8 Feb 2016

WEEKEND REVIEW February 6, 2016

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 caf├ęs 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.


Anonymous said...

Guten Morgen!
mit http://letzterrang.blogspot.de/

Andrew said...

CNY has become so big here it had to be spread out this year from its traditional Chinatown base. It sounds like a great inaugural CNY celebration in Brussels. 40,000 is a significant number of Chinese. Donald Duck, haha. Visiting the cafe must have been wonderful. Brussel's dialect? The bar tender looks nice. Seems there are benefits to being old and needing a wheelchair.

Gracie said...

There were lots of chinese parades in Italy too, in the cities that house the major chinese communities, but I've never seen one. Thanks for sharing.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Gattina - looks like it was a fun time ... cold too! Glad Chantal has arrived back safely and her son is better .. cheers Hilary

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I'm glad your friend's son is better and that she is safely home again. His apartment building sounds pretty good though -- as long as it has to be winter, it would be good to have all those amenities indoors!

YOu and your other friend had a good time at that parade -- "picking up" an extra man along the way I see ;>)!!! How far is it to Brussels from Waterloo? I know I've asked you this before and should know.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like the perfect place to watch a parade on a cold day! Glad to hear your friend's son is better. That sounds wonderful, to have a pool and fitness room inside!

peppylady (Dora) said...

I love a parade and Belgium must have all sorts of people.

Coffee is on