Shanghai and Mighty (Days 15-18)

We started our explorations on Sunday, July 13 by patronizing the Guinness World Record Highest Library on the 60th floor of our hotel, the JW Shanghai Marriott. Over the next week, I tore through Dr. Paul Brand's part-biography, part-medical history Pain: The Gift Nobody Wants, a great find off the shelves of the 757½-foot high library.
Sadly, 'Garfield Shoves It In'
was checked out.

In the library, as if we were part of a spy movie or ghost story, a host showed us a secret hidden bookshelf panel that swung open to reveal a door to the hotel's outside observation deck. 

We took in the view of the city looking out over People's Square on, looking back now, one of the few days where the pollution was "bad." Our first and last day in Beijing were the only other noticeably smoggy days where one could taste and smell the oily air and visibility was limited. Otherwise, pollution was virtually a non-factor throughout the trip.
It burns!
That afternoon we enjoyed one of the most lavish meals of the month on the 30th floor in the Marriott Café; an international buffet with a variety of dishes from India, Japan, China and beyond. We had our fill of oysters, crab, shrimp, sushi, pâté, lamb, beef, vegetables, pasta, desserts and bottomless glasses of champagne for the adults. The service was impeccable and the view was lovely, so we milked it for all it was worth and decided to not regret spending almost US$400 for a meal like that once a decade or so. 

After another visit to the pool (where we went through our usual routine of begging the kids to stop jumping in and out of the water, quit throwing kick boards and cease yelling at each other before the staff inevitably joins in), I set out alone into the hot and smoggy night air in search of a grocery store.
This posting near the hotel pool offered both 
emergency preparedness and a new nickname.

On the advice of a bellman, I hopped on the subway for a few stops and then took a short walk to a Carrefour, an old friend from Europe and the main department store in Shanghai. The shop I found was a multilevel Walmart on Chinese steroids. Over all, it was a somewhat confusing experience; I had to check my backpack in a locker, where I needed assistance to understand the ticketing procedure, found the maze of busy aisles oddly organized and had to ask for help finding broccoli. I decided to take my time to explore every corner of the store and see all of the merchandise. Just about everything considered edible is available including bullfrog, pigeon and live turtles, and one can buy everything else from hiking gear to house paint. 
Kids' bikes from US $32 to $92,
luggage for $36 and fabric softener for $4. 
Bottled water and beer: sold everywhere
in China, available in bulk at Carrefour.
At the checkout line, while waiting to pay for some semi-familiar food and beverages to take back to our kitchen I watched a store manager and young couple shout at each other for about five minutes. I was glad to get past the cashier without committing whatever offense had made the manager so irate. (It was one of a number of times we witnessed a loud verbal sparring match between various Chinese citizens. A couple of times I was able to take a photo or video but I failed to capture The Grocery Conflict.)
These guys were about to throw down by the Bund
but they kept it to a heated staring contest. 

On Monday the 14th (day 16, the halfway point of our journey), we woke at 3 o'clock in the morning to watch Germany's World Cup final victory over Argentina. The play wasn't as exciting as some of the early round matches but we enjoyed seeing the championship atmosphere. It became a sports morning when we switched to MLB.TV to catch an Angels victory over the Texas Rangers. We are excitedly following the Halos' chase of the Oakland A's for the best record in baseball and I may or may not have used my brief forays into Buddhism and Shintoism to give our favorite teams some extra karma. 

Thanks to us the Colts are
Super Bowl bound.
Not coincidentally, that afternoon the kids and I visited Jing'an Temple, a Buddhist temple on the eponymous West Nanjing Road, one of the busiest in Shanghai. The temple was first built in 247 AD and then moved to its current site in 1216. Soaring glass, concrete and steel now surround the temple, which has crumbled a couple of times but was rebuilt over the centuries until taking its final form during the Qing Dynasty. Further changes took place when the structure was converted into a plastics factory (!) in the early 1970s during the Cultural Revolution. Fortunately, traditionalists in 1983 led a charge to eventually return the structure to its original purpose. According to the back of my ticket (kids were free, mine was ¥50 / US$8), "since 1998, a large-scale reconstruction work had taken place in the monastery area, the main facade, bell and drum terraces...the Dharma pillar...Thai Buddha Hall, Golden Buddha Hall and so on had been continuously completed." 

