Bits and pieces from the DRBBA.
When we stand in our bathroom, we can hear pigeons cooing. Of course, as people always do in these cases, we spent the first couple of days each of us wondering to ourselves what it was that sounded like pigeons cooing in the bathroom; then we asked aloud, "Do you hear pigeons cooing in the bathroom?" Then we saw the pigeons on the roof. Another mystery solved.
On Valentines Day we went to a good Italian restaurant a few doors up the street from the hotel. It was crowded, of course, since V-Day is a big holiday for florists, chocolate shops, and jewelers in Belgium just like at home. We sat next to--and when I say "next to," I mean his elbow and mine were almost touching (it was an Italian restaurant after all)--a really loud, obnoxious, yet oddly lovable guy about my age. He had a great moustache, too. He started off by asking me if I like jokes. Then he asked if I play cards; he wanted to talk about the poker tournament he had seen where a guy won a million dollars. It went like that all evening. On the other side of him was a young couple containing a pretty girl with...umm...a striking figure. While the young couple was eating their pizzas, my new best friend looked over at them and said, "Wow, that's making me drool. Not the pizza. Her!" Pretty girl laughed it off, as European girls always do, partly because it all sounded cute and nonthreatening in French. And after all, my pal was with his wife, who was amused by the whole performance. In the US he would probably have been arrested for misdemeanor sexual assault, which is why the Brits refer to the States as the "irony-free zone."
Last night we had couscous. Yum! There are a ton of ethic restaurants here in Mons. So far we've seen Chinese, Italian, Tunisian, Greek, Vietnamese, French, Danish, one place specializing in Alsatian cuisine, and a couple of Provençal places. Then there's the Chi-Chi's and the four-story McDonald's on the Grand Place. The one thing we have yet to find is a Belgian restaurant.
For the Francophones among you who may be wondering about noun-adjective agreement in "La Grand Place," yes it should be "La Grande Place." All I can say is that it's a Belgian thing.
Another Belgian--or northern European--thing is that it got up into the 50s yesterday, so all the restaurants and cafés on the Grand Place set up their outdoor tables. And they were well populated!