Brussels, Belgium “Belgium, Man! Belgium!”

I left my laptop on the train this morning.

We were pulling into Brussels from Paris. The train continued on to Amsterdam. The computer was on the floor between my feet.

I called the station in Amsterdam as soon as I realized (the nice folks at Nokia gave us an N93i phone to take on the trip). The guy at the station called the conductor and he grabbed the laptop before the train came into the terminal. It is now waiting for me in Amsterdam, where I had no intention of going on this trip.

Fifty people are expecting to see me dancing in Cologne tommorow. After that, Munich.

I don’t know how I’m going to get my laptop back, but that’s about four major dillemmas away right now.

The displaced device, since you asked, is called a FlipStart. It was given to me by the nice folks at, well, FlipStart.

People sometimes give me things. It’s nice.

I sometimes lose things that people gave me. It sucks.

Here’s what’s so cool about the FlipStart: it weighs around 2 pounds. That’s about a third of your average laptop.

P6030509

It’s adorable.

The thing has everything a real laptop has, does everything a real laptop does. It runs XP, Vista, has Bluetooth and wifi, touch pad, light-up keyboard, 30GB hard drive. The only thing it doesn’t have is a DVD drive — cause where would you put it? But there is very little left that I need to put onto or take off of a DVD. The world has moved on.

They did a bunch of little tweeks to make it usable at its teeny tiny size. The main change is that you hold it like a videogame controller; one thumb on the touch pad, the other on the mouse buttons. This allows me to make use of a lifetime’s worth of training.

You type like it’s a blackberry, but it’s a bit larger and easier to deal with than those things. Once you get used to it, the result is quite liberating. I no longer need a flat surface to write. I can use it in a car, on a train, on a plane. in a cafe, lying in bed…

P6030510 P6050576

P5280358 P6181106

…you see why this is kind of a handy gadget for a fella like me.

And now I am without it. And my fingers are like ballerinas in a library; devoid of purpose, unable to perform.

I went on the picture tube today in Belgium. A show called Plug TV aimed at the young people who watch the internet. Did a semi-live interview with a Flemish translator. I don’t know how this happened. It just did. I show up in a place and the TV people are there, waiting.

I said something coarse about the Belch once on this site. It really wasn’t about the Belch. It was about the two guys I had, to that point, encountered who were of Belgish extraction. They were both obnoxious asses. Throw in Jean Claude Van Damme and that makes three.

If I had really been paying attention in life, I’d know that if three asses come from the same place, all it means is three asses came from the same place. It does not mean the place they come from is an ass factory.

I have now met many warm and kind and generous people who are from Belgium. I must correct my earlier suspicion of localized ass specialization.

Okay, that’s out of the way. So we danced. A freelance photographer named Philippe Geenen was there taking pictures. I don’t know how he knew to be there. He just did. And he took some really good pictures.

Tm13966a_2 Tm14024a

Afterwards, the TV people, Olivier and David, took us out to a restaurant owned by a friend of theirs. I drank what is becoming my big European discovery: a combination of lemon soda and beer. It’s called a penochet (or something close to that). In Spain they called it clara con limon. I’m told in Germany it’s a radler.

I will have to try a radler tomorrow.

37 Responses to Brussels, Belgium “Belgium, Man! Belgium!”

  1. BrazilianDude

    Just don’t miss those 1 litre glasses of beer in Munich. Love those bier gartens! …and yes they have radler there too, but I rather drink Weiss Beer. Radler is girls drink. 😀

  2. Cam

    Here in America, that drink is called “Mike’s Hard Lemonade.”

    Sorry, I’m just kidding and know that it’s totally different, but just had to throw that in there. I’ve actually had a radler in Germany before and must admit that it is quite thirst quenching in more ways than one.

  3. Fraaanck

    i was there with my girlfriend (she comes from Mexico).

    we spent a very good time but too short and i didin’t really dare to speak with Matt or Melissa because i’m a bit shy lol

    We hope to see you again in the future

    great day, cool time :) see you soon

  4. Jorge

    that flipstart is awesome. But, $2000? … hmm a bit steep. I’m sure it will be the trend though, hopefully it will get cheaper over time!

    thanks for sharing :)

  5. Summer

    I remember Radler’s in the backyard with Martin and Lissa after classes…good old days! Have one for me while you are there!

  6. Didier

    Thank you for coming to Belgium ! We came in family and had a great time. Those pictures are great ! How can we get in touch with the photograph ?

  7. Dijf

    Hi Matt,

    It was a lot of fun to join you in your positive message of dancing around the world. So strange, funny, remarkable, stupid and brilliant at the same time. I love it! Best of luck with your future projects!

    Warm regards

    PS: Just one remark. Please don’t say you’ve visited Belgium and mixed your beer with lemon soda. There are about 500 different Belgian beers, some of them are really worth a try – without the lemon soda off course ;-).

  8. Lisette

    If you go to amsterdam; in the netherlands that drink is called snowwhite. Or in Dutch: sneeuwwitje.

  9. Callie (insert wit)

    I love how everyone is raving about this drink and not the fact that you own or owned a 2-pound free ( I repeat FREE) computer and left it on a train.

    Well, I suppose if I wasn’t from the states and not underage untill I’m like 109 then I might be raving about this drink too. I’ll keep it in mind two years hence.

