Thursday, March 22, 2007

Of Cornet de Pates and Ellen

so today i saw the king of Belgium and the duke of Luxembourg.

3 feaking times.

funny that it was me. i would have gladly passed the opportunity to someone else.

Why do people care so much about a monarchy? I mean, it's not like seeing The Whites Boy Alive live or something. :-)

Walloons really seem to care more about the monarchy then the Flemish. When I was sitting in Dutch grammar this morning, we could occasionally hear "Vive le roi!" coming from the street.

but hey...I respect people's choice. If people enjoy being royalty watchers, they have every right to do so. If only my tax money didn't go to paying for the Royal's diaper expenses...

anyway, so there was this little folkloristic play that the locals put on for the King and Co (and also for the general public, but we go to stand in the muddy grass). There were some people that dressed up in medieval clothing. There were some men in, what I guess was a True-Namuroise Native Dress, and then some (I think) honor students of the FUNDP. Oh, and there was also a little fanfare, and the youngest member was (I swear) 83, along with a color guard. No, the youngest member of the color guard wasn't 83, but it came pretty close. Oh, and by color guard I mean 5 people with flags.

then, when I was trying to make my back to my studio, I was stopped by the police, because the King and Co were making their way into the City Hall. Behind police lines were about 100 little Walloon children waving Luxembourg and Belgian Flags.

so, since there was no way of escaping the folklore, i decided to participate and I got a Cornet de Pates (I know there is supposed to be an accent on the 'a', but I'm typing on an qwerty, and I'm too lazy to figure it out). See, i think a CdP is the coolest thing in the world. I didn't know this existed until i moved to Namur. But seriously, the idea of eating pasta on the go, out of a paper cup that one puts in the microwave for a few minutes just blows my mind! now THAT'S what i call culture and folklore!
I might try and introduce this at BYU. Maybe i can get ellie to join...

anyway, the rest of my day was pretty boring. I went to A's house in Namur to work on our dutch project, along with the 3rd member of our group M. We/I got a lot done.

I seriously loathe group projects with a fiery passion of a thousand suns.

1 comment:

Simon Lab@ said...

You wonder why we care so much about our monarchy. To give a simple answer, I think most of the people that were in the streets just wanted to see someone famous.

In Wallonie, we don't have a lot of WCs (not only because the abbreviation is silly, but aslo due to the fact that apart from corrupt politicians and actors that we think to be French, no one is famous).

Besides, seeing the King and the Queen and the Duke and the Duchesse at the same time is a kind of a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity… Just because they're famous.

There's also this crowd-effect: when you see that people are gathering to see something special, you wanna share this experience, feeling part of a group—and that's why I think people go to football matches, because it's absolutely terrible, especially in Belgium! ;)

Walloons certainly care more about the monarchy than the Flemish because they see the King as the one (or the entity) who prevents the country to be split in two. It's pretty bizarre, actually, that in the 1950s, the Flemish wanted Leopold III to abdicate, and now, they (not the majority, but a considerable part of them) would like not to have that bunch of aristocratic nerds.

Yes, I think that most (99%) of the members of the Belgian royal family are completely silly—Prince Philip is the perfect example of that—or can't behave properly (hint to Albert II's hidden daughter and his son Laurent using public funds for "his" house).

As to tax we pay for them, I completely agree with you in the sense that I think only the King should get a wage for being the King and signing the laws, and perhaps also for visiting universities or such places. Albert II is one of the richest man of Belgium, I don't think he deserves more than 2,000 € a month after tax. As to his children and grand-children, I don't see why they're paid: they don't do anything, these fools!

OK, I'll stop with it. But it was fun to criticize the monarchy in English. At least, we can critcize it here in Belgium…