I think I'm acclimatising a little to the heat, but am still at the pink and itchy stage. This is a good combination with sun-induced highlights. Also I'm delighted to say that there is something which overwhelms the smell of dog poo in the parks. Parc du Cinquantenaire is drenched in jasmine. Last night as I walked through the park it was glorious.
A sound system was being rehearsed for today's Brussels 20K run and One Direction and Duck Sauce blared out. Tightrope walkers bounced at a height of three feet between massive chestnut trees. Crowds surrounded the boules pitch, and the park was crossed peacefully by Muslims and Hassidic Jews. Well, one Hassidic family anyway, that I've seen often, who look as if from another time with four little girls all in matching white dresses with long brown hair. The very tall trees afforded stippled shade throughout the park and I walked as far as Merode, deeply inhaling the jasmine.
At a zebra crossing just outside the park a lady tripped on a tram rail and fell, with a very loud "AIIIE!" sound. I've read a lot about how people don't really care in this city, about how you shouldn't expect any help if anything bad happens. Within seconds, there was a little swarm of people around the fallen lady, cars stopped to see if she was ok, and one car parked diagonally across that side of the road to put a safe barrier between her and the traffic. I did not see the end of this episode but I found it very heartening. People are the same everywhere, I think, and some will always care.
This morning I sat up a hill while the Boy slept (yes, working on a Sunday - his parents were running the 20K) and waited for the front-runners to pass on the Avenue de Tervueren. I nearly cried when the first runners passed, to cheers and applause, between two competing samba bands. Not sure why, it just seemed such a bloody big achievement on such a fucking hot day to pass the 17K marker only 55 minutes after they started.
Later we waited by the road for the Boy's parents to pass us and I was overwhelmed with respect for the thousands and thousands and thousands of people, wet and red and shiny, struggling uphill towards and past us. I was also a bit overwhelmed by the heat by this point so went and had a nice cup of tea.
One thing I decided, when I was up that hill sitting between two samba bands...I really want to play with them.