Pauline and Hester came over today and we went to the South side of Antwerp to have lunch. We took the tram there. It was quite the adventure because it was super packed. Lunch was nice. I ordered a BLT, which in Antwerp means smoked ham with rocket lettuce on a baguette. It was good despite it not being what I expected.
We noticed that there were a lot of students running around. Then Pauline remembered that it was student day, where all the students get the day off and there is a party in one of the town squares. We walked down there and sure enough, there were bands, games, beer, booths, and tonnes of people. It was the same as freshers fair in England, but this was for all the universities. In England they are set up by each university. Here all the students of all ages came down to the fair. Around the square were booths, where information was passed out about museums, theatre, student events, hair school, make-up school, and music concerts. In the middle were all these games. There was bull riding, obstacle courses, concert stage, and football games.
I notice that there were all these people around with sashes and flags. I asked Margot what these people were doing. She explained that they were part of a fraternity. But not like American fraternities, even thought the more she explained it the more they sounded like the American kind. Apparently in Belgium any one can join, but they have to go through a initiation ritual as well called "dopen".
An example of someone covering up their vomit from their initiation or dopen.
These go on for days, usually with a lot of drinking, kinda like hazing. Then there are crazy tasks they might have to carry out, like walking through Antwerp with your finger in the train tracks. The way you join is through your university and they are major specific. These groups put on parties and they try to get everyone to get to know each other. It's like a mix between link crew and honor societies. In Belgium everyone is allowed to go to University, but they make the first year really had to weed people out. Education is pretty much free; you just pay for registration fees.
Tonight we went clubbing with Pauline, Hester, and Charlotte. DJ Jazzy Jeff was at Stereo Sushi. There was a 15euro cover, but we decided to go since we haven't been out out yet. I was still feeling sick, but I rallied. I had such a good time. Once I got there and hear the music, I felt like myself. Margot and I drank apple Geneva (like schnapps) all night. They taste like cinnamon apple juice.
Proper attire to such clubs usually require heels. I didn't bring any because I forgot this rule, so I had to borrow some from Margot. I chose these really cute black and gold shoes. Margot warned me that they are super painful, but I thought since I'm experienced with painful heels, that I could handle it. Oh I was wrong. I held out pretty long, but in the end I HAD to take them off.My feet were all black and sticky when I got home, but I had successfully avoided glass! People kept coming up to me and telling me to be careful. I didn't care as long as those devil shoes were off.