Secret Identity

At the conference on Wednesday, I passed by a small group of attendees from the Ukraine. We all have our nationalities listed on our name badges. Even if they don’t get our names right (my press badge read “Mrs G Roth”), they always get our countries right.

There were two men and one woman. The men wore orange handkerchiefs in the breast pockets of their jackets. The woman wore an orange scarf. My publisher didn’t notice, since a lot of our concentration at trade shows is devoted to identifying which celebrities the various attendees look like. (I pointed out an Indian version of Uncle Junior today, to much praise.)

But I noticed, and I thought about the protests in the Ukraine, the loss of face Putin’s suffering, the desperation of the Kremlin to resort to such heavy-handedness as poisoning the opposition candidate. This morning (Thursday) at our booth, I noticed a length of orange ribbon that was used to tie a bow on the complimentary box of Leonidas chocolates that all the exhibitors received.

I went to our next-booth neighbors to borrow scissors (can’t really take those on a plane), and cut a shorter length. Using a safety pin from a badge-holder, I fashioned an orange ribbon for my lapel.

My publishers and my fellow editor goofed on me for it. Which is fine. They have families and more imminent concerns than I do.

* * *

I took some pictures on Thursday, my last night in Brussels.

These first two are of the massive main hall of the conference. The interesting thing about this big-ass building is that the fog here is SO thick that I couldn’t see this place from 30 feet away. No shit. Every day here has been cold and misty, but on two of the mornings, the fog went to insane proportions.

There’s also this giant molecule-edifice nearby, a remnant of the 1958 World’s Fair. But I couldn’t see that either, due to this ridiculous fog. I was surprised on Tuesday evening, when we left the show, to see both the molecule and the huge art-deco building in front of me.

Rumor has it that there was actually sunlight for a few minutes yesterday, but I don’t believe it.

Like I said, Thursday was my last night in Brussels. So, in my secret identity as Captain Excitement, I visited the Tintin store to get a couple of presents for friends, then hopped a subway line to get to this distant station in which, according to my guidebook, Tintin cartoonist Hergé painted long murals along the subway walls.

So, yes, I took a trip to a subway terminal and took some pictures. Here are the results, because you’re special.

My photos were only part of one wall. The whole motif is a parade of Tintin scenes. Picture 1 is the front of the parade. The other wall was obscured by my subway, so you’ll have to come out here yourself and take it in sometime.

That’s enough of Brussels, cold and damp as it is. I’m headed out to Amsterdam, where I hope to provide more entertaining pictures (but not get stabbed to death in the attempt).

(My Brussels pix via Flickr)

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