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Christmas in Antwerp (Sunday: 13.12.2015) - Random thoughts [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Christmas in Antwerp (Sunday: 13.12.2015) [Dec. 21st, 2015|01:45 pm]
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[feeling |tiredtired]

Giant Santa wall decal in one of the shops

Gothic Fairytale Picknick had planned their annual Christmas market walk on Sunday the 13th of December, in Antwerp, coinciding with the Belle Epoche winter walk, so both groups sort of last minute decided to just band together. Because the NMBS was once again fail on a stick, and didn't manage to properly communicate their new schedule, Lora ended up missing her connection and I took the train to Antwerp on my own (rather than joining her on the train in my home town). She was going to meet up with me in Antwerp 10 minutes after I arrived, so we agreed I'd wait for her on the usual meet-up spot in the old hall.
So I spent the trip reading on a very much NOT crowded train. The weather was pretty crap (drizzle all day long) so a lot of people clearly had decided against going out to shop or going to the Christmas market in Antwerp.

When I arrived (on time, 'lo and behold) I went to the hall, where the people from the Belle Epoche group were gathering. And what did I notice, a photographer with professional equipment on the ground making some very weird photos (of what I'm not sure) and a veritable HORDE of other photographers, all trying to outdo each other happy snapping.
Turns out a hobby group of photographers was there as well, also coincidently, and was sitting in the café upstairs and noticed Laurens, and had simply followed stalked him down, where they went into full nergasm mode.

Which would have been less NOT ok if they
1. ASKED before simply assuming it was ok to snap away at us as if we were there for their personal entertainment.
2. Didn't fucking use huge flashes they didn't even fucking need in the first place, that were constantly blinding the hell out of people.
There utter and total disregard for people and their privacy was mind boggling. Seriously it was beyond NOT ok.

And one fucking cunt in particular was lucky she knew when to fuck off in time, or I would have gone to find security and set them on her ass. First of all, when someone tells you NO, they do NOT want you to take their photo with the biggest fuck-off huge flash in the hall, you do NOT come bitch and moan at them and demand they justify themselves. When they point out to you that they simply don't, and that they are not there for your entertainment, you do not proceed to stand in their personal space and STARE at them in the creepiest angry way possible in the hope it will make them submit to your idiotic demands. It may work on others, but it really does NOT work on me. After being pointedly ignored by me and my friends for several minutes, she decided to go victimise some others.
Lucky for her, because I would have gotten security if she hadn't left us alone.

I get it, you're dedicated to your hobby. Your hobby is photography, this, however, does not mean that everyone on the planet is there for your personal entertainment. if you see someone dressed in a way you like and you want to snap them, approach them politely and ASK! Don't just go around happy snapping them without their conscent, it is RUDE and plain old ILLEGAL.
Even if you are to argue that you are legally allowed to shoot a group of that many people, your argument is invalid the second you start shooting individuals in that group. It only goes for the WHOLE group.
I'm passionate about photography too, but the only happy snaps I take are of my friends, at meets, when they know I am going to be doing it, and they are totally ok with it. I know this for a fact, because they told me they are ok with it.
Plus I don't publish the crap photos so it's not like they have anything to worry about (that and if they ask I will take photos of them offline and such).
If I see someone with a cool outfit, I will ask them if I can take a photo. Some people will say yes, others will say no, such is life. But I will NOT, under any circumstance, shove a camera in their face. Especially not with a giant flash (the only flashes I use are the non blinding analog kind anyway).

Because the flash happy mob was getting so annoying and invasive, Lora and I decided to just wander to the 1am meet up point at Grote Markt already, stopping along the way to take some photos in the Stadsfeestzaal

Stadfeestzaal, now with random shark

Outfit: 13.12.2015


Lora and I

and to pick up a CD my dad wanted me to get for him at FNAC. I still maintain he simply doesn't want to be seen with my mum's musical "taste" (neither do I but hey, it's my dad). Some more random photos were taken along the way, with various cameras.