That's their way of saying renovations are ongoing as there are always improvements to be made. The stone exterior and the woodwork, while built with ancient techniques, felt "new." However the temple and grounds instilled a deep sense of spirituality with artwork, idols, altars and offerings that provided direct links to the past.

Make an offering, touch the idol, 
be a musical prodigy.

Make an offering, bow to the idol,
be a fruit-stacking sensation.
Offerings have been generous enough for the admission ticket to congratulate the "enormous number of Buddhists (who) have shown their devout faith of the Dharma. Their donation has accomplished the sterling silver Buddha statue weighted 15 tons for the monastery."

The glow of sunlight hitting a thin layer of tarnish
made the silver look bronze or gilded that afternoon.
The 8.8-meter, or 28.9-foot, statue sits in a structure made of dark Burmese teak supported by 46 columns; the Precious Hall of the Great Hero. Surrounding the Buddha are prayer banners, wood and metal statues, elaborate paneling and three intricately carved and painted wall hangings depicting scenes from the Buddha's life.

Detail with facial expressions.
Today, the devout can gain potential admission-ticket immortality by donating to "the following project of making a solid gold Buddha statue weighed 2 tons (that) is currently in its fundraising process." Count us in.

Our following project involved exploring a mall adjoining the Jing'an Temple subway stop. It was filled with pricey shops and restaurants but we eventually found the busy, less expensive basement food stalls. Our senses were quickly drawn to a bakery with such an irresistible array of breakfast, lunch and dessert buns that we ended up contributing to their fundraising process multiple times over the remainder of our Shanghai visit.

The mall price of acute inflammatory arthritis
is too high but the mascot is adorable. 
"Yippee!" yelped the youngsters upon the 
yielding of yuan at yummy Yamazaki.

After another swim and upon Betsy's arrival, we walked to a bookstore that we found online in our effort to find some Mandarin DVDs and instructional materials. The shop was in a five-story building and  pretty much felt just like any other large book chain - only everything was, of course, in Chinese. Quinn was able to ask the sales lady for guidance and we left with a bulging bag of mostly Disney movies and workbooks for vocabulary and character reinforcement. (As if the land of Chinglish is the place to turn for such things!)

Do these street vendors know
they're offering rejected parts?
On the way back to the apartment, we stopped at a small street-side food stall that offered about 20 different bowls or platters of various local foods. I chose two dishes, ordered some steamed rice from room service and proceeded to disrupt Kung Fu Panda with my enthusiastic enjoyment of the garlic-and-ginger-infused crunchy fungus and chewy tofu skins.

Just like mom used to make.

The next two mornings, we were up early to watch live English broadcasts of the MLB Home Run Derby on a rainy Tuesday the 15th and then the All Star Game, featuring MVP Mike Trout, on Wednesday the 16th. The other Tuesday highlights were avoiding the persistent downpour by sticking to the indoor pool and using the subway for our second bakery visit for some egg and meat sandwiches, breadsticks and chocolate pies. 

We had to get out on Wednesday so the kids and I decided to check out the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum. We discovered animal exhibits, space and communication technology, medical displays and a ping pong robot that humbled both boys. All of the descriptions and guides were in Chinese and several of the video stations and interactive opportunities were out of order but the museum had a nice flow and the displays were generally user-friendly.

This is what happens when 
science meets technology.
Sadly, these and three toy souvenirs were
the only pandas we saw on our trip. 
Our favorite parts were the rooms with dozens of stuffed and mounted animals from all around the world, the pathology displays with examples of real arteries, veins and organs and the space equipment including satellites and rockets. After a 2½ -hour visit, we wandered around the adjoining subway area where we found a shaded garden and one of the area's several fake-goods markets, complete with aggressive merchants enticing passing shoppers and tourists into every store. 

Our choice of eateries won out over a nearby competitor, which lost - or maybe gained - a point for promoting this entree on their front wall:
While a bargain at just US$2.60, we deemed this
R-rated dish to be unsuitable for minors.  
After the waitress told me which chair I was to sit in (so I could be in a better position for them to serve me all the dishes for distribution she said, when asked by Xander)  we finally ordered some duck to go with some wide noodles, a big bowl of eggplant and our favorite, sword beans. We would be advised later that we should have had the famous Peking duck of Beijing but we agreed the meat and sauce were pretty tasty - once we picked away the thick, rubbery skin that is included here with poultry dishes.

