Friday, March 30, 2012

Carnaval

It's been awhile. My bad.

A couple weeks ago Marseille celebrated Carnaval. It's a festival. It's something in line with Mardi Gras and Lent and all that, but if I tried to claim anymore I'd be lying. All I really know is that Marseille had a parade, and kids going to the parade dress up in costumes. Kids here will dress up in costumes for just about anything. Birthday party at McDonalds? Where's my spiderman suit?! Except Halloween. No one dresses up for Halloween.

Sawyer dressed up as a cowboy. Actually, he didn't really dress up so much. He's been wearing his cowboy hat and bandana almost everyday for the past 2 weeks. He's wearing them right now.

Like any good parade, there were floats.

My favorite was these guys. A riding mower and some sweet moves. I think they were dressed up as West Virginians.

Here's a video to give a better idea of the scene:
video
Elsie decided to punch out our friend, which was unfortunate.

Why were there people unflatteringly dressed in full-body blue spandex, you ask? They are water droplets, naturally. The theme of the parade/carnival was 'water', following the recent World Water Forum held in Marseille.

Why penguins? I have no idea.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Week in Belgium

A week in Belgium (some observations)...
-Cute little houses. I'm not sure why, but the Family Matters house kept coming to mind as I drove through Brussels.
-Bilingual. Every sign in Brussels written in 2 languages, Flemish and French. That was odd. I was told that most Flemish folk learn French and often English or more. The French-speaking Belgians, just French. I loved them all, because when I spoke French they asked me why a French person was vacationing in Belgium. You go Belgium!
-Did I mention I now like Belgians? All of them.
-Having the flu on vacation, on your birthday, stinks.
-But... Pizza Hut! All over the place. Good call Belgium.
-Belgium isn't big. Since we were staying in Belgium, we considered ourselves tourists and spent much of our time visiting German villages or passing through the Netherlands of Luxemburg.-The first time I drove into Holland I passed my first bicyclists of the day less than 1 minute across the border. Stereotypes. *Snicker*
-The waffles killed it. Admittedly, the only Belgian waffles we ate were actually ordered on the German side of the border. But they were melt-in-your-mouth good.
-Eupen is in Belgium. Belgium's official languages are Flemish and French. Signs in Eupen were in German. Our waiter in Eupen spoke German and Italian, and a little bit of Polish. We speak English and French and a little bit of Swahili. No overlap. We ordered 2 cokes and a water. We received 2 cokes and an orange juice.
-I could eat German brats everyday.
-German McDonalds have milkshakes.
-'-fahrt' is a common prefix in German relating to directionality. Street signs everywhere end in '-fahrt'. I laughed every time.
-We stayed in a roadside hotel one night. A sign on the front door said a trucker had recently been stabbed to death in the parking lot, and information on the killer was sought. So that was nice.
-"Wurst Restaurant" is one of the best establishment names I've ever seen. I would suggest adding "The".
-Hiking through the woods is fun. An added bonus is hiking through 3 countries in 30 minutes.
-When my 3-year-old son fell and muddies his knees, he did the only logical thing and took off his pants mid-hike.
-Did I mention I love Belgians? Good people.
-Belgium is nothing like France. I always assumed it was like a little brother, but it's not. Different.

Our family, spread across 3 countries. Whoa.