Saturday, June 28, 2008

Waterloo and Watery-Poo

Last weekend was beautiful. The sun was shining. The weather was a delicious 75 degrees. No rain was forecast. So a fellow intern and I decided to head down to Waterloo to check out the sites. In a fit of strange excitement and utter foolishness, I decided to bring Truman with us. First we had to take a tram, then a train, then two buses to get there. Dogs allowed on trams, trains, and buses? Of course! This is Europe, after all! It's necessary, and indeed would be uncivilized, to allow dogs anywhere in Europe. But you'll have to pay to go to the restroom...

We ran into a slight hitch on the train. It was supposed to be a 15 minute train ride, but it turned into 1 hour 45 minute train sitting because of a problem with the tracks. Poor Truman found the train so uncomfortable that he promptly started shedding. And shedding. And shedding. By the time we finally left, my seat was covered with a thin layer of dog hair. Oh well.

When we finally got to the city of Waterloo, Truman found himself with another small problem: diarrhea. I'm not sure what he ate, but the poor guy got his whole system cleaned out fairly quickly after arrival. It wasn't pretty.

Then we got to the Waterloo monument and found, to our surprise, the only place in French-speaking Europe that one can't bring a dog along to. Yes, an outside monument with my pocket full of poo-bags, and we weren't allowed in because other guests might have "allergies". If you're paying attention, you will note the irony in being able to take a dog into closed trams, buses, and spend almost 2 hours in a hot train with only 2 windows just barely big enough to fit a human head through (not to mention bringing Truman into the train/bus stations, restaurants, and clothes shops in Brussels and Waterloo earlier). And yet we couldn't take the little guy up the (outdoor) hill to see a stone lion. Whatever. Welcome to Belgium, land of idiocy.

So instead we went to the reenactors' camp a few kilometers away. I had actually planned to go here and stay for the battles after my fellow intern had to leave, but now we all got to go. The camp was very similar to Civil War reenactments I've witnessed before, only with slight differences. Practically everyone had an earring. Apparently the French used earrings to signify rank. There were tons of men running around with no shirt (a big no-no in Protestant America at the time). Lots of gypsies.

We also had the good fortune of stopping to talk to some soldiers in the French camp. I asked, very politely, "Pardon messieurs, combien de soldats est qu'il y a ici aujourd'hui?" (excuse me sirs, how many soldiers are here to do?), to which they responded "parlez-vous English?" (do you speak English?"). I laughed and said that I did. It turns out these two gentlemen were British but enjoyed playing the "losers". They play the British during American Revolution reenactments. And they were excited that my brothers played Confederates for the Civil War. They just liked being the losers for some reason.

There's more to be said, but this post is already plenty long. And now some pictures!


Spiff said...

Cool post and pictures. Did you actually get to see an engagement or just the camps? Any pictures of uniforms, weapons or formations? Those of us living 45 years after the battle are very interested in these types of pictures.

Jeremy said...

So was this an American Revolution reenactment in Europe? Wasn't it a war in the US?

Enjoyed the post!

Serena said...

Neat photos! That would be fun to see! :) I can't believe they actually allow dogs in all those places you mentioned!