A major theme of this trip: Pretty Tasty.
Hope you're enjoying. There's still more to come covering our last three days in Shanghai and our week in Tokyo.

Rollin' on the River (Days 5, 6 and 7)

We arrived in the mountain paradise of Guilin on Thursday afternoon and took a forty-minute taxi ride to the Sheraton Hotel through some of the most lush and beautifully manicured terrain we've ever seen. Guilin is known for having the best landscaping in the world and we found that to be true everywhere we went. If ever presented with the opportunity to make the 17-mile bus or taxi ride between the Liangjiang International Airport and Guilin, one is rewarded by scheduling at least one way during daylight. We've never seen a longer stretch of road more beautifully maintained on our travels.

After briefly exploring the streets near the hotel, we opted for a restaurant that claimed to have authentic cuisine from around the world. Although the menu offered such fare as "double-bailed eggs with ham, bacon and intertines" (?) and cucumber-flavored milk, we opted for (what they considered) pizza. Oops. No tomato sauce, just a thick coating of mayonnaise between the crust and cheese. Still, we enjoyed the novelty of it.

The best part was the beer-flavored beer.
To our delight, as we waited for our Li River tour guide in the hotel lobby on the morning of the 4th of July, a family we noticed at the pool the night before joined the group. Danne Johnson, her daughter Layla (11) and son Ahmad (7), were as eager as we were to partner up and an instant friendship was born. We would hardly separate for the next two days as we enjoyed eating, swimming, waiting out rainstorms and exploring together.  

The 3½-mile cruise on the large, air-conditioned ship included tea and lunch but we mostly devoured the scenery. The verdant limestone hills jut and roll as if a child had drawn them in a unique topography known as karst and minerals have turned the rock faces various striking shades of yellow, white, black, gray and green. 

A very famous view available for just US$3.22,
far lass than the cost of a seat on the riverboat.

We saw water buffalo grazing and a line of trained cormorants which are diving birds around whose necks fishermen tie nooses to keep them from swallowing their catch. A few merchants standing on thin bamboo boats rowed right up to the fast-moving tourist boat and latched on to sell their fruits and vegetables. 

Many of the hills along the river have been named based on distinguishing features such as the famous Nine Horse Mural Hill on which one is supposed to be able to see up to nine horses in various poses.

Some of the highlights for the kids were their rain dance on the deck above the captain's head, getting soaked by intermittent showers and encouraging passing boats to lay on the horn.

A brochure we received reminds us that the reflections of the hills in the clear and greenish water provide bright, beautiful images: "One hundred miles Lijiang River, one hundred miles art gallery." Both ancient and modern literary works appreciate the beauty of the region. Han Yu, a great poet form the Tang Dynasty, wrote a popular work praising the scenery:

The river winds like a blue-silk ribbon,
While the hills erect like green jade hairpins

The tourist town of Yangshou is the terminus of the cruise and is visited by 20 million people a year. 

We had about four hours to wander the streets before catching the bus back to Guilin but ended up spending much of the time chatting and avoiding the rain and intense heat by talking our way into the deserted dining area of a hotel. We did manage to break away and head through town to check out the many shops and visit a park across from the bus station before we left. 

We woke up on July 5 to torrential rains, a swollen Li River and flooded streets outside our hotel; not enough to do damage like some areas we've seen on the news, but enough to divert traffic here and there. We relaxed in the lobby to ride out the rain with Danne, Layla and Ahmad after the first of our two extravagant hotel breakfast buffets. The kids all had a wonderful time together and Danne and her husband, Reggie, share so many of our interests and values that we are excited to have found these life-long friends. We've already made plans to see them again in Shanghai on July 10th and have been sharing travel tips and stories with each other by text and email.

After the rain slowed and before Danne ushered the kids to the train station for their 18-hour journey to Shanghai, we ate lunch together at a conveyer-belt sushi restaurant in Guilin. Vaughn and I plucked various delights such as cuttlefish and seaweed from the passing plates while Quinn, Xander and Betsy ordered noodle soup, fried shrimp, sushi and broiled fish from the menu. We were going to wait until Tokyo to have sushi, but we couldn't pass up the presentation and it was well worth the visit. 

