Days 10 & 11. Bruxelles, Knokke, Bruges

Nouha Hamri

After walking for hours through Bruxelles to find a photo repair shop and see if I’m throwing my lens in the garbage or keep it until I get back home and repair it, I found a nice guy thanks to Nouha’s tips who reassembled my lens in less than five minutes. And free of charge, of course. Nouha was born with the Sun in Leo, making her a very passionate and generous person. You can feel her burning from the inside when she talks about acting and music, her two professional activities. Originally from Tunisia, but born and raised in Paris, Nouha moved to Bruxelles to play in a theater performance and stayed here.

I was invited by Nouha for an incredible Tunisian dish that resembles the French crepes and then we climbed directly from her apartment to a beautifully decorated roof. The plan was to shoot there for a while and then go to the Zwin beaches area and take some beach pictures. When we arrived at the train station we realized we will only have half an hour on the beach and then we’ll have to catch the last train back. Without thinking too much we hopped on the train and left for Knokke, a seaside resort for old rich people. The old people seemed bored as hell and dying to exchange some words with us. Men were wearing polos or blue shirts, driving convertibles and hanging out in packs of five or six, like some recently domesticated wolves.

Of course we let the last train leave without us and remained to discover Knokke. We walked and danced on the streets, we had the best ribs ever in the only restaurant open after 23h, we laid down on the beach, we hid from the cold in an underground parking and when the light invaded the quiet little resort, we had a French breakfast at the first open thing in Knokke, a boulangerie. While enjoying a panne au chocolat, a croissant and a coffee, we witnessed a clash between a young francophone belgian guy and an old flemish one, who started out hugging and dancing together. But as soon as I mentioned the Dardenne brothers in an open conversation and the old guy said the filmmakers don’t really count as belgian because they’re francophone, the war started. Two belgian men were both claiming their country with loud cries and fists in the air at 6 in the morning.

We left laughing about how fast they went from love to hate and in less than an hour we were walking through the tight alleys of Bruges. We arrived just as the town was waking up and witnessed how life invaded this belgian jewel. Nouha still had energy to dance in the Grand Place when the music began welcoming the tourists.

As I returned to Sasha’s place after a day of photos, a night of no sleep and a day of quiet walks, I felt like I was waking up from a Tunisian hypnotizing dream in which I got pulled in by this passionate and mysterious sorceress. I couldn’t bare the sun anymore. I hid into the darkest corner of my room and fell into the deepest sleep since I started my trade trip.

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