Tomorrow my summer holiday starts. You won't find me on a sunny beach or in a cultural city, no, this year you'll find me at Celebration Europe's convention floor. Three days of Star Wars, geekery and Stormtroopers.
I used to be a big Star Wars fan. Ever since I saw the Special Editions and ending when I finished my Masters, I was a big big fan of that universe far far away.
These last years, the love's still there, but it's more an old friend than a current lover.
Either way, today was my last working day. I managed to get the outstanding todo's done at noon, and since I planned to be in Genth today, I decided that, instead of going to home immediately, I would spend the afternoon in Ghent, and enjoy the festivities. The last two weeks of July are known as the Gentse Feesten, festivities where the whole town hosts concerts, street theaters and lots of beer. Lots of beer.
One of the major attractions each year for me is the Duvel Delta. Duvel, one of Belgiums stronger beers, has a small party tent in the middle of Ghent each year. They offer Moortgat's beers in every variety, but more specifically: they gift a special Duvel glass for the occasion.
Last years glass had a giant moustache printed on it, this years glass a nice and dirty phrase. (*). You can only get the glass at that specific place, and you cant buy it. You have to earn or win it.
The rules are simple. For each Duvel you drink, you get two letters. Get enough of them to spell Duvel and the glass is yours.
It sounds simple, but drinking more than three Duvels in one afternoon is something few manage, so people need to come back day after day, or start trading letters.
I setteld at a table, pulled out my iPhone and enjoyed my Pocket list, a Duvel and some sun. Vacation had truly begun.
After my second Duvel, a guy called out: _Does anyone have an extra D? _
This resulted in something akin to a Marocan souks. Tables started trading letters, and what where tables of people enjoying a beer and saving to get the glass, ended up with fewer tables with more people and not only trading letters, but talking about where they came from, or why they decided to visit Ghent.
Observing this behaviour from a distance, I noticed two mid age guys standing at the side. One of them, politely, asked me: do you have a V?_.
I had, and since my letters spelled DVEL, changing the V for an U wouldn't change anything really.
I offered a trade and after a friendly nod, I went back to observing the crowd and scrolling my Twitter feed.
A few minutes later, the guy approached me: Say, which letters do you miss? A V I answered. He looked puzzled. Didn't you just give me one? Yeah I answered. But you needed it, I still missed a letter so trading it wouldn't really set me back.
The guy shrugged, thanked me, and went back to his table. A moment later he called the waiter, ordered three Duvels, two for his friend and himself, and one for me. And after he ordered, he refused to pay until there was an V on the table. He waved at me, and gave me both the missing letter and a free Duvel.
We ended up talking about an hour about my work, his work, beer, Ghent and Duvel.
Joy comed from these little moments, and I couldn't have started my vacation better than this.
(*) De dieë zoe kik nog wel ne kier tege maane zielee wille trekke zul!