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by jemma margaret

Dear Patient Readers,

Here we are again in Paris. This time at the tip top of a well lit and very snug apartment in the 10th.

But let’s begin at the beginning. At about 6PM on Thursday night I received two texts from XL Airways. What? You’ve never heard of XL Airways? I regret to say that the xl does not stand for excellent nor extra large seats, but probably xtremely late. That’s right, my 11:55 departure was now happening at the yawning hour of 2 AM. I later learned this was for the very French reason that the air traffic controllers at CDG were on strike.

This delay was matched and even raised by my TGV train to Brussels, which was a whopping 2.5 hours late. The fact that this never happens is attested by the form for a refund that was handed out to every passenger on board. Hopefully I can take advantage of this.

My sister met me at the Bourse stop off the number 3 tram, and we walked to the basement of a Greek restaurant where her study abroad group was in the process of drinking too many pitchers of red wine. Awkwardly there was a half hour of “superlative awards” where my sister won “most punctual” (so proud!!!), almost everyone else won “nicest” (there seemed to be a general lack of understanding of the grammatical meaning of superlative), and some people won nothing (ouch!).

When Madeleine told me that her apartment in Brussels had the shower in the kitchen, I had imagined that the shower head hung from the kitchen ceiling with a drain in the floor (something I have occasionally seen in very snug bathrooms). Happily, this was not the case. The shower just happened to be located off of the kitchen. Much less awkward. More awkward were the dozen pairs of women’s shoes that lined the staircase up and down from the toilet shared with the landlord and her two daughters. These are narrow stairs, and the addition of shoes proved unhelpful.

Fantastic morning run in a very non-French style wooded park followed by a leisurely walk into town (during which I stubbed my toe and ended up with a sandal full of blood, oops) for waffles amidst a very Asian fellow clientele.

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The Liege waffle was unfortunately not crispy, but very tasty. Familiarly tasty in fact. After a bit of thought Madeleine hit upon the fact that this waffle tasted exactly like a delicious morning bun. My coffee, on the other hand, tasted like water.

After this surprisingly filling meal, we wandered throughout the city center as it became more and more inhabited by attendees of a gay pride parade. This confused my gentle host, who was not used to such a boisterous Brussels.

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I bought some lovely miniature strawberries.

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We had lunch at a self-declared healthy chain. This was necessary because there were more waffles, frites, and beer on the future menu. We shared a spinach soup and a lentil salad.

Then we went to the Magritte museum. I did not lie about my old age so I had to pay full price. Six euros is the cost of honesty.

(I am going to wake up my sister so we can buy bread and the best butter before the afternoon turns to evening. More later)

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