daylight, but that's on the program for next year !

In this place we really realized the enormous gap between rich and poor Egyptians ! We also realized that the locals we met were against the fact to mix religion with politics ! One young student who worked in the hotel to pay his studies told me a little about the troubles now in Cairo. A fact is that almost all intellectuals are against the actual president, but of course all uneducated people believe what they are told. Everything will get better !

We spent our last day on the beach. The confused lady followed me to the toilet wanted to put on her bathing suit and started to undress on the beach. I pushed her inside the restroom and told her that she had to undress in a toilet and lock the door. She did it and while she changed clothes she sang, what she took off. "And now I take off my T-shirt, lalala" etc. It was funny but also sad.






Before we went swimming for the last time, I took these pictures of the view out of our room and our little balcony where I always took my first cup of coffee.