Ann promised me, “This is Belgium at its most provincial Brian.” And she was right.
Quiz night at the local bar/second home for Duffel’s finest. Ann had signed us up with Katja and Roeland to participate in the monthly quiz night. 30 teams of 4 people congregated in the back meeting hall of “de Kroon” (the Crown) to drink beer, heatedly argue over correct answers to trivia questions, and smoke many many many cigarettes.
My god. It was like the entire room was smoking. There was absolutely no ventilation and apparently Belgians like to smoke extra-smoky cigarettes. I am using that as the excuse as to why I did not contribute too much to the answers. The real reason I didn’t contribute is because most of the time the questions were local (who are these people you see on TV? What are these famous commercials for?). That, and the fact that, astonishingly enough, the event was conducted in Dutch (with a heavy Duffel dialect [or so I am told]). I did know the first year that the modern olympics started though (1896) and a few other pop-culture answers, but most of the time I just sat there looking pretty and trying not to think about how bad my eyes were stinging and how much I would stink the next day (damn I should have brought a change of clothes).
We finished 6th out of 30. Not bad considering they really only had two and a half players (Katja, Roeland, and Ann, who could at least understand the questions but who was also as out of the loop as I was).
They sold raffle tickets and Katja won a ‘gourmet’ thingee dingee for two that includes a little grill with two little pots to cook stuff in. I’m sure Ann could tell you what it’s for, but as it relates to food preparation I am completely in the dark.
Everyone who attended got to pick prized from a room full of them (most of them gift certificates to local businesses for ten Euros), and we picked two certificates for fries and a restaurant in another town. Katja and Roeland decided they wanted the 72 bounds of chocolate milk and juice-boxes and other assorted sundries that their baby, Lander, would appreciate. (see attached picture).
We are signed up for another quiz in 3 weeks. I have two assignments until then: 1) learn Dutch, 2) study everything.
Being the competitive guy that I am, I did get into the spirit of things, so I hope to make more of a contribution to “the Golden Four” (our team name) next time. We were originally going to be called “Flippy Dippy”, but apparently the name was to ridiculous to be accepted.
We’ll let you know. Next time we might even break into the top 5.