How we got there can be told in two different ways. The first one is a little literal. But if you randomly sift the streets of the Vieux Lille, you will eventually stand where we stood.
How exactly we became such divas – for this, I need to backtrack a little and explain.
It started here. With this ever-so-appealing dish. In our defence – we were exhausted. Famished. And in the middle of some really weird neighbourhood at some really random hour (if you must ask, three words: Cat Café expedition! But more on that in some later post). It took us a little while to snap out of our enthusiasm for having found a restaurant where we could each find something we like — and to realize that a Vietnamese-Chinese-Thai ”Specialty” restaurant is probably not all that specialized after all. Borderline suspicious, I might add.
No, we would not find respite in this meal. We would however laugh our heads off, slightly embarrassed for the owners, too. ”But they DO realize this isn’t okay food to serve, right?” ” Don’t laugh so loud!!” ” Oh I KNOW what this is!!!! I had a class in economy about this. I’ve seen it before!”. We all leaned in.
”It’s a money laundry business.” She whispers. We laugh. ” No really. Think about it. I learned all about this in class. If the food is that bad, it’s just to make sure no one comes back and bothers them again. I mean look, it just makes such perfect sense. We’re the only clients and this place has three employees and has apparently been in business for a really long time. There is no other possible explanation for such a phenomenon. ”
We erupted in even further laughter. Because let’s face it – as unbelievable and far-fetched as this idea might seem… it remained more plausible than that of such a poor restaurant remaining in business. Surely, there was something more to this establishment than these appealing, delectable dishes!
“We MUST try this Mojito Bar”. My friend has a fascination with Mojitos – and right she is! – so, quite naturally, she had spotted it on her afternoon meanders. ”Ok let’s go!” we answered in chorus.
Is it possible to manage to completely miss your stop and exit on a completely different train line? Five stops away from actual destination? Oh, yes it is!! Hmm… Oops?
We are however resilient, sophisticated, smart ladies, so we did indeed find our way into the mojito bar. On the wall, a poster that made us laugh some more: ”Dancing is forbidden”. What we think they meant is probably that standing in such a small space, and annoying all the customers by getting in the way, is prohibited. And so by extension, so is dancing. But just to test their limits, we wiggled and danced in our chairs, curious to see if we would get scolded. We confirm. You can dance. Just do it far from that poster, out of the way.
And it is finally on our way back that we met the lovely red carpets which opened this article. They happened to be on every doorstep of every shop on the street. And when we passed them, we remarked on them. ”It’s our 15 minutes of fame… no wait, 15 seconds!”. Soon, we were parading the street. Walking normally on the pavement, and the instant we hit the red carpet, taking glamour poses and dancing our way through the few steps that led to the next piece of pavement, where our serious, classy selves would return.
It’s now been a few months, and when I returned on the street tonight, I saw the red carpets had been removed. They were gone. But the glamorous memories remain.