The week before Thanksgiving, PJ and I traveled to Brussels, Belgium. I was there for a symposium, and PJ came along to see a bit of a country we otherwise had no plans to visit any time soon. It was a nice little trip — we arrived in Brussels on Sunday morning and left bright and early on Thursday.

The weather when we arrived was wet and cold. We walked from the train station to our hotel, which had been arranged by the university hosting the symposium. The organizer had told me that the hotel was in the red light district, which immediately conjured up images from our trip to Amsterdam this past spring. Based on that PJ and I both thought that it would be fine. And it was, but it was also really weird — this was nothing like Amsterdam’s red light district. This area, which seemed to be centered on the block our hotel was on, had women (and a couple of guys) standing every 30 feet or so soliciting customers on the sidewalk. So, there was no way to get to and from our hotel without walking past several “working girls.”

The most awkward part for us was that we weren’t sure at first whether we should say hello as we passed by one of the women or if we should try to ignore her. We tried acknowledging them at first, but that seemed to be the start of a transaction that we were not interested in participating in. Other than that, though, is was fine — definitely something to remember!

My symposium, which was held on Monday and Tuesday, seemed to go really well. I really enjoyed meeting the other participants. And I’ll be getting an article written out of it. All that seems really good!

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