Antwerp cathedral

Christmas market signage

By the time we got to Grote Markt it was only a little after 1pm, and because it didn't look like the gathered group was moving any time soon, but the weather was shit, Lora and I decided to go to the 450 years of City Hall exhibit because we were, you know, outside City Hall. The people working there were MEGA friendly, which was all the awesome :)
The guy at the entrance immediately let us put our umbrellas next to the ticket desk (it was free but you still had to get a ticket in trade for your postal code) where they would be safe and gave us a token to use instead of a € 1 piece for the lockers.

The exhibit itself was pretty small, but it was pretty interesting,

450 years of City Hall exhibit

450 years of City Hall exhibit

450 years of City Hall exhibit

and we got to go to the first floor too and roam a small part of the beautiful building. We took some photos there too and hung out for a while.
And profited of the free, clean loos, huzzah!

Lora presents: the Christmas tree!

Lora and I



The hypocrit (and insanely unsafe) thing about the exhibit though is the blueprints on display. Antwerp is an NVA town, it has an NVA mayor. The NVA is the insane extreme right party in Belgium that tries to take people's rights and privacy away, in the name of public safety and to protect us from terrorists. At the same time they set up a super easily accessible exhibit and display the blueprints to City Hall, not just in the exhibit but in the free exhibit guide to take home. I have absolutely ZERO bad intentions, but I've been there twice now and it's dead easy for someone that does to act on them. So really, they should think twice before they try to screw over the population.

We ended up spending a lot longer inside City Hall as we thought, because of course, everyone was gone when we got out. We wandered the, frankly pathetic, Christmas market section of the Grote Markt and decided we wanted to go to Starbucks to have a drink and eat the mini pastries I brought.

Walking there we saw another group of the dreaded happy snappers, who were luckily utterly focussed on some kind of construction on the Handschoenmarkt, but one noticed us and started shouting at us to stop and pose, which we declined. If he had actually approached us like we were human beings, it would have been ok, but both Lora and I dislike being treated as roaming entertainment there for others fun. At least he didn't just start snapping us I suppose (I would have gotten so angry if he had, seriously).

The people at Starbucks were nice though, they liked that we looked different and complimented us on our outfits :)
The Groenplaats Starbucks is also pretty cosy, and I really liked the stamped coffee bean detail on the walls.
And there were parents doing actual parenting!
So we had a good time drinking our drinks and nomming our pastries :)
Note to self: no more lattes!
Well not whole lattes, only half lattes!
Or maybe no lattes.

IggleXmasHunt day 13: Christmas mug

IggleXmasHunt day 13: Christmas mug.

Anyway, full of noms and Starbucks deemed hung out at, we decided to go to see if we could find the others. The pathetic section at the Groenplaats (well the ice skating rink was cool, I kinda wish I had brought my skates) turned up no Goths/historically dressed people either so we decided to walk down the Meir. And lo and behold, we found the Artifakt/Coalescaremonium lot, huzzah!
And this oldtimer and carolers :)

Old timer and Christmas carolers

So we wandered back to Groenplaats, because most of them were HUNGRY.
And we hung out MORE, which was fun.

a bunch of my friends at the Christmas market

Wesley and Laurens


fire outside the ice skating rink

Strip of fire outside the ice skating rink.

Some of the people from the belle epoque fashion walk

More people that arrived at Groenplaats.

Christmas caroling in front of the cathedral

Carolers in front of the entrance doors to the Cathedral at the Handschoenmarkt.

We didn't end up joining for drinks at the Irish pub, because it was getting quite late, and we still wanted to check in on our friend Julie at her job (but she had already gone home) and pick up gloves at H&M.
All of this done, we still managed to get the train that left the station slightly before 5pm, so we managed to get home at reasonable-o'-clock, rather than stupid 'o clock.

5FFphoto day 13: holiday film

And also the 13th's 5FFphoto challenge: a holiday movie :)

More photos of this meet.

[User Picture]From: howlin_wolf_66
2015-12-21 03:06 pm (UTC)
Yes, people definitely should get the permission of any individual they want to photograph... Anything else is just rude. I'm sorry that people can be so invasive. *hugs*

I love the fire strip! :-)
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[User Picture]From: kittensandsteam
2015-12-21 03:12 pm (UTC)
That fire strip is well cool, but I do hope no one gets stark raving drunk near it, because then it's an accident waiting to happen I fear
But it does look very pretty :)

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