Our last great memory of Guilin was when we took some sports gear to a nearby sprawling plaza to get some exercise. Quinn garnered her usual share of attention but when the boys and I pulled out our baseball gloves and started whipping the ball around we ended up becoming a major tourist attraction. Scores of people stopped and gathered to watch, fascinated by the unusual sport and the boys' ability to throw accurately and catch hard liners and high flies. We encouraged young and old to try their hand at throwing the ball and even tossed our gloves to a few willing participants and challenged them to catch a popup or two. As darkness brought the activity to a halt, everyone whipped out their cameras and wanted to meet us face-to-face. Right at the end, I gathered a part of the group together and asked them to pose. It was a great joy to be ambassadors of goodwill and sportsmanship and to be a part of so many people's enjoyment of the evening. The smiles we saw and the oohs and aahs we heard from the crowd are moments we won't soon forget.     

Sadly, there were no scouts on hand.
We'll have to try again in Japan.


At breakfast in the hotel on Sunday morning, I met a Twins fan and got to talk a little baseball before getting in Olympic mode for the day. We had scouted out a prime spot along the course of the men's marathon and headed straight there once we had our morning's fill of beans and toast.

The course was a circuit that the racers ran three times and we found a spot in the shade on a two-way strip by which the competitors would pass six times during the marathon. We ended up situated next to a family from New Jersey on our right with whom we could root for the American runners but we stayed much longer than planned thanks to a quick friendship we struck up with the Western family from Essex. 

Father Guy and I found a lot of similarities with our mutual at-home dad/weekend warrior lives while mom Hayley, daughters Amelia (14), and Verity (10) along with son George (13) shared treats, stories and impressions of one another's countries that made the experience truly memorable. (Hit us up at, Westerns. We'd love to see you guys again someday!)

Our view of the race, the support vehicles, the media and the fans representing so many different countries gave us a great - and free! - Olympic experience.

We were able to follow the drama on Guy's phone and we were well aware of the battle for first throughout the race. Here's a shot of Ugandan winner Stephen Kiprotich as he passed by us for the last time with just two miles to go.

After the marathon we made our way back to Chinatown for a dim sum lunch that topped any I've enjoyed in the U.S. The kids are all now BBQ-pork-bun fans for life. Unfortunately, Betsy needed to return to Brussels for work on Monday so we dropped her off at the train station after watching a bit of the USA men's gold medal victory over Spain back at the hotel.

After our farewells, the kids and I headed for The Globe to take in a performance of Henry V. The venue is the only thatched-roof structure in all of London; the lone exception to a law enacted after the fire that gutted the city in 1666. Today's Globe is an accurate recreation of the theatre as historians believe it looked in Shakespeare's time and is just a couple of blocks away from the site of the original Elizabethan playhouse.

The venue was amazing and what we saw of the production was superb. We paid only 5 per ticket to be groundlings which gave us a uniquely historical experience but we were required to remain standing throughout the show for safety.

Since visibility and comprehension were both on the low side for Xander, Vaughn and Quinn, I relented and we departed midway through Act II. Sorry, no photos are allowed during the production so I can't show examples of the outstanding period costumes, props and instruments but at least we were allowed plenty of pre-show photography.

On the way back towards the hotel to grab a quick dinner before settling in for the evening to enjoy the closing ceremonies of the Olympics, we passed this giant human body statue on the ever-changing exhibition space in front of the Tate Modern Art Gallery. No privates to be seen, but he is showing plenty of skin...and more. Kids love guts.


Usually when I sit down to make a blog entry I set the kids to work on their worksheets until they finish and move on to watch some Olympics or an episode of their favorite, Bob l'eponge, on TV. Some of the entries have taken me over three hours to complete so the process is made even more enjoyable by sipping on one of the twenty+ varieties of beer I've had the opportunity to sample during our stay. At this pace, I may get through almost fifty different brews before we return and I must say I'm getting pretty spoiled.

On Tuesday, we got out of the flat to visit an indoor pool at the Complexe Sportif Poseidon. Now true Metro experts, we wasted no time in claiming a pole and riding the rails to the Tomberg area with our swim gear loaded into the backpack.

After struggling through the payment and entry procedure during which I was unable to get an answer as to what else was available at the complexe (it turned out to have an ice skating area, a climbing wall, some workout rooms, a gym and a martial arts center), I began to notice some signs informing me that swim caps were not optional we returned to the desk to purchase four of them. Once we muddled our way through the changing area, not quite sure we were ever following the right procedures in the in the right places, we crammed the latex caps onto our heads. 

