Saturday, September 23, 2006

Ik heb haarpijn

Last night I learned an invaluable lesson ...

We were attending an Alderman's Ball here in the city. There was a bar-be-que, alcohol and many interesting people.

How does one dress for a 'ball' here in Antwerpen?
Back home in New Zealand dress would have been very formal but here you go as you please ... jeans through the range to evening wear.

What began as a night out sitting with a few people I'm slowly begin to know as friends turned into a 'we need a few photographs' kind of night and so it was that Gert went home for the camera and I slowly but surely transformed into the woman I become when I take photographs.

It makes me fearless and curious and so very very happy.

I spent some time in conversation with a political news programme director who was there filming the Alderman during this final 2 week run up to the October district, city and province elections. He has 2 other cameramen working on the story - one following the Mayor and the other a city councillor - obviously politicians from 3 different parties

He and I talked a little about media here - television as opposed to newspaper; we talked of a couple of his previous stories and he tried to answer my questions about Belgian society as we compared notes on what I knew from New Zealand and had found over in Turkey.

And I met the son of a man who owned a large company here ... they didn't fear my direct and curious questioning, once again about who Belgians are and what motivates some of the behaviour I still don't quite understand.

It was a good night ... one where I combined all that I love in terms of photography and the casual interview.

However I really should have factored in the red wine at a conscious level because every time I returned to my table from yet another foray out in to the world of photographing and interacting with people ... I would drink another full glass of wine as I looked through the images or talked or simply sat back and marvelled over the way that people are stories and how interesting those stories often are.

One should never drink wine while indulging a passion.
That was my lesson.

Antwerpenaars have some delightful sayings and I used one for my title.
Gert taught me it a while ago and this morning I woke and it was my first thought ... 'ik heb haarpijn' translates as 'I have hair ache'.

Photography gives me this feeling of elation that translated into drinking the wine because it was there, barely conscious of what it was ... never thinking for a moment about morning.

And what a morning ... we left the ball around 4am, still talking, still lucid (I promise I was) and with no hint of what was ahead for me.

10am found Gert gently laughing as he assured me that the pain and the nausea was merely a hangover. I didn't believe him as I lay there preparing for death by some mysterious poisoning, feebly asking if the ambulance might have something for me as it passed by our apartment.

It's been a long day ... 6pm I'm finally feeling something like human again, and maybe I can make it to the firework festival tonight and perhaps it was the alcohol and if so, then it will be a very long time before I drink anything containing that stuff again.

Een kater van hier tot in Tokyo Gert told his friend Freddy, changing the country from Tokyo, which was far too close in terms measuring my hangover ... in English it would have been 'Di has a hangover from here till in Auckland'.

I'm looking forward to orange juice and fireworks tonight ... tot ziens.


Sal DeTraglia said...

"One should never drink wine while indulging a passion."

But...what if wine IS your passion?


woman wandering said...

Then I imagine that one would be adult in indulging one's passion ... ;)

Jay said...

Glad you survived; good lesson learned.

Manic said...

Hehe wine is dangerous, specially red wine, mostly ganrantuees a hangover. But how cool you're meeting all those interesting people like the producer dude. I'll have to get out of the house more, but Antwerp is so far. Darny :(

woman wandering said...

Thanks Jay and congratulations on becoming a 'daddy'.

For those curious, Jay's birth story is over on her site :)

woman wandering said...

Oh manic ... I'm sorry :(

I've just been a bit lucky with the things that I get to do. I guess you don't want to read that I was at the final night of the fireworks festival here?

The Austrians took out first overall and the best music, the English got best technical ... loved the English display and I don't usually have much time for fireworks.

Do you know what the worst thing about my haarpijn was ... ? It was that red wine almost never gives me a hangover ... sigh, today was sooooo long.

Anonymous said...

Ohh fire works, darny, wanted to see that too. Why do I life in Belgium's no one's land?

I actually never heard about haarpijn, people from "het Stad" are weird. I can imagine your say was long and painful and full of displeasant noises which made your head feel like it was on Rock Werchter and a group that never played together played.

Well know you'll have to switch to Belgian's finest. (and no I'm not talking about our chocolates, which you can do aswell, but they kill your diet)

paris parfait said...

Sounds like a fun and fascinating time - except for the hangover. Ouch! Poor you.

christina said...

Oh dear! It's called a "Kater" in German as well, but I do like the sound of "haarpijn".

woman wandering said...

I guess, at the end of the day, the headache was my own fault and everything else was good fun paris parfait. The lesson was timely in that I'd never thought about it before.

Christina, I was taking a friend through a menu in a cafe here in Antwerp and discovered I had forgotten all the Dutch that I knew ...

The waiter saw me looking perplexed and came over and said to me 'It's German ...'

Similar language for sure.