Love or leave Louise?

17 Aug
Welcome to the Wonderful World of Louise

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Louise

No, Louise isn’t my new girlfriend. Also, it doesn’t refer to some guy called Louis or Lewis (I wish) but it’s the area where I’m living now. It’s in the upper part of town, with the fancy shops, the wannabe people and prices taking advantage of their snobbism. However, I’m lodging at the edge of this ‘beau monde’ (the beautiful world), where the seedy services to the chique people are hiding.

The Louise quarter I live in is catalogued as the fancy part of town – or at least that’s what the people there think – and that’s what you pay for.

To belong there, you need to wear a uniform.

The kind of shops you MUST buy

The kind of shops you MUST buy at

For MEN this would invariably include a freshly ironed shirt or pastel pink polo-shirt, and some kind of V-neck jumper that you normally only see on golf courts. The hairdos remind me of my favourite 80’s TV-series Miami Vice, so obviously they’re a length ahead by being 30 years behind. And of course there’s wafts of ‘Eau de cologne’ around, indicating that you’re within disdain-reach.

Another Louise prototype which is let out to see the daylight in the summery weather, is the Surfer type: fancy checkers Bermuda shorts looking like tea-towels, sandals that don’t seem made for walking and a singlet top (sleeveless vest) from which the hair is protruding and contrasting with some golden necklaces.

A new hairdo for 45 Euro - I pay 10 at my Moroccan barber's

A new hairdo for 45 Euro - I pay 10 at my Moroccan barber's

The WOMEN tend to be adorned with their poodle dogs and handbags as big as my Asia-backpack. Their hair is generally twisted in a perm that actually belongs more in a museum than on someone’s head. The women’s faces are a cross between Picasso and an embalmer’s job. Their skin is either baked in the solarium, or covered in chemicals such as makeup & creams, both of which probably explain the damaging effect on the skin.

The kind of hotels in the area

The kind of hotels in the area

The winter season is ‘more acceptable’, because then thick fur coats would cover up their bodies, but in Summer they wear dresses they should not be wearing, really! (unless of course they have a membership card at the botox & lifting clinic around the corner – in that case their breast points up nicely when they smile, but slump when they pull a sad face). Luckily they are wearing enough bling bling to distract your pitiful gaze, oh yeah, and sunglasses bigger than their heads.

The kind of shops in Louise are of the Gucci, Versaci and Vuiton kind, you know, where the average purchase is about twice the size of the shop assistants’ monthly salary. I once dated one of the staff of Tiffany’s and he explained to me that actually the real cost of a ring or necklace is 10 times lower than the price they sell it for. So 90% of what they sell is air, snobbery and make-believe.

Besides the fake plants, the fake birds

Besides the fake plants, the fake birds

The side streets of Louise are dotted with exquisite restaurants. Now in Summer they invade the streets with their terraces, so I could hardly pass with my Villo shared bike. It’s the kind of restaurants where they ask double the price, for half the amount of food, served it in plates & glasses triple the usual size. Maybe it gives people the illusion of being on a diet? Another illusion I discovered yesterday, is the chirping bird sounds, coming from loudspeakers. That’s as close as those city people probably ever come to nature: the latest new age CD with birds, whales & co.

Betty Boop (or is it Boob) next to the Txxx Dance bar

Betty Boop (or is it Boob) next to the Txxx Dance bar

But where there’s money, there’s decay. Our apartment is just on the edge of the fancy street, where the homeless hang out having a break from collecting money on the main street over a good beer. It’s also the street where the posh and pretty (ahum) come for female entertainment: dancers of the table kind

Our house has a glass door, because it’s doubtlessly more stylish, but to compensate the feeling of insecurity, we need 4 or 5 keys to get into the house. Even the postman (woman) is locked out from the letterboxes and without a key you can’t reach the doorbells.

  • So we’re safe – from incoming mail,… and friends.

4 Responses to “Love or leave Louise?”

  1. Miriel 18 August 2009 at 12:15 #

    Espero que te adaptes nesse bairro chique, ou talvez não tão chique… a realidade permance sempre lá, por mais maquilhagem que se use…

  2. Anu 19 August 2009 at 20:13 #

    Sounds so strange. I can’t really place Louise, is it close to Parc Cinquintanaire and the EU area? The name is very famliar though. Helsinki is so funny, trying hard to be cosmopolitan and hip, but the Louis Vuitton shop is always empty, nobody dares to go in, it’s so intimidating. Very few Finns are ready to spend fortunes on appearances, and we so do not have a class society. We have just a handful of posh people. But the Russians make up for the lack of glamour, they come to shop in Helsinki, and you can immediately spot them because they wear make-up and high heels… Unlike most Finnish women. But hey, did you know that according to an international survey, Helsinki is one of the most gay friendly destinations for travellers.

  3. travelony 19 August 2009 at 22:58 #

    Louise is near the Palace of Justice, between Porte de Namur and Porte de Hal if that rings a bell. It’s sort of the border between Etterbeek and Ixelles.

  4. Josefine 20 August 2009 at 20:05 #

    Hey! I remember that neigbourhood : lived there as well…and totally loved it: close to town (I remember going by foot to your old appartment…it took some time, but hey, we are in a capital, so a 30 minutes walk is nothing…and good to stay fit ;-), cinema and theatre nearby…I have fond memories coming back to me…

    PS: one tip: check out the libanese restaurants in the neighbourhood : they are GREAT!

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