Melancholy Emo Entry:
I feel that I've lost that Christmas spirit. But I suppose that we all do over time. The magic of St. Nicholas, the smell of PineScent© on your family's fake tree, bobbles; all exhausted symbols of your childhood. Really, what magic is there in this season anymore, especially for the atheist?
Brussels, Belgium, 2007 Entry:
Christmas ****in' RULES!
After walking into a cold, dark and desolate, cobblestone floored town square (Grand Place) we began to wonder if we had made the trip here in vain. Temperatures had now dipped below 0 Celsius and it seemed that things were shutting down. Perhaps that woman on the plane here had been correct about this city; a political miasma with nothing beautiful to offer. Fortunately, she was just a dumb broad and didn't know what the hell she was talking about...
From behind we heard a horse drawn carriage bumping over the cobblestones into the square. The whole group turned simultaneously, searching for it's source. A 20,000 Watt stereo system proved to be it, and the sounds emanating from it quickly transformed into an epic opera, so powerful that we nearly had to shout to hear one another. I suppose that we could have moved away from the speakers a bit to rectify this. But we were spellbound.
Suddenly the main tower of Grand Place began pulsing with light. Some 8 stories of pre-Victorian architecture, previously hidden in the shadows yielded its secrets. No less than a gajillion multi-coloured Christmas lights, projectors, spotlights and indoor lamps danced along with the haunting tones of classical opera (well, it was actually the opera from that scene in the 5th Element). A massive spruce, previously no more than a basic Christmas tree, joined in; its lights moving in such it way it began to resembled a massive, landlocked anemone. Angie was likely terrified by this.
Numb from the cold and smiling like an E-tard, We were entirely swept up in that old Christmas spirit.
I couldn't have hoped for more, but more came! We carried on, perhaps moving just to stay warm, perhaps drawn by the wafting scent of gluhwine (mulled wine), I'm not sure. Through the Christmas night market with friend's and family, past a five piece brass band of Santa Clauses, through alleys filled with the smell of waffles and fresh doughnuts, around skating rinks and escargot stands. This was a Christmas dream! Even the creepy carousel and inflated 45m long monster thing were magical (in a ghost of Christmas future, where dinosaurs come back, kind of way...).
Belgium has restored my faith in the holiday season. Not working a retail job this time has probably helped, too.