Extreme Shopping

Silence.  Waiting for the train at Brussels Airport is a rather eerie affair at 11pm.  The platforms are all empty except for an impatient looking balding man in a suit on platform four, a family with a hyperactive kid beside him and me on platform two. Suddenly I hear someone shouting – “Yee-Haw!”

I turn and find a young man stepping off the escalator. He is young, probably in his mid-twenties, and is dressed casually in jeans and a sweatshirt.  His hair is short and is almost stubble and he sports a huge luminous ear-ring which I try not to stare at.  He walks up to me,

“Yo, man, is this where the train is at?”

I think he’s American.

“Yes.  It will be,” I pause, “if you’re going to Brussels.”

Gare Du Midi - And not a Yank in site

Gare Du Midi – And not a Yank in site

He stops and looks at me.  “I am in Brussels, man. I just landed here.”

I look at the clock above his head and note that I have another 10 minutes before the train arrives.  It’s going to be a long ten minutes, I think.

“Where are you going?” Perhaps I shouldn’t ask. Perhaps I should ignore him.

“Man, I’m trying to find some shops. I need booze, man, you know, because I ain’t doing nothing in the airport tonight.” He waves his hand and something jingles.  I think the gold caps I can see on his teeth are loose.

“Shops? For booze?”

“Yeah, the good stuff, you know? You know where I can find that?”


“Where, man, coz no one told me, like, this is a shop and you can buy the stuff for real from it.”

“There are good shops in the city.”

“For real?”

“For real.”


He tells me about life in North Carolina and how he’s just spent a year “keeping it real” in Amsterdam but is very angry that he couldn’t find any alcohol there.  I try to keep a straight face.

“You sure I can find booze in shops here, man?”

“Absolutely. Right next to the station.”

“Which station, man?”

I pause, then, “The train station.”

“For real?”

“Dude, would I, like, lie to you?”

He considers this for a minute, “No, man, you’re like the man, man.”

I nod.  The train arrives.  I’m tempted to tell him that Brussels is spelt B-R-U-G-E-S.


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  1. Just don’t spell Brussels as M-A-L-T-A. We got enough of them here already… where I live there are these twins who speak like that and have got no brains at all!

    • unexpectedtraveller

      I think he knew what the letter “B” sounds like so I couldn’t do that … he looked like “Sesame Street” might be a favourite show of his; especially since he looked like a muppet!

  2. LOL… hey, hey, now. I love travelling myself and try very diligently to be a well-behaved, thoughtful American “tourist” (and would love to see Brussels one day), but we have idiots here, too. I found scads of them in London. It’s not just the U.S.

    • unexpectedtraveller

      I know it is not just the US … As you can see from the blog I have examples of odd people from everywhere …

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