Old Grandma Rescues Knight in Shining Armour in a Car and the Damsel
After 3 hours of uneventful driving from Haarlem, we were now stuck in the bylanes of old Bruges. It was a tiny car but the streets were tinier. The tiniest of grandmas hopped into our car with an “Allez, Allez”.
We stepped on the pedal.
If ever I surprised myself it was when I realized my french was not half as bad as I thought it was. We cautiously asked her if she did not have anything more urgent to attend to than to steer two wide eyed, mild mannered tourists. After all, she did have a cute shopping bag and looked like she was in the middle of a conversation with her friends when we desperately were trying to back out of a cobble stoned cul-de-sac and she had commandeered our car.
She spent a good 15 minutes helping us navigate intricate medieval paths to our hotel (which actually was not far from where she had hopped on). Once we arrived, she hopped out, chirped an “Au revoir”, waved gallantly and disappeared amongst the crowd.
We found that to be very typical among Bruges locals. Extremely helpful despite being run over by tourists.
And then we did the touristy things. Bruges town square.
Did I mention that Bruges ranked amongst our favorite destinations? In a really selfish way I am glad MolenBeek is scaring a lot of tourists away from Belgium [edit: and the day after I wrote this there were serial blasts]. The reasons to love Bruges can be bullet listed. I do that only when I mean business.
- Excellent Beer, Belgian Fries and Chocolates,
- Flemish cuisine (oh their rabbit stew), and,
- I saw Jesus’s Blood.
TinTin and Cognitive Dissonance In Bruges
Many Indian middle class children grew up on a staple of books the origin and curation of which is a mystery to me. They are some combination of Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew/Enid Blyton, Amar Chitra Katha, Asterix and TinTin. Then there is the occassional Misha, SPAN and Reader’s Digest.
Growing up did it never strike the readers that there exists a world where those stories were real?
Children are the most impressionable. If they are not given an explanation they tend to make up one. Most of the explanations fantastic. TinTin’s adventures must’ve been compartmentalized as fiction in young brains. Paneled story telling to be relegated to print media. Not reality.
When we grow up the compartmentalization is so rigid and ingrained that when we think of life’s problems, we try to disassociate those solutions offered by our readings, just because we have mounted them as displays only to be viewed and not used.
Just like the set of porcelain ware in showcases.
My home had one such set of porcelain ware that was brought out only during special occasions. Which were normal occasions with special guests. Who were normal people who had invited us over for their special occasions.
To serve bourgeois hominy homilies. So is the middle class in Bruge called the Brugeois!