Every journey exists by the grace of its stops. So also the first 'almost spring trip'. My Lief came out of the sidecar from under her bearskins, my unique Husky winter overalls were put on guard in the corner and we happily walked onto the gas-fired terrace. After a drive through the Flemish Plains it was time for something warm and the blackboard shouted loudly that the Chef had created his locally world famous onion soup with baguette and cheese.
Because it's not that big of a deal in Flanders, we ordered two glasses of warm beer as a starter for warming up. Then is a funny local imperfection that includes half a liter of beer, six egg yolks and a quarter liter of rum. Plus an ounce or so of sugar. It was now close to one o'clock, and the hut was filled with plump Flemings. We were completely among the natives. A unique 'Experience'. Any body style magazine would love it. Then came the onion soup. Each received a large container containing a quantity of golden brown matter that was just moist enough to move lazily when the container was shaken.
On that beauty floated, no, there was still a generous slice of white bread. Everything had been riotously sprinkled with cheese shavings and then kept for quite some time in an apparently very hot nuclear oven to melt the cheese. My Love received her trough gracefully. The waiter set my portion neatly in front of me on the authentic plastic Neo Brabant checkered tablecloth that protruded bravely and stiffly starched over the edge of the table. The in itself quite stiff cloth collapsed under the container of onion lava. That box tipped over and the regional top dish ended up in my lap full. The idea of 'Hot Pants' took on new dimensions.
I cried out in pain and knew enough about burns to worry about my family jewelry. I jumped up, knocked over two tables and ran into the ladies' room. That was the closest. In the meantime I had already unbuttoned my pants and at the sink I pulled down the still steaming jeans and my briefs to shovel cold water into my crotch with both hands.
Behind me came a scream from an innocent Flemish who was confronted with a hairy face with two chubby cheeks but no nose. It is always comical to see how uninhibitedly smiling Flemish people respond to disaster. And it helps more than a little when the victim is an 'Ollander. But it's all out of kindness.
The ladies' room was filled with the actual target audience. A resolutely bleached head of curly hair grabbed me by the shoulder and turned me – let's say face – to the audience. They were suitably impressed. With the sweetest smile in the world, the lady who had just presented me to her fellow villagers said, “Wow, looks like that little one over there has burned his head. Behold! All red! I'll give him a kiss for the pain! 'OW!'”
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