I'm just in from an evening out in Antwerpen.
It's 1am, and I'm still recovering from seeing a young and relatively inexperienced Dutch team beat the pants off an experienced world champion Spanish team ... 5-0.
Extra time was a nail-biting experience simply because it still seemed entirely possible that Holland might score again and that, that would have been too embarassing to watch.
But I have to confess, there is something so good about finding yourself at a cafe in Grote Markt, sitting with a lovely Flemish guy you consider a friend, watching the football on a big-screen there at the cafe where you're attending an official function.
We drank our wine. Vic put up with my enthusiasm for the game while Gert was off and doing his work there in the crowd. It was quite the balmy summer's night and the sky was clear.
The football-watching crowd were divided. There were some who supported the Spanish however ... and I might be the only person who reports on this truth ... a large number of Belgians here were overjoyed when Holland won.
Towards the end of the evening, I met a small crowd of 20+ something Belgian blokes as we were leaving. One of them mistook me for an Australian and it quickly turned into a mocking kind of tournament.
An older woman, a friend of Gert's, leaned over and said admiringly of me, that I was one of those women with hair on her teeth ...
Why yes, that is a compliment here. I was worried it was about not brushing however it simply means that I'm not someone who can be easily taken down in conversational combat. (or something like that. i may have to stand corrected.)
I was quite proud, as the last person who congratulated me on my mocking brilliance was Vinnie Paul, way back when I was 16. It's been a while.
Anyway, all that to simply write, it's been a lovely evening here in the flatlands of Belgium tonight.