The Abnormal Normal
There are many things we just take for granted and barely bat an eyelid at even though we should because they are clearly a sign of insanity. The drunk who is always on the 6:00 train. The business man in a pin stripe suit and yellow Scooby-Doo socks. Ordering a diet Coke with a Big Mac and fries.
For as long as I lived in Brussels, numerous items struck me as being odd even though many people obviously didn’t pay much attention to them. I have enjoyed myself in the past by sharing these things with you like the lamp-post that needs a hug, or the house-owner who needs to learn the meaning of the word “Stop”
Who knows how many people ignore these things on a daily basis? Of course if I lived next door to one of these things, I too would ignore them after the first few sniggers.
I’ve written about the Belgian train stations before too. They each have a distinctive almost eye-watering stench, mainly because of the homeless people who loiter on the platforms and open areas. Gare Centrale, right in the middle of the city, has the long dank corridor that allows commuters to cross from the station to an adjoining metro station of the same name. It’s a good 5 – 10 min walk from platform to platform but, especially if it’s raining, this is a good route to keep in mind. You’ll have to be wary of any pick pockets and may have to ignore the out-of-tune buskers but it’s reasonably safe all in all.
Of course, what would be really helpful would be a large display in this tunnel showing commuters which metro or train is approaching (depending on which way you’re walking). This would really help rush hour commuters.
The boffins that be thought of this and put up a rolling display right in the middle of the tunnel. Sadly it has never actually worked. In the five years I lived in Belgium, the display has always displayed the same sort of thing – a test message of sorts that keeps rotating aimlessly.
I’ve recorded two short videos of this below:
In the last five years (and who knows how many countless others) no one has bothered to switch them off or at least change the message.
Brussels – the very definition of insanity.
Related Unexpected Traveller Posts:
- Customer (Dis)Service
- The Viking Taxi Driver
- To Ticket or not To Ticket
- Stereotypes – Fact or Fiction
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