Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A story of the two-faced beer

I'm just sitting here enjoying a Paulaner and jamming to the new Armin van Buurin and Tiesto podcasts. I'm officially all caught up on House, the only TV show I've actually been following this year. I made some awesome tacos for supper, imported from the glorious homeland. I finished up with emailing my Couchsurfing hosts in Italy for next weekend, which is awesome. I'm pretty stoked for partying with some Italian students and checking out San Marino I also powered off an email to the Chemical Engineering department head about transferrable course credits and to the dean about a down website I need to read to apply for some funds. The purpose will be explained later. If I explained everything now, you wouldn't bother reading what happened last weekend (yah I'm on to you).


So last weekend, Brit, Caitlyn, Steve "Babyface" Lahoda, Ryan "Omnitool" Faught, Robyn, and I went to Belgium. Being a country who likes to proclaim a love for brewing many different types of beer, the first thing we did upon landing in Belgium and dropping our stuff off at the hostel was get fries. Obviously. And some douchebag drunk French kid decided to charge at us and knock our fries on the ground. I was ready to stab him with my pathetic plastic fork if he decided to come back. He didn't.

We wound up at some random building that was huge and looked like it was designed to house trams during the night hours. Apparently that wasn't the reason it was built, but it was worth a shot at guessing.

<--- As seen to the left, Ryan "Omnitool" Faught and I enjoyed a tower of beer.


And it truly was a tower. In fact, most people that walked by us stared quite a bit. Some went to the extent of giving a thumbs up. It was quite pleasing.

Some random couple sat down beside us and struck up some conversation. The guy was very random and awkward. Luckily, I've known Andrew for a few months which prepared me sufficiently for the encounter. To a point where when he asked if we liked sex (after sitting down less than one minute prior), I wasn't even phased and was only worried that the follow-up question would be an offer for a threesome. Lol. Oh Belgium...


The following day, we got up and ate waffles. This happened quite frequently over the course of the trip. In fact, I enjoyed 5 waffles in 2 days.

<--- Steve eating a waffle ferociously (and apparently with some anger, visible in the pointed eyebrows and slightly squinted eyes)


For the morning and most of the afternoon, we just wandered around the city in normal intern fashion. We soaked up the sights and smelt the unpleasant smells of French-esque society. And I do mean that. The random aroma of human waste is most certainly present in Brussels. The same smell experienced in Lyon, and the same smell I expect to experience in Nice. I hope Luxembourg doesn't have this issue.

After getting more waffles and frites (and trying something marvelous called the Bicky Burger, which is basically a normal burger with curry sauce) we went to one of the world last remaining traditional Lambic beer breweries. Lambic beer means that they use natural yeast from the air, and fermentation (and therefore the entire production cycle) takes much longer than normal. I don't know what the difference is supposed to be between the yeasts, but the stuff they produce tastes essentially like beerish vinegar. I'm not going to piddle around the statement. I did not very much enjoy it. This is probably primarily due to my becoming very accustomed to German beer, which is very very very different from this Lambic beer. It is actually like comparing a potato and a badger.

<--- One of the amusing things we came across in our wandering through the city was this little marvel, appropriately called the "Pissing Statue".


He gets dressed up every few days in various uniforms to show how international Brussels is. Here, he looks like a little Musolini.

After sampling some Lambic beer, we went to the Atomium. It was rather large. Most of us didn't go up because it was too expensive. Instead, we went to a movie: Men Who Stare at Goats. It is a really bad movie considering how awesome the cast is. It was just too out there for me, although there were some really funny moments.


On Sunday, we got more waffles and Ryan "Omnitool" Faught and I had some cherry beer with breakfast. It was the only time I could feel was acceptable to drink fruity beer without offending my manhood. So we went to Ghent for the day. It was overcast and felt ridiculously cold even though it was actually 8°C. Now before you all try to rip me a new one for saying 8°C is cold, remember that when humidity is at 97% no amount of clothing actually makes you feel warm.

<--- Steve "Babyface" Lahoda checking out the canal


Regardless of the cold, the architecture in Ghent was very nice and there was also no random bad smells. This could probably be attributed to the influence of the Dutch as opposed to the French. We went into a few churches and into a bar to waste time. We tried some delicious and different beers. Kwak is my favorite, partially because of the crazy glass it is served in.

Now would probably be a good time to explain this week's title. One of the recommended beers, Westmalle, is a two faced beer. The explanation is simple. As you drink it, the beer tastes pleasantly sweet. But the aftertaste is slightly bitter. This results in a complex beer that is both refreshing and confusing. It was awesome.

Upon returning to Brussels to get one more fries and waffle, we came across a giant pylon.

<--- Ryan "Omnitool" Faught catching me at a bad moment.


Haha I tricked you! This actually isn't what it looks like. It is just me posing because I knew it would be funny. But it does bring up a key point. In Brussels, you have to pay to use washrooms. Even if you are a customer at the movie theater, a bar, or McDonalds. Call me crazy, but maybe that is why the city smells like piss everywhere. There I go again, solving the worlds problems one at a time.


We returned to Baden Sunday night and had to resume the life of working again. Ugh.


Now a quick explanation of my need to contact the Dean and the Chemical Engineering department head. An opportunity has come up for me to study in Dortmund, Germany for June and July. The timing is perfect, seeing as Mike leaves on the 22nd of May. In the event that I can recieve credit for one of my technical electives required for my degree, I'm going. It is as simple as that. One more summer (well, almost a complete one) in Europe would be awesome, and my schedule would be a joke. 3 day weeks. Long days allbeit, but still only 3 days. And Sensation White in Amsterdam. Plus, if I can get 75% of the costs covered by scholarships then it'll only cost a few hundred dollars plus extra travel costs.

Leave a comment, lemme know what you think of my staying in Europa for another summer.


AND HELP ME CHEER ON FELLOW CHEMICAL ENGINEER LUCAS MAKOWSKY AS HE COMPETES IN OLYMPIC SPEED SKATING (5000m and 1500m events) FEB 13th AND 20th.

GO LUCAS, WE'RE ROOTING FOR YOU!


Until next week, take it easy.
-Steveo

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