Sunday, February 24, 2008

Critical Observation: Grand Place

I’ve been in observation mode for a week. This weekend my housemates were out of town so I’ve been on my own. Friday we found a perfect pub that was literally a hole in the wall. You walked though this long dark ally/hallway before you entered this little room. There was a band warming up in the small area outside the entrance. When they started playing the people were dancing and shaking in an odd but blissful fashion. It was nice to relax with a few friends at the end of this week. Plus the little room with yellow paint chipped walls just made me happy. The owner traveled though out the room making sure all his patrons were contented. The room was close, warm and comfortable. I sipped yet another kind of beer and just relaxed.

I guilty slept in on Saturday and lounged around the house. Moments when I have the house to myself are precious. I finally found some energy and took a long shower. When everyone is in the house we take short boat showers to make sure there is enough hot water. When I’m in the islands I am the queen of getting clean on 2 minutes of water. Casamar’s bathroom is always at a cool 80 degrees. However, the cold tiles of the 1600s merchant home do not provide the same sauna affect. So after lounging and regrouping I wondered around the city with a fresh pen and ready mind. I found a ledge in Grand Place to sit on and I just watched, and wondered what this square looked like 10, 50, or 100s of years ago.

Journal thoughts....

A stone face full of history. The imprint of a thousand shoes to cobblestone lies in front of me. Good day fair friends of humanity who dare walk across history. Breath in the essence, wonder and forget, or let the sight make some small imprint. The square becomes one more moment to package and save for another day.

Cringe at the façade of meaning. Dare to look deeper. The angles of this square tell stories unknown and unique to the intricate thoughts of artisans who built triumph. These stones are alive with the wealth of the Congo and the triumph of King Leopold. A country daring to play a game even when the odds are stacked. An outward realm of shallow greatness, the walls dare to tell only what the commission wanted you to feel – power. Maybe I watch with a critical pretentious eye. I should be like the wide-eyed tourist who simply needs to walk in and feel the first strike of this monument to greatness. Dare not challenge it’s beauty. Only snap some photos to make proof that you’ve felt this greatness and keep moving.

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