Darwin Awards - from Darwin!
It's only occassionally you get a Darwin Award candidate from near Darwin itself... OK, all your keen geographers, Cape Tribulation is a 1000 miles from Darwin, but anything north of Sunbury is "Top End" for most of us from Geelong and Melbourne.
From The Sydney Morning Herald come this story of a guy who would be more at home nursing a tasty Kwak beer on his lap than encouraging a hungry croc to take a chunk of his knee.
Photo: Dr Kelly Lash (aka Madame?)
A Belgian tourist who slapped a stick on the water to make a crocodile come closer for a better photo should be nominated for an idiots' award after it bit him on the leg, says the doctor who treated him.
Because of the tourist's actions, authorities say the creature will have to be removed.
Stefaan Vanthournout, 24, was with a group of about six other tourists who ignored crocodile warning signs and waded into Masons Creek, on the south side of Cape Tribulation in Far North Queensland, after spotting the two-metre saltwater crocodile lying on the riverbank.
Read the rest of the story: the guy is an idiot, but he IS Belgian.
Note, Belgian tourists:
THIS is a croc and a REAL croc hunter.
THIS is a Kwak.
There used to be a Belgos East restuarant in Hong Kong in Taikoo Plaza - it may still be there. When I first dined there in 2001 or so, I thought it might be part of the successful chain of frites et moules restaurants in London, one in Camden (Belgo Nord) and one underground in Covent Garden (Belgo Centraal) with waiters (called Stefaan?) dressed like monks serving you. Cool place, the Covent Garden one, restaurant of the year in 1995 or so. The Camden Town one was so-so. No atmosphere at all, to be honest.
The one in Hong Kong in Taikoo Plaza was nice, in an open area. It had appropriated all the trappings of the London ones, including the Magritte style menus with mussels flying into the blue-sky instead of bowler-hatted men. The crusty bread and three types of butter, and of course a range of trappist and lambic beers. We had a few Kwaks with each meal or a Chimay Blue or two - and usually ended up as pissed as a barrel of Belgian monks ourselves.
I asked the enthusiastic manager if this group was associated with the London ones, and he immediately lost his charm and bonhomie as he replied with a brusque, "Non!" and walked off.
But with manners like that HE was definitely Belgian! Or Hongkie!
I note now that the original London ones are Belgo (no "s"), whereas the HK one is Belgos. Last time I went to eat there, maybe 3 years ago, the menu and style etc had changed and they had tempered down the "tribute" aspect...
Back to Stefaan: also amusing is that there is a tribute on the Steve Irwin memorial webpage from a *Belgian guy called Stefaan*. LOL! This MAY be a piss take. (p.s. it wasn't me!) The Google link doesn't take you to the actual location of his comment, but here is the search page results:
[p.s. My flight was called and so I clicked *submit* to this post when suddenly nothing happened: the wi-fi in the KL airport lounge died just as I rady to post! Holy shit. Talk about civilized countries!!]
[p.p.s. Just realised that one of the Professors giving the lectures in South Africa where I am heading off to in a coupla hours is from Belgium. His name is... Stefaan. I will check his walk for any tell-tale limp! I'm beginning to think that every bloke from Belgium is called Stefaan!]
OTHER MONKEYS SAID
It's Taikoo Place, not Taikoo Plaza, and "Belgos East" (not that there's a Belgos West or Belgos Central or anything) is in the lobby of Oxford House, still very much there. It's owned by El Grande Concepts - they also have Grappas, East End Brewery, Hong Kong Brewhouse, LA Cafe and a whole bunch of other places. Don't know about the manager but the waitresses there are sweethearts.
Whatever! OK so it's CityPlaza in Taikoo Shing I got mixed up with, freaking close considering I haven't been there for over 3 years... Oxford House is technically part of Taikoo Place, so you've only got me for a two-letter discrepancy. Ha!
The first (sleazy Belgian) manager wasn't there last two times I went. The menu wasn't as good the last time - they turned it into quite the LA Cafe (OK, EEB) style, with the mussels seemingly only as an afterthought.
Belgos East... Why the quotation marks? Isn't that what I said? And if you'd clicked the link on "Belgos" in the post (where I was talking about its spelling), it would have taken you to the El Grande website dude, so I guess I sort of knew all of that...
"East" because it's in the exotic Orient and was a total rip-off of the London restaurants is my point -- Belgo Centraal (sic), because it's in central London and Belgo Nord, because it's in Camden Town, North London.
p.s. they're about the only two name restaurants I've been to in London, so that's why I know them.