Thursday, 25 November 2010

Quiz time

Brussels. A European capital where they speak French. I mean, you could get confused, right? Who's to say you're not in Paris???

Stop laughing at the back.

I have devised a test for the confused traveller. This is my gift to humanity today. It was going to be Top Trumps cards for the EU College of Commissioners but I couldn't be bothered with the cutting and sticking, so think yourself lucky. Answer the following questions and all possible confusion will be eliminated! Just in case you've ended up in Acomb, a sinister suburb of York with a history of cat skinning, I've included that possibility too.

1. You are eating a sandwich on the street. How do passers-by react?

(a) With furious scorn and witheringly sarcastic "bon appétit"s making you feel like a repulsive lower being with no impulse control.

(b) They ignore you, because they're too busy wrestling with their own snacks. Theirs are probably larger than yours.

(c) There are no passers by. The wind is whipping across the Green, felling pensioners and the occasional stray dog. It's cold, so cold. You can't feel your legs anymore. Should you light the last match?

2. You sit down on a bar terrace and look around expectantly for service. What happens?

(a) A scornful but efficient waiter comes and stares at you with barely concealed disdain, sneers at your order and serves you within nanoseconds. He is never wrong.

(b) Nothing. You can wave your arm around but it won't help. You could try going inside where a couple of whey-faced students drooping behind the bar will still ignore you.

(c) Are you fooking joking? It's 3°C. The only people who are outside are a gang of hatchet faced Asbos in the bus stop trying ineptly to skin a cat. There used to be a table outside the Burglar's Arms, but someone set fire to it.

8. Uh oh, you need to pee. How does that go?

(a) Make your way past an exhibitionist peeing man proudly displaying his genitals in an ill-lit basement. He might leer at you if you get lucky.

(b) Make your way into an ill-lit basement to be greeted by an elderly lady in a housecoat demanding money. She will chase you if you don't give her what she asks for. In some places, your access to loo roll will be conditional on this payment. Meet her demands in full, I beg of you.

(c) Expose your genitals? You'll die of exposure. Your look out though.

3. You eat a croissant. How is it?

(a) Deliciously buttery and flaky.

(b) Like a semi-circle of wet cement. Make it stop.

(c) That's not a croissant, it's a Ginsters cheese and onion pasty.

4. What's the metro like?

(a) Smells of piss, miles of corridors, infested with accordeonists.

(b) Smells of piss. Tiny. Seems to only have 2 lines, though they are masquerading as 6, improbably. And what the FUCK is that music? Johnny Hates Jazz? Followed by Scriabin? It's like falling down a wormhole.

(c) There's a bus to Wetherby three times a week. That's your lot.

6. You have to pull over suddenly in the street because you're lost. The car behind you pulls over too. What happens next?

(a) You don't really understand what they're saying, you're distracted by the vigorous hand gestures, but "connard" seems to form a large part of it.

(b) Someone looms in your window, their face filled with concern, and asks if they can help you.

(c) They steal your tyres.

7. What's the supermarket like?

(a) Oh, that lady behind the till is MEAN! I didn't know there was a "proper" way to arrange my items on the conveyor belt! I don't really want to buy them now, but I don't dare put them back.

(b) Holy crap, you haven't seen a queue like that since Stalin. And you need a degree in advanced electronic engineering to buy cigarettes. And where the fuck is the aluminium foil? Also: a whole aisle for beer?

(c) It's a Londis. Four onions, a couple of dog-eared Daily Mirrors and as many Rothmans King Size as you can carry.

8. What are the old people around you up to?

(a) Attacking you, verbally, or possibly physically. Man, they're angry.

(b) Sitting in cafes drinking half and half beatifically and feeding their dogs speculoos crumbs. Or collecting small coins in public lavatories.

(c) Skirting warily around the skinned cats.

9. How about the tourists? How do they look?

(a) Equal parts awe and terror.

(b) Equal parts bemusement and, er, bemusement.

(c) Aahahhahahahahhahhahaa.

10. Who's in charge around here?

(a) A psychotic, delusional lunatic who is spiralling out of control.

(b) No-one. It's been nearly a year. You can't really tell.

(c) Anyone who's travelled further than Harrogate.

How did you do?

Mostly (a)s

You're in Paris! Repeat after me: "Ce n'est pas la peine de me regarder comme si j'avais égorgé votre grand-mère, j'ai seulement demandé un café*".

Mostly (b)s

You're in Brussels! Repeat after me: "Les speculoos sauvages sont magnifiques mais excessivement farouches. Tachez de ne pas les effrayer**".

Mostly (c)s

You're in Acomb! Repeat after me: "Do not be afraid. I come from a far away land. I come in peace. Put the cat down and let us share the Curd Tart of friendship".

* There's no need to look at me as if I just strangled your grandmother, I only asked for a cup of coffee.

** The wild speculoos are magnificent, but timid. Try not to frighten them.


Korhomme said...

Bern comes somewhere between a and b. And it's far more expensive. Loos don't smell, though.

Anonymous said...

You see now i'm worried about you out of all these answers belgium sounds the best by far I do believe you are nesting.

My word verification is licirkbx which just seems slightly rude?

korakel said...

please do the top trumps! I'd love to play them at work. Finally some revenge...

Waffle said...

Ha, Korakel. I assumed someone had already done it. But you're on. I need a project.

Em said...

Love it! I always feel I'm supposed to love Paris more than I do whereas I think I feel part awe/part terror.
Skinned cats... Ha!

Female Flemish Being said...

