Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yay! I'm in Belgium! The plane ride wasn't too bad. I had two seats to myself so I got to sleep more than I thought I would. I had a layover in DC which I thought would be crowded because of the inauguration (yay Obama!) but it wasn't at all. I got through customs fine. And during the first 5 hours of being in Belgium, I got to know the Belgian airport quite well because I arrived at 7:15am (1:15am back in Clemson) and was not picked up until 1pm Belgian time. Wonderful. I was, however, the ever-so-elegant American tourist and took pictures of random things. I'll share a few.
Right below here is just the vending machine section. But I thought it was kind of cool-looking because there are trees on the walls and the floor looks like grass. Oh and you can't tell from here but the first machine is for waffles, which is pretty awesome.

Continuing with the waffle theme, here's an ad I found (sorry it's sideways, I'm too lazy to change it and load it again). I thought this fit pretty great with the class too since we talked a lot about ads. This ad would definitely not work in America, or at least it wouldn't be very effective. Maybe one shaped like a hamburger would fit.

I took some other photos but they aren't as interesting. One observation, though: They had a burger place called "Quality Burger Restaurant". Not to knock on the Belgians but the word "quality" obviously as slightly different connotations. When I think "quality" I go back to my dorky band days where "quality" means one level above poor. That doesn't make me want to eat a "quality" burger. I figure it means something a little better in Belgium or they wouldn't name their restaurant that.

Well on to the rest of my trip so far:
Ok, so we have no where to live. Sara and I are staying with a Clemson faculty member that is over here right now in Brussels. The guys are with a UCL faculty member. The university hasn't given us any housing and we've been looking for apartments without much luck. It's kind of stressful.
In some more stressful news, Sara and I got lost on the train going to Louvain-la-Neuve (where UCL is) so that we could register for classes (which we ended up not being able to do) and look for housing (which we didn't find). We actually ended up going to Leuven where everything is in Dutch and we definitely didn't understand! On the bright side, it was kind of a funny adventure and we got waffles while waiting at the Leuven train station (which were amazing, even better than I expected).
Louvain-la-Neuve is a decidedly very cool place. I'm a fan. There weren't any college students around because they are on vacation but there were a ton of high schoolers and it's embarrassing to say that they all dressed better than me. European fashion is pretty high class. Also, I had a sandwich that cost only 1 euro and was too big for me to finish, so I'm pretty psyched about finding that place. I also had my first Belgian beer while there, called a Hoegaarden, that I was also very pleased with.
Ok so enough writing. I only hope my European adventure gets a little less crazy and a little more relaxing.