  10. Mitch

    “And my fingers are like ballerinas in a library; devoid of purpose, unable to perform.”

    ^^^Things like that are why your travel journal is 100 times better than any other one ever written.

  11. I think you need to be nominated as a peace ambassador for the world. These small outtakes are about having fun, and I think if we had more fun in our lives and the world, we would see the world in a different way. You can change the world by changing perspectives I think.

    Getting too philosophical here…great work! You are a real citizen of the world!

  12. Véronique Louis from Belgium

    You are really a ray of sunshine for us every day. Whe are with you and you take us ewerywhere you go. World seems so quite, so peacefull so human when we follow you.
    véro

  13. Lisanne

    Hi Matt,

    First of all: what you’re doing is briljant! And how wrong this may sound: I’m a huge fan :-)

    Second of all: you should definitely go to Amsterdam! Holland is small, but worth seeing and dancing in!

    If you go there, and suddenly Delft is on the route, a guide will be there, so you won’t miss a thing :-)

    Wishing you the best along your way and don’t forget Holland…

  14. Nicolas M

    Hi Matt, I come from Brussel in belgium and I’m 17 years old… I like your videos and I’m happy that you have come to visit our beautiful city. I wait your next video.

    😉

  15. Katie Gall

    Matt, don’t be a sell out.
    I sincerely hope that you did that plug on flipstart because you really enjoy their product and not because they gave you a free computer. same with nokia.
    You’re better than that.

  16. Jenny

    It’s called a Panaché 😉
    In Begium, we drink many things with beer, indeed :)
    I’m glad you went to belgium!! I just hope it was not raining too much :)
    I just wanted to say I do like your videos a lot, especially that me too, I just love travelling ! Maybe one day we could see each other travelling in … Mozambique?
    Let’s see!

  17. wallhugger

    correction in the french part of belgium it’s called panache in the flemish part of belgium it’s called a kivla and if you order a sneeuwwitje(as they call it in holland) in belgium you’ll get some hard liqour.

  18. Actually this drink with lemon soda is called “panaché”. but the drink with coke is much more known, it’s called “mazout” in french and “drecksack” in german :)

  19. Hi Math , I’m Nicolas I have 17 years old !
    and I come From BELGIUM !

    I like your movie and your dancing 😀

    I wait the next vidéo !!!

    bye bye

    and good luck for futur !!!!!!!

  20. Kelly

    Hi Matt!
    Just discovered your new video and it made me smile all the way up to my ears. Brussels is the city I study in and I absolutely love it. But Belgium has a lot of other nice places to dance in;-) Try Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp, Malines or Leuven next time you’re around. And let us know in advance! Me and my studentclub would love to join!

    lots of Love

  21. Robin

    Hey,

    Just wanted to say:
    a) Great video
    b) Don’t mix lemonade in your beer, choose whether you wanting something tasty (and drink beer) or want to quench your thirst (and drink water, than some beer) instead.
    c) In Flanders, it’s called a qui-volat, though it’s pronounced “kivola” or “kivla” like someone else mentioned earlier
    d) There are about 3,000 Belgian beers, not 500, your commenters think too small
    e) you should be a UN peace emissary
    f) Through all of your journeys, I don’t think you’ve been in Siberia. Poor Siberians :-(

  22. lopispipo

    I Matt,

    I’m from Belgium and this message is just to say that the drink with lemon and beer is called Peroquet, that’s the french translation of “parot”.
    Thank you for all!

  23. MadSam

    ‘like ballerinas in a library; devoid of purpose, unable to perform’

    Ha Ha. I’m gonna have to remember that similie. I will always attribute it to you of course.

  24. Ruth

    Hi Matt,

    I’m Belgian too and i’m glad you corrected yourself on your previous statements ^^
    I’m also glad you discovered the magic of Belgian beer. too bad you didn’t get to taste our amazing chocolate, though 😀

    If you, some time in the future, pop up in Ghent, i will be there! cuz i am dying to be in one of your videos lol 😀

    What you’re doing is great and amazing! i Say: keep up the good work!

    Veel groetjes uit Belgiê 😉

  25. Aysia

    The drink is called a “panaché” in French-speaking Belgium (and, although not in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Brussels, Brussels is a French-speaking city)…
    …not lemonade and beer, but rather a citrus-flavored soda, like Sprite (back in the U.S.), mixed with beer.
    And yes, they are quite yummy!

  26. Aysia

    “French-speaking region of BELGIUM”**

    I’ve been living in Belgium for too long, I can’t speak English any more :)

  27. Adrian

    Hey Matt,

    I’ve also meet David. Haven’t heard of Olivier but David is an ass. Belgians believe he’s an ass and is known to be an ass. ^^

    Just to correct what somebody else posted. Brussels is French speaking at night and during the weekends but Dutch speaking during the week days daylight. This is because a majority of French speaking Belgians live in Brussels but work outside of the city and the Dutch work inside the city during the day. Don’t really know why… But if you asked a flemish what does he think about a walloon, he’d say: Lazy beggars. Just thought you’d know this. ^^ Have fun travelling.

  28. Alex

    I grew up in Belgium, and knew some asses, but also some amazing, nice people there, about the same ratio as here in the U.S., go figure 😉

    But, as your videos show, there are nice, happy people all over the world! 😀 Looking forward to dancing with you next week!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *