Sometimes the best way to discover a city is getting to know its inhabitants. The characters who shape and nourish the city. Those who give it its rhythm and its tune.
My Friday evening at Pretty Hot and Tasty was filled with exhuberant selves. They each gave me a taste of their take on Brussels.
I was waiting for Jan, the photographer I recently met at Sarah’s birthday party. I was standing in front of PHAT, taking some pictures.
Two guys sitting at the terrace gave me a holler, asking me to take their photo too. With pleasure. And that’s how I met Mehdi and Amor.
Mehdi comes from Paris. I immediately saw that he’s one of those people who regorges energy and vitality. He introduced himself as the owner of the joint and invited me to sit with them for a drink.
As he was telling me his story, a phrase struck me. He said “Brussels is like an episode of the Care Bears; and I need ennemies to move forward”. He came to Brussels looking for peace and found boredom instead.
Jan arrived and joined our small crowd. Maybe he too was getting this powerful vibe from these two, cause he also started immortalising them.
We then moved inside. It was getting frisky. When I entered the room, I felt as if I had come into some sort of design store. Modern, pure and rather cold. Don’t get me wrong. The place is really nicely decorated and I love the style. But at that hour, with the emptiness and the fair light, it made you think of a clean operating room.
Jan is Polish. He’s a photographer and the more he told me about his life, the more I felt he had seen everything, been everywhere and met everyone.
I had seen some of his pictures on his website and many questions had curled up in my head.
I’ve always wondered about people who spend so much time with beautiful creatures: models, singers, actors.
Do they get jaded of that kind of “perfection”? Do models start looking all alike? Do they yearn for something more authentic?
Or do they on the contrary get hooked on their flawless features? Do they become junkies of that archetypical beauty? Incapable of seeing anything else? Do the rest of us become mediocre invisible beings?
In the middle of all that riddle, our dinner arrived.
A cheeseburger and a bacon cheeseburger. Not bad, I have to say. The fries were home made and delicious.
The place got packed and the ambiance changed completely. It became warm and alive. A very eclecic crowd, too. Moto bikers, couples, families, teens. It all added up. We all listened to the live music and chatted about.
Mehdi was ruuning around, going from table to table and taking care of everyone. From time to time, he would come over and sit with us, showing us pictures of his dear life in Paris.
Jan was talking. He said many things. As a bad journalist that I am, I chose to hear only a few. I remember him saying that “Sometimes, beauty can be boring.”
He may have a point. And following that logic, I daresay our evening was ugly. Cause I sure had fun.