012: Belgium's A Wrap.

I left my homeland Monday.

Let me explain.

The concept behind the "homeland" is simple. While traveling in S. America a couple of years ago, my good friend Aimee commented, after a nasty round in the ring with Chile, that she missed our "homeland" of Argentina. We spent well over two months traveling around AR, and when we got to Chile, it just didn't cut it. The food was not as good, the people were angry, and the weather was shit. On that trip Argentina became our "homeland." As we crossed the border the sun was shining and finally once again, the beer was cold. See here, if you're interested. (its under the one titled "Don't trust long skinny countries.")

In any case. Sorry Aims, but I've got a new Homeland and it's called Belgium.

Not to worry though, I didn't just pull it out of thin air.
I've got a few reasons for this:

1) The Best Fucking Host in all the World. Peter Tachelet. He's mine. Don't try to contact him. He will not help you. Seriously thinking of putting him on the Embrocation Payroll for the European Campaign of 09-10.

2) Frites (pronounced free-ches).

3) Cyclocross. Duh.

4) Belgian Radio. On one road trip we heard. 10 Radiohead songs, 2 Rage Against the Machine, Bon Iver, Guns n Roses, Queen, Tool, and enough 90's punk to satisfy Molly AND Chris Distefano (who was there in spirit.)

5) Condiments. Can you say World Capital of Mayonnaise? I can.

6) Cycling Culture. Met enough Cycling World Champions to last a lifetime.

7) The toilets are not in the bathrooms. At first I thought this was a bad thing. Then some explaining happened and now I'm into it, for a couple of reasons. One, if someone is showering, you can still use the toilet. Two, as it was so eloquently put to me "why would you want to shit where you bathe?" Cheers.

8) Pro Cyclists in Belgium are the equivalent of our baseball or football players. You see them in Nissan ads. It cracks me up every time. See Bart Wellens above in a Sauna ad, or the plethora of Boonen postcards.

9) Braadworst. Being from Wisconsin I have subjected many of my friends to the Beer Brat over the years. And damn if they aren't fine in Belgium.

10) I was interviewing Guy Andrews of Rouleur yesterday and talking about cycling, as it were, and somehow (and I can't imagine how) the talk turned to Belgians and their love of cycling. "They just get it." Guy said, and I think that sums it up better than I ever could.