Bye, Antwerp – Day 8
I found something about a Magiq Spiegeltent that has Salsa on Thursday night near Antwerp. A Spiegeltent is a mirrored tent – I looked it up, it’s a Belgian thing. How could I pass up an opportunity to go dancing in a Spiegeltent, let alone a magical one?
Maybe they’ll have ponies. Funhouse mirrors. Sparkly stuff. And fairies! And a little circus or two!
Their website is in Flash, which won’t run on my iPhone or the hostel computer. So I asked Harm if he could take a look at it for me. He sent me a translation that basically said it was on for thursday night.
Yes! Magical Spiegeltent, here I come!
Walked over to the Diamond Museum. They had little handheld gadgets where you type in numbers from next to the displays, and it tells you what you are looking at. They printed out the English version for me.
The story of diamonds is pretty interesting. They were first found in India. The one thing that’s most interesting wasn’t mentioned in the museum. Antwerp handles 80 or 90 percent of the raw diamonds in the world, and traditionally this was dominated by Orthodox Jews. There’s a lot of trust involved. Now 65-80% of diamonds are handled by Indians of the Jain religion. They have very similar values to the Jews and are also very culturally isolated. The Jains were willing to send raw diamonds to India or other places for finishing (at 1/5th the price) while the Jews didn’t want to send diamonds out of their sight. They are changing that now before they are completely pushed out.
Kind of interesting how it has come full circle with the Indians and diamonds.
Walked back and had lunch. Then I went riding to the northern part of the city. Saw the “Graffiti Bridge” where they had some serious artwork underneath. The skate park was next door, and it’s the best I’ve seen.
Then I went to Museum Aan De Stroom (Museum at the Stream). It is a cubical type structure with 11 stories of red brick and wavy glass. You can get to the top via escalators, one escalator for each 90 degree turn around the building. This outside view is actually free to visit.
I went to the top, looked around and took a few pictures. It had been drizzling all day, but it started pouring just as I went back inside from the roof. Ugh. I waited a bit for it to let up some, and finally rode home. Got pretty wet on the way.
I laid everything out to dry, then took a nap. When I woke up it was magical Spiegeltent time! It took awhile to get out there, had to go back out past the museum, north to the harbor area.
When I walked into the Spiegeltent they were dancing Cuban style salsa. Uh oh. I tried dancing Cubano salsa before… and the women looked at me like something was seriously wrong with me. Like my mom dropped me on my head when I was little. (No, that’s my brother. Yes he was dropped, and yes something is wrong with him. But he’s ok. Just has delusions he’s the favorite child.)
They did have other stuff I could dance to (Bachata and Merengue) and had something called Zouk, which is actually pretty cool – kind of looks like a slinky style of Rumba. The Zouk I saw at the salsa congress didn’t look anywhere near this good.
But I’m at the Spiegeltent, and it’s supposed to be magical and mirrored! There were a few hundred mirrors – all on the disco ball at the center of the tent. No other mirrors. But the tent was red velvet, the music was good, the dance floor was decent and the dancers were too. So it was a good night. Just not really magic or speigelly.
Eventually I figured out they were dancing Cuban style salsa to Cuban music and Puerto Rican style salsa to regular salsa music. I saw Leo, a Bachata instructor from the salsa congress and talked to him about it. He said it’s just a mix. Talked to the DJ because I was enjoying the Cubano music and he wrote down a play list for me. Very nice.
Got home around 1:15am and went to bed.
When I woke up I packed and went to the Vridajmarkt (Friday Market). In Madrid (Spain) I went to El Rastro (the Stain) and had a great time – it’s a monster outdoor market on Sundays. Bought 4 pairs of shoes and stuff for Brady. The Friday Market was just junk. And whats worse, they were auctioning off the junk a bit at a time. No thanks.
Went back to the trainstation and bought my tickets. Then went and loaded my bags onto the bike. Then rode around the station looking for which platform. It was two levels underground.
The guy sitting by me on the train is an economist for the United Nations. He is doing a report on how the oil wealth in his country (Ghana) should be used. It’s pretty interesting. When he gets excited hetalksreallyfastandrunshiswordstogethersoicantlipreadhim.
Should be back at Harm and Jovanka’s place just as the kids are getting home from school (3pm).