[Excuse me for this off-topic comment]
I bought a Dove deodorant two days ago - I read about it a long time ago (dunno - I suppose when it was still 'new') and this time I was in the mood to give it a go despite my being very skeptic about it. Googled it (well, I should have done that before buying it of course, but it's called impulse-shopping for a reason) and landed on the Face Goop site. Read the entire website. Couldn't get enough and came to your waffle site. Have read a lot of that too - stopping now because the guilt of my procrastination (work to do - urgently!) has become too big.
Some of your writing had me in stitches (this 'quiz' post is really funny too), some almost made me cry (being too recognisable).
Thank you for, ehm, giving me a enjoyable way of procrastinating :-)
[by the way: do you know that Colruyt is trying out a new system of queuing - the London way! Maybe you will like them more when this becomes the new style in all their stores :-) ]

Waffle said...

Onoes, Flemish Female! They can't screw with Colruty like that! I will have to go and investigate (also - thank you very much, you are lovely).

Female Flemish Being said...

Googled it:
(don't know how well you know Dutch, but Colruyt is calling it 'the snake' and the paper calls it a brilliant idea, hah)
And if you look at that picture, it looks like a very impractical implementation - still room to rant on our Belgian supermarkets then :-)
(and Colruyt is THE quintessential Belgian supermarket)

FFB on the verge of beginning to start to work said...

One of the two test cities is Zottegem - literally 'City of the crazies' :-)

Ciara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Conde Homer said...

Female Flemish Being - I came across Belgian Waffle in a similarly random fashion and have never been the same since. Heartfelt thanks to the talented Ms. Waffle.

Johnners said...

Anon is right, Belgium did sound the most attractive! Scary.

WV = synes. Hmmm...

Alienne said...

It's true, Belgium sounds much nicer than anywhere else.

And Korhomme - Ampelmann! Thank you, I love him.

Female Flemish Being said...

What's scary or worrying about Brussels sounding 'nicer' than Paris or Acomb?
I went to London for a few days last month and would have loved to stay there, but Paris - no thanks!

Iheartfashion said...

Brilliant as always, Emma!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE you, Waffle!!!

ellen said...

I was treated quite well in Paris and found the natives hospitable, but I must admit that general sneering tone is quite tiresome. Equal parts awe and terror indeed. Parisians behave as though they built the place with their own hands and why are you so unappreciative? Besides, Belgium has lovely beer.

Anonymous said...

Lovely - absolutely spot on - all except for eating sandwiches in the street - I never see other people eating in the street here - not even chocolate bars - you must be hanging out in an xpat area stuffed full of refugees from Yorkshire eating sandwiches "americain" by mistake because they think that just means bigger...

Anonymous said...

Joining in with other commenters to thank you for your magnificent and inspirational writing. Yours is a rare talent.
Happy birthday! :)

frau antje said...

If speculaas could be domesticated, civilization would have developed faster here, and standing in line would be a given. As it is, just veer absentmindedly towards people crowding your space, as you would on the freeway, it works wonders.

Here in Holland, where to my knowledge disdain is never concealed, they reported that you will soon live in a Dutch speaking country with a 'Great Wall of China' connecting you to Wallonia. They mix news with commentary though (showing disdain is a burdensome duty), so who knows.

Happy Birthday.

indigo16 said...

Oh, poor Acomb! It is currently the ONLY place with a swimming pool in North Yorkshire I think, so what's not to love?
If you think Brussels is bad for toilet attendants I have been bullied across Prague and Berlin. The best was in Potsdam after schlepping across the 3000 acres of desolate parkland in below zero temperatures to see the palace we were bursting, Emin decided to call the doorman's bluff and proffered a 50 euro note, thinking he would not have the change...he did! 49 Euros and 50 cents in loose change these attendants are ruthless.

kai said...

hahahaha, excellent, E!

WrathofDawn said...

Why would anyone want to skin a cute, fluffy kitty cat? I am traumatized by the thought.

I think I need a lie down.

WV is methedo - as in there is more than one methedo to...


WrathofDawn said...

Next WV - licifie

Slighty less evil second-cousin of Beelzebub.

irretrievablybroken said...

This made me laugh out loud, which never happens when I'm reading. Then I read it out loud to everyone I could find. You are a genius.

Betty M said...

Happy Birthday!!

Oh and the quiz has confirmed why it is dangerous to venture out of North London.

Anonymous said...

Indigo16 get yourself to harrogate for a little swim around

Xtreme English said... people should visit, like, WYOMING sometime. You'd sob and kiss the ground when you got back to Brussels OR Paris.

This is a wonderful blog. Thank you, Ms. Waffle!!

Anonymous said...

So predictably "in" Brussels...(sigh.
Must say this about Wyoming (have a sister in Sheridan): I found it breathtakingly beautiful "wide open spaces" and all that -- moose families by the side of the road, deer and antelope running free. But then, I was only visiting; didn't have to LIVE there.
Pat (in Belgium, albeit Leuven, 20 km. east of Brussels)

wv: "progivor" as effing IF!

Winchester Daily Photos said...

Half & Half! I have one in the Cirio everytime I'm in back in Brussels!

Xtreme English said...

The whole middle of the USA, including Wyoming, can be gorgeous in many different ways, but there's little public transporation outside of places like Chicago, and the liquor stores don't open at 6 am like they do here in the city of Satan....
Nice places to visit, but you probably wouldn't want to live there....

Carrie said...

I think i'm in Paris right now=)

James said...

I thought I used to live in Acomb but I got mostly b's so it must have been Holgate. Was very near the sign on Acomb road though... Went upmarket to Bridlington.