Saturday, May 27, 2017

Winery then Clownvis

Today we went to a winery that I hadn't been to before: Wild Sun Winery in Hillsboro, Missouri.

We did a little taste test first to get a lay of the land

I finagled our way into a stranger's game of bags.

Lydia lost a no-smiling contest.  Sad.

Later that night me and the guys went to see my role model Clownvis Presley, King of Clowns in the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill.

The opener Dracla was really good. The lead singer stayed in character hilariously. Once or twice while the crowd was cheering he yelled "silence!". Once he quipped that "the next song is an oldie, it's 500 years old."

Clownvis did his thing and won the hearts and minds of every last person in attendance.

He promised to Teen Wolf the Loop Trolley upon its completion.

Sometimes at night when the wind whistles through the trees I swear I can hear a faint "Clownvis".

Friday, May 26, 2017

Gorillas and a Beer Sale

Today was full of fun. First we hit the zoo.

Why would I pay $750 for a Rwandan gorilla watching permit when I can see them for free at the zoo?

Later on we paid a visit to an art fair at Schlafly Bottleworks. I kept seeing people carrying around cases of beer and I just thought that they didn't know how grocery stores work. Turns out they were having a sale! At only $5 a case I couldn't pass up the magic. 

Make hay while the sun shines, as they say.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Das Bevo Mill

Bevo Mill in South St. Louis is back up and running with new owners. Now it's open all the time instead of the Sunday brunch and venue situation that was happening before. Its hip new name is Das Bevo. Brandon moved down to South City recently so I popped down there with him to check it out.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sightseeing in Brussels then Return Home

My time in storybook Bruges had come to an end. I still had one night left in Brussels as a consolation prize though.

I had read beforehand that my Bruges hotel's big beds were just two smaller beds pushed together. I hadn't thought that would be a problem until I found myself in the dreaded crack.

It was snowing tree fuzzies on my walk to the train station.

Sorry Bruges, we've had our last beer together.

It's funny how much of a milestone the train station becomes. When I exited the station I was a newborn and completely confused by my surroundings. I returned triumphant having rocked this city like a star spangled hurricane.

I feel like I understand the cheesy concept of backpacking in Europe to find ones self. Here I feel more in control of who I am. No on has any preconceptions of me. I can conveniently leave out the failures and sins when telling my story and for a moment at least they seem to yield to the fiction that they have been defeated.

I'm leaving Bruges, I'm going to Brussels. I visited my friend in Africa. This is a much clearer narrative than I moved to Arkansas to chase employment, moved to St. Louis to run a business, and now I'm on to the next thing. Being an American doesn't mean much when you're in a sea of Americans. How can I stand out at home? Kai the tour guide said he's been tour guiding for 10 years. I imagine it's as easy to be seduced by this fantasy life here as it was in Japan. You can just be that fun guy and forget a lot of your problems.

I booked a tour of downtown Brussels to keep my last day entertaining.

This time my tour guide was right where he was supposed to be. Imagine that. While I was waiting for our tour to begin I glanced over at our sister Spanish language tour and my three new Brazilian buds from two days ago were there! Said a quick hello then we all agreed to never see each other again. For reals this time.

My guide was a very amusing Scot named Fraser. He had the jokes.

He made light of the fact that when the rest of the world was like "wait a minute we should use the wind to power things!" People around here pointed to their hundreds of years old windmills and were like, "Yeah, we know".

I was reminded of eating here with Lydia two years ago.

According to Fraser Brussels' Grand Place was home to Victor Hugo while working on Les Misérables and it was here that Karl Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto.

Successfully resisted buying one of these massive meringues from this shop.

There aren't nearly enough "baby for sale" signs in store windows nowadays.

On some days the Manneken Pis pees beer and people line up with mugs to catch some.

The Manneken has his own whimsical cult: the Friends of Manneken Pis.

Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. The last time I was here was during the night around Christmas so the whole place was lit up with decorations.

I walked over to La Fleur en Papier Doré where I had a really good conversation with the owner when I first began this trip before I left for Africa. When I got there it was closed and barely recognizable in the day light. I thought this was super sad. The spell was over, the magic ran out, time to go back home.

I stopped a random restaraunt nearby and had an excellent dinner of rabbit prepared with geuze, the aged lambic beer. A Polish dude named Jacob sat at the next table over and we struck up a conversation. He just quit his job in the UK and is going to visit a Russian friend in the Dominican Republic. European people have complicated lives.

It's funny, when traveling abroad during conversations I don't have to put effort into sounding interesting. I'm in Rwanda. I'm in Belgium eating a damn beer rabbit. The fact that I'm interesting is self evident.

 The next day I hit the airport.

Don't mind if I do.

In Europe even the airport food is good.

On the flight when the food came it was painfully clear how far I'd fallen since my business class flight. It was still decent though. There was even a little triangle of camembert.

The beer choice was this nasty Belgian half of a Bud Light.

Meanwhile, New York's LaGuardia airport is still a hellhole.

Goodbye Europe, until we meet again!