vspb (Feb 12 2009, 02:23 PM) said: > original post
I had to register just to tell you how much I enjoyed your comments! I think they give a pretty good summary of life here, but you must have a sense of humor. You made my day and it made me smile to hear you vent! As a serial expat, I've learned there are good and bad aspects of life everywhere. You just have to try to focus on the good parts and I admit Brussels is one of the places where you really have to look for the good parts. Such as: you can explore Europe from here? For me, its closer to my place of origin thus quicker and cheaper to visit family than when I lived in Asia. Other than the sun is shining at this very moment, those are only the only two good points that come to mind. I must admit that I much prefer living in a place where the extremely occasional glance of the sun is not a major event for rejoicing! But I do have a sense of humor and I've learned to roll with the punches and bloom where I am planted. My personal opinion is that the lack of sunshine is the reason everyone here walks around looking so grumpy and never smiling. From all outward appearances the Belgiums seem as a whole very unhappy people. You may not appreciate this advise, but sometimes volunteer work can actually be very rewarding nd a great way to meet people. I've not done any here yet, but in the past I've worked with street kids, helped in an orphanage, and taught English as a volunteer to S. Korean children in the countryside that have never heard a native English speaker. I always get much more out of whatever I'm involved in than I put into it, so its good therapy for me as well as helping others Best of luck to you and I hope your assignment here is a ahort one.
blarfy (Feb 12 2009, 12:36 AM) said: > original post
Well, looks like you have absolutely ZIP to add to this equation, besides a few nasty comments.
Not only that, but you're wrong on several counts.
Here's my take:
1. The weather is horrible almost year round. Rarely see sun, rains constantly, and is cold, dark, and gray all the time, winter and summer.
You got that right.
2. Brussels is totally depressing; it is dirty, has terrible drivers, ultra loud sirens, businesses closed frequently. If you must move here, go to Antwerp.
Bingo. Everything is closed on Sunday and then after 6pm or 8pm any other time. Definitely not there to do business if you won't bend to their will. When I need something, I go to Antwerp. Statistically, Brussels is one of the worst for accidents and driving in Europe. This may have something to do with the utterly incompetent bureaucracy which oversees transport and traffic.
3. If you like ethnic food, it will mostly disappoint as it is not very authentic due to being transposed to French tastes.
4. Brussels is expensive for value received (but, yes, cheaper than the UK or Tokyo, but if you're on Aussie, Canadian, or US dollars, it's expensive).
Yep. Go to Antwerp or Gent. Or maybe the Ardennes. Brussels blows and sucks on this one.
5. Unless you are a miracle worker, you will hardly ever meet any locals. Then again, you might not want to after you have.
Yep. Luckily I had some introductions before I first arrived, but the first crew that I worked with just abouyt poisoned it for me.
6. There are many expats who like it here - but they drink a lot - a whole lot.
Don't worry, you'll never see them because you won't be making many friends. (Unless you're lucky.)
7. The bureaucracy is mind-boggling; can't process visas at all, especially if you're a girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband, etc. Expect to wait about a year plus to get a visa processed, if ever. Meantime, you can't work or have any life at all. Why is it like this? No one knows other than the gov doesn't function almost at all.
Bingo. The govt doesn't function at all, in fact. Even when you do have the right papers and want to get something done, local officials seem often mystified. (They could also be mystified that the sun, when visible, comes up in the same place every morning and that water is wet. Don't tell them the earth is round, though. They think that you fall off the edge if you go too far.) Then again, the locals I know hate them and call them incompetent too.
emilio416 (Jan 31 2009, 11:31 AM) said: > original post
In 2003 I bought the most expensive one I could find at Blokker's, for 39€ if I remember well. It's still going strong! Sometimes it has advantages not buying the cheapest ones around... Now I'm looking for a new Gentleman's shoulder bag (NOT a rucksack). My present one is also from 2003 and was pretty expensive (I don't remember exactly, but more or less 150€). However, they seem to have disappeared from the shops! I can only see the very small ones, those that one carries on the hand...Strange... Any ideas, preferably not Delveaux???