Around the square are new maples, ice cream shops, trendy little restaurants, a few bars – one in which I currently prop – and Flemish style buildings most recently refurbished. Getting here through the outlying city blocks was a traverse of nations and cultures. Africans spilling out of the “Little Castle, a place of refugee application. Pakistani soft-drink sellers. Aged Belgian men walking their pugs. Muslim women of indeterminate origin (other than from the generic “Middle East”) with their scampering children, Korean family selling car deodorisers from the sidewalk, Chinese hairdresser, beggar on a stool still elegant in his beret and doing what he can to maintain his dignity.
16 May 2007