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More Budapest

June 20, 2010

So. The journey from Raleigh to Budapest was not harrowing or difficult, just long and grinding.

My plane from Warsaw descended to Budapest through lightning and black storm clouds. I don’t know why the caption on the photo isn’t showing up, but that is the airport parking lot. It was a regular DELUGE, y’all.

I opted not to mess with public transportation, because it was raining and dark and I was exhausted, so I took an airport shuttle.

Everyone at the hostel was very surprised to find out that I am not, in fact, a guy. I had been put into a room with six Irish 19 year olds. The receptionist apologized for what I was about to endure….it was nothing I couldn’t handle. Just boys being boisterous.

Saturday I slept late, and ventured out at around 1 pm. I kind of wandered aimlessly until I found a big central square. There were lots of angry, long haired men wearing black cargo pants and they were carrying flags and demonstrating. Imagine if you combined a biker bar with the Tea Party and a little dash of Hot Topic goths. So I decided to avoid them (this proved to be a good idea because I later learned that they were right wing nationalist types). Suddenly, the square was filled with song and dance! I had happened upon the 15th annual Danube Carnival. There were folk dance ensembles from Hungary, Romania, Poland, Italy, Greece, Martinique, and more.

I stayed there for several hours, then walked a bit by the Danube, then headed back to the hostel (the night did not end there. Dance clubs were visited. Til four in the morning. Nothing in Raleigh prepared me for what I encountered).

The exchange rate is something like, every 100 Hungarian forints is about 45 cents in US dollars. A beer, for example, was about…249 HUF. I am constantly giving clerks the wrong bill–either way too much or way too little. This embarrasses me, but I am not used to bills in such huge denominations. I also suspect that the 10,000 and 20,000 notes I have are a pain for people to make change for. You know the type who goes around with only $100s? I think I am one of those.

Mostly, people speak English. That’s good because so far all I can say is, “Szervusz. Beszel angolul?” (SER-voose. BESS-ale ungoal-ool)

Hello. Do you speak english?
I have tried this out with varying success. Once at a cafe, where the girl’s eyes bugged out and she referred me to a co-worker; once to some cops, who, when i said, “Szervusz, do you guys speak English,” said, “Nope.” Finally, I said it to a Hungarian dude at 430 am on the stoop of the hostel. He said it was decent, he could pretty much understand me. OK, not too bad.

Time to play cards now, videos of the folk dancers on the way.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Luke Elson permalink
    June 21, 2010 8:33 pm

    Glad to see you made it! How long are you staying there for?

    We’re looking forward to seeing you in Vienna next month!

    • June 22, 2010 12:00 am

      I think I am leaving Budapest on Wednesday, heading for Croatia. So that will have been 5 or 6 days here. I am SO excited about Vienna. I’ll reply to you via email about accommodations, haha.

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