When we were finally ready to enter the pool area, a lifeguard approached to inform us in French that we weren't wearing proper swimsuits. Barely containing my frustration, we returned to the desk a third time to rent some of the tight lycra swimmers you see above that we were required to wear before getting wet. Yes, I wore the same get up (not pictured). Finally, we entered the actual pool area and begin to frolic until Xander's rapidly swelling eyes reminded us of his latex allergy. With all the commotion, I had failed to take that into account and he was in a lot of discomfort. Fortunately our fourth trip to the admissions desk netted us our fifth swim cap - this one made of polyester - and once Xander got scrubbed down, we were set free. So two hours of swimming, including the subway ride, set us back 30.30 Euros, or about $37.50. There was no chance we were going to explore the rest of the complexe and I was really glad I chose to pack a lunch instead of planning on eating in the cafeteria! In the end, we had a blast and the kids particularly enjoyed pretending they were Olympians, going through all the motions from pre-race introductions to receiving their imaginary medals and bouquets on the podium.

That evening, one of my biggest goals of our visit to Belgium was met as my friend Warren and I practiced with a local baseball club.

The first time Betsy suggested accompanying her for the summer, I immediately searched "baseball in Brussels" and came upon a site for the Kangaroos baseball club. I contacted the group once it became clear we would be making the trip and was disappointed to realize that the 150 Euro "players' license" combined with the fact that we planned so many weekend trips out of the city would preclude me from participating in actual games but was delighted to get an invitation to join them for practice anytime I was able. 

The team plays and practices on a multi-use Sportsturf field that has a decent mound, two dugouts and a storage unit for all of their equipment (they also actually get TWO umpires for their games!). This video provides a flatteringly-edited look at the team and includes a great shot of a Frank Drebin-wannabe behind the plate at 1:10. A few guys from the video were at practice but by and large it was a mix of nationalities and abilities; sport-loving recreational athletes several of whom are still learning the techniques of the game. Unlike when the TCMABL Twins practice, the man in charge ordered two laps around the field to get things going and everyone actually started running. Then we circled up for a lengthy round of calisthenics.

Finally the real action got underway and we ran through a pretty standard infield/outfield followed up by the usual batting practice.  I got some time in center but primarily manned second base despite my lack of a cup, confident that the turf field would provide true enough hops to prevent a repeat of my experience on one of the dirt infields in Minnesota shortly before my departure. "The boys" and I weren't let down and it was great turning two with the slick Japanese shortstop (all white below), definitely the best fielder on the team. There was also a hispanic guy who was pretty sharp (Yankees cap), a professional paintballer built like a tight end who literally just started playing baseball (Nebraska shirt) and the Belgian coach (standing, left) who knew what was up but otherwise it was mostly Bad News Bears.

We finished by doing some base running drills as I worked through mechanics with a couple of aspiring pitchers. It was a great experience and so fun to hear their Franco-Amercan chatter. I heard "I've got eet!" "You need to catch zis ball!" several "Atta boys" and some choice curses that I wish I could remember. For my TCMABL friends; overall the nine guys who stuck it out on Tuesday might be able to give the Entourage a run for their money but it would be close. Only one guy was struck in the head and had to leave to attend to his bloody lip and chipped tooth. Regardless it was great fun and I'm eager to get out again on Thursday night for another go at it.

Finally today we're counting down the days to our Friday train trip to London. We've been checking online daily for an opportunity to pick up some tickets but it's looking like that pretty much won't happen. A breakdown of some of the possibilities:
  • $481 minimum for a single ticket to the men's basketball bronze medal game.
  • $608 minimum for a single ticket to the men's boxing finals.
  • $1,389 per ticket for track and field events on Saturday including finals for the men's 4x400 and 4x100 relays, pole vault, javelin as well as finals for women's high jump, hammer throw, 800m and 4x400 relay.
  • $2,797 per ticket for the closing ceremony which would run $13,985 for the entire family to attend.
Jeez, how about faster, higher, stronger, cheaper?! Unless someone wants to organize some sort of fundraiser on our behalf, here's a preview of us watching the Olympics while we're in London:

Actually we know that we'll be able to explore the public areas and we do have plans on at least getting along the course of the men's marathon so we're sure to have a great time. We're looking into attending a theatrical performance and we have a couple of extra days after the closing ceremonies to hit all the major sights and take in a couple of museums as well. 

