Tuesday, October 28, 2008

And then, I found the...

...Centre Belge de la Bande-Dessinee.

The Belgian Centre for Comic Books. Which has to be the grooviest museum in the world. Ever. Even if you don't like comics. Though I can't think of why you wouldn't like comics. I suggest going to a brain doctor, if you don't. But not this one. He probably would make YOU a comic-character after chopping off random bits of your brain. But hey, get it fixed, ok?


The Belgian Centre for Comic Strip Art, hence called The Museum, is the grooviest musuem in the world. Ever. No, I won't stop saying that. I walked for what seemed like light years before I found it, but I did, in the end. I'm not going to try to give directions - just ask the lovely lady at the tourist center, and don't try to look down her chest, however tempting it might be. That's just rude.

To be honest, I have nothing coherent to say about The Museum. I entered. Forked out a bunch of Euros. And then ran around like a chicken without a head. Like an excited monkey with two heads. I flitted from exhibit to exhibit trying to take everything in at once. I went crazy. I think that tall Germanic couple even took a picture of the psycho Indian tourist. I hope they don't post it.

But let me try, anyway.

There are three floors. The ground floor has the store and the eating place. Everything in the store is so expensive. And so desirable. Then there's the floor with the snarky lady at the counter, and the introduction to how comics are made. This floor also has the gallery of original art. Nice.

Then there's the main floor, with the Tintin section, and smaller sections for a whole bunch of other series like the Smurfs, Lucky Luke, Bob de Moor, Gaston Legaffe, and a lot of Francophone stuff I was only barely aware of. I reminded myself to get back to French class. It's worth it. Really. And I'm not talking about skills needed to order a waffles with chocholate ice cream. You can do that by pointing.

There's another floor, on top of the main floor, which is like a third of a floor, which has displays of MORE comic series. Corto Maltese, Milo Manara, the duck-dude, a really small Asterix section, and so on.

I ran around madly from section to section. Tried to make the most of my few hours. I couldn't, obviously. So I took some pictures. A larger collection of the photographs are here.

That's that. More adventures and photographs coming up.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I was in...

...Europe on a work trip, last month. Due to an odd itinerary, I had a few hours to kill in Brussels, the "Capital of Europe".

I didn't have a plan, like I usually do. Since the entire trip got underway in a very short period, I didn't have time to make a plan. I barely managed to figure out two things - where to leave my suitcase while I explored the city, and how to get into the city within a sensible budget.

In case you want to know, there are lockers on the 2nd floor (the bus floor) at the airport, and there is a train into the city. Both of which aren't hard to find, and a reasonable number of people in Brussels speak fluent English, so it's easy.

Once in the city, I have to admit that I was lost. I loitered around aimlessly - I couldn't figure out where the Grand Place exactly was, even though I walked around it twice. And it was too early in the day to find enough people to ask. I felt stupid. I felt like an idiot for not having a plan. In my daze, I had a hard time locating a tourist office too. The clock kept ticking, since I had a connection to catch, in a few hours only.

At the same time, I was generally awe-stricken at being in Europe and being surrounded with so much general beauty. Every building looked like a piece of art, and there were ancient sculptures and stuff everywhere. It was my first day in Europe - I wasn't mentally prepared.

And then.

I finally located a tourist office. Which felt nothing like any tourist office I'd been to. I felt like I was intruding into a silent exhibition hall, and would be shooed away in a moment for making footstep sounds and disturbing the peace. But I went up to the desk and asked for a map. The friendly lady gave me one, and answered all my questions.

- Is Herge's house is too far way to visit?
- Yes sir, it is. It's some way off. Why don't you go the museum instead.
- Uh... I'm not really in a museum sort of mood.
- Oh, but it's a comic book museum
- A what??? Are you pulling my leg
- *Smile*. Take the yellow tram that'll pull up on the station opposite, and ask for the Bande-Desinee Musee
- Oh wow. Thanks.

So I decided to walk, since that would ensure that I got to take in some more of Brussels as I went along. I didn't intend finishing at the Museum in a hurry anyway. Might as well finish the touristy nonsense first.

There's not much to report. I did find the Grand Place. I also, only by sheer chance, found the Pissing Boy, Manniken Piss. Cow had told me not bother. I could see why. It's such a disappointment, that statue. I did have me a waffles and chocolate ice cream too. A check on all the things I had to do. I also found this lovely statue of Van Gogh, with the backdrop of a Tintin panel, one of the 30 comic walls you might find in Brussels.

Next: The Museum of Comic Art.


Friday, October 17, 2008

The other day...

...Neerav found this video online. His diligent research suggests that it's from a movie called Pyasi raat.

I don't think I have the words to describe this. It's my video of the week surely, and a contender for video of the year. Watch.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I've been...

...on the road, for the last couple of weeks, with very patchy access to the interwebs. Also, given the fact that I have a handheld for quick internet work, I don't go out of my way to get online.

But the good part is that there are lot of pictures, and tales coming up, even though it was a business trip, and I had limited time off.