Friday, September 24, 2010

Working hard

 I would just like to record that I spent all of today working. Yes, I know there will be sceptics out there, but I did. A day of meetings - but I found it strangely stimulating.

Brussels beer drinkers
Nevertheless, with the meetings over, the reports written and despatched, I went for a short walk back to that  lovely Grand Place. There are many exciting new things to see and new places to go, but sometimes it is lovely to return to places which carry fond memories. I have a couple of those in Brussels. One is a restaurant on the Grand Place, not especially distinguishable from the many others around it, where I have eaten each time I've visited Brussels. It is called 'Le roi l'espanol' - I can't tell you why - and has the usual outdoor terrace with striped umbrellas and beer drinkers; and an indoor fireplace with more beer drinkers, and some hot chocolate drinkers. I had Flemish beef (beef stew, cooked in, well, beer).

Another favourite placed in Brussels is a big English bookshop called Stirlings. I wandered in, just for a look, you know. I saw a selection of that excellent series of little books from Oxford called
'A Very Short Introduction...'  There was one on Nietzsche, which I thought I should get. I saw one on 'Twentieth-Century Britain', which seemed compulsory reading. Then I noticed that they were on a '3 for 2' deal (uh-oh), so found one on Bertrand Russell - written by A C Grayling, so I had to have that also. My name is Annette and I am a bookaholic.

But my important purchases were a short book on The Parthenon, and one on Greek and Roman History -- because tomorrow: Athens!

Hotel Grande Bretagne, Athens

But I don't want to leave today's post without adding this link to another blog
which is being kept by my 16 year old niece, Scarlett, and her school group as they spend several weeks in Cambodia, teaching and working at villages in rural areas. The first few days were spent in Phom Phen, and you'll be touched by Scarlett's report on their visit to 'the bad Cambodia' - the confronting Tuol Sleng, an ex-school, ex-prison, that looks like the Khmer Rouge just left yesterday. To quote Scarlett (who was celebrating her sixteenth birthday that day):

       "The bus ride there was quite different from that morning. That morning we were all pointing out the window, taking pictures, waving to the locals, laughing at Bridget’s jokes and smiling very cheesy. This bus ride was different. There was silence. It was so silent that you could hear a pin drop. What we had seen before had shocked every single one of us. Most of us have stated that as we were driving all we could see was the pictures of those poor people in our heads. I started to cry as the thought swirled deeper and deeper into my head. We then reached the killing fields."

Good luck, Scarlett and your friends.

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