Until next time!


Monday was a quiet day as we got sucked into the excitement of the Olympics and spent much of the afternoon absorbed in equestrian, judo, fencing swimming, tennis and gymnastics coverage. The BBC doesn't do nearly as well as NBC with their on-screen information and replays so we really have to pay attention. Of course, the focus is heavy on Team GB and their stunning 21st-place effort this far but we do get to see the American stars and their events as well. 

We're trying to be a bit more frugal during the week as the weekends are typically filled with extraordinary plans but we still got out for some fun with a visit to our favorite nearby park where the kids enjoyed making Krabby Patties in the sand play area before we played a little soccer, er, football with some locals. 

On Tuesday, we visited the Museum of Musical Instruments in the beautifully refurbished Old England building just a block west of the Place Royale. Originally constructed in 1898, the building housed a department store until it fell into disrepair in the late 70's. Recognized as one of the finest examples of Art Nouveau architecture in the city, the building was refurbished in the late 90's and officially opened as the museum in 2000. The top floor features a cafe with a marvelous view of the city and one can stand in each of the heptagonal observation rooms off the upper floors visible on the left side of the picture below.

The gallery was filled with hundreds of fascinating instruments from around the world and visitors plug headphones into various listening stations at each display to hear them being played. Virtually all of the descriptive information was in French and Flemish and they did not have any English supplemental material but it was still well worth our time. One of the first displays we saw was a collection of Chinese instruments and the boys started doing Tai Chi as soon as they plugged in.

The oldest piece was a shoulder harp from Egypt that was crafted around 1500 B.C. and many other instruments dated back hundreds of years. There were reconstructions of an ancient Greek lyre and horns found in the ruins of Pompeii. This Transylvanian gardon wasn't one of the oldest examples but it certainly looked like something that might have been plucked by one of the Brides of Dracula in a dark corner of the count's castle. 

We saw many bizarre and unusual examples such a glass harmonica - a series of glass bowls on a rod that one rubs with wet fingertips to play - designed by Ben Franklin, a drum made out of a human skull, bagpipes made from animal bladders, a violin made from a wooden shoe, a kit violin small enough to fit in a coat pocket and a harpsichord that could fold up and be carried like a suitcase. We had seen a busker playing a horn-violin (below) just days earlier on the street in Brugge. This trombone with seven bells made by Adolphe Sax of Dinant (see Day 6) threatened to replace the slide trombone at one point but it was hard to play and even harder to construct.

Other items that held special interest for us were original saxophones made by Adolphe Sax and a chandelier made out of serpents, unique wind instruments the boys learned about in the Handel lesson of their BRAVO music classes at school. In addition, the many unique keyboard instruments on the top floor were almost irresistible to our young pianists but we did manage to follow all of the ne pas toucher signs. 

There were also excellent displays of how a piano is made and a recreation of a cozy little violinist's workshop.

The Pizza Hut lunch buffet we hit after the museum stung to the tune of 40 Euros. A trip to the salad bar apparently costs extra and I got admonished for not understanding how to put pizza on one plate and salad on another. I then realized everyone around us was eating their pizza with knives and forks and - gasp! - failing to use a clean plate on return trips so we felt obligated to do the same. The uncouth Americans strike again.

After that, a trip to a decent-sized grocery for some home-cooking supplies seemed in order. Of course, we bought way too much and I had to lug about 80 pounds, er, 36 kilos of food and drinks on my back about ten blocks back to the flat. 

That evening upon Betsy's return, we enjoyed a much-needed frolic at the beautiful Parc de Woluwe just east of the city.

The boys and I finally got out our baseball gear for a lengthy workout as Betsy and Quinn explored the surrounding woods.

It was a lovely way to end another great day in Belgium before we returned "home" to watch the end of the women's gymnastics domination and Michael Phelps getting medal number nineteen.

Wednesday marks our first foray into the Metro, the local subway system, as we will finally explore some of the city beyond the mile-or-so radius that has kept us so busy. I am hopeful we take the right train to the right place and don't end up in Antwerp in a few hours. Wish us luck!