10 December 2008

old men drinking beer from small glasses

My ship is delayed by a day, so I have a bit of opportunity to explore. Took the tram from Zeebrugge to Blankenberge, both of which, it seems, are more geared towards summer than freezing rain in December. Zeebrugge was nearly empty; last night there were only two restaurants open, one with a table of 6 drunken men, the other with a mix, mostly older couples and men, quietly eating and drinking, quietly except for the table with 6 Brits who were doing their part to solidify the hooligan stereotype.

So I reconnoitered with my hotel owner, and he directed me to the tram and Blankenberge. Blankenberge is a compact, cobblestoned city center with lots of brassieres, chocolate shops, specialty boutiques, and pensioners whiling away the days walking and having coffee and croissants. I went into a place for a cup, and there were 5 or 6 old men, glasses perched on the edges of their noses, sipping beer from small glasses, while arguing about the France vs. Scotland curling match on the Eurosport channel, while pop music blared from the ceiling.

But the coffee was good, at any rate. Prepping myself for three months of instant coffee, I have to find solace where it is available.

My ship takes arrival at midnite, to be all fast by 0430, and word is that I will join at 0800. So maybe an 0700 pickup from the hotel? Ahh, will have to go back to Blankenberge tonight and try to find some good wine and hopefully some pretty girls walking by to brighten the dismal scenery.

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