When I was a teenager, we didn't go abroad much. It was all Pontins holiday camps in places like Blackpool, North Wales and Devon. When we DID go abroad, it was mainly on coach tours.
I didn't really mind them that much, apart from the fact it always took so damn long to reach your destination. Even me, nervous flyer extraordinaire, could clearly see that spending a day getting to Paris on a coach seemed fairly pointless when you could fly there in a mere fraction of that time. Luckily, Paris and Belgium were the furthest we ever went.
At brunch the other day, me and my sister and mum were talking about the coach tours and it reminded me of the Belgium holiday and what happened when we went to Brussels for the day.
Picture the scene - the five members of my family are sitting in a coach which is essentially full of old people. With the exception of one other kid and me and my siblings, my mum and dad (who would have been late forties at the time) are the youngest people on the bus. We're getting a guided tour of Brussels on the coach . . .
And we drive into the city's red light district.
This is pointed out to us by our guide. In other words, this isn't just an accidental happening.
IT'S PART OF THE TOUR!!
Immediately I was thinking "this is weird! We're in a bus full of grannies and they are showing us PROSTITUTES???"
But curiosity outweighed any sort of horror I was feeling, and I couldn't help but look at the women displaying themselves in what appeared to be shop windows. There was one seductively eating a banana that caused me to giggle uproariously - as a banana-hater, I just couldn't understand why she was enjoying eating it so much! And then . . . Further along the street, a man was loitering outside the window talking to another woman. Apparently they were involved in some sort of business transaction . . .
So we were watching a guy barter with a prostitute??? Nice!
The thing I found weirdest of all though? No one on the bus appeared to be fazed by this. I didn't hear any of the oldies say they thought it was inappropriate or out-of-order. I think I was more freaked out by it than anyone else
Yes, that was one strange day . . .