|Gare Centrale, Bruxelles|
Here's the thing that Starbucks does right. It's their service. It "translated" perfectly here (in Belgium) too. Smiling employees, happy to see you, taking your name, and quick effective delivery of that most important aspect: frothy liquid coffee bean. I'm not just paying $10 and a walk from the Metro to Gare Centrale just for coffee, I'm paying for the privilege to have a bit of happiness in a cup.
A cup, not a shot glass like I've had at a few cafes. A human size, cargo-carrier-of caffeine ready to land in the blood stream like a Iraq War, George Bush, Bunker Buster Missile set to explode (or at least get me through mid-terms.)
Let's be honest, Belgium has America beat hands-down on beer, bread, cheese and horse burgers- but coffee? I think there's some room for improvement. Considering my interest in never leaving Brussels, the question arrives can I live with it? Actually yes. I drink a lot less coffee overall since I've arrived, where as in the U.S. I go through periods where I drink a pot or two a day. There's absolutely no reason not to hit Starbucks both on the way to school and the return in your SUV adorned with Romney bumper stickers at home. This of course probably explains the constant twitch in my left eye, back at home, that my professors are worried about.
...And while this post has gone on long enough to be a complete rant (thanks to the marvels of Starbucks and the power of procrastination in studying) I will say this, perhaps the reason the Belge are so mellow is because of the lack of caffeine? Soda is eight Euro for a twelve pack, and comes in a smaller size than in the U.S. too. Are Belgian's just less addicted than Americans? Americans aren't obnoxious, war mongers, beating their chest like monkeys... we're just high on caffeine. Now that explains everything!