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Saturday, April 30, 2011

PUB CULTURE

BICYCLE PROTEST

Today, in Budapest, they were having a bicycle protest. Everyone, it seemed, was out riding their bikes to show how many of them there were. It was a shitload of bikes but really nothing compared to Amsterdam. Automobiles were stopped or diverted. I presume they were going for 'equal rights'. Usually, bikes lose to cars. According to one bicyclist I spoke to, it had reached 'critical mass'. Do I think it will really help? No - but it was interesting to see.



POSH RESTAURANT

At the repeated urging of the staff of the hostel "Colors" I went to a posh (but not too expensive) restaurant called 'Bor la Bor' to try some traditional Hungarian food. I got table bread and the tap water I requested. Both were free. I'd like to note that you never get butter with the bread. I don't ask for it because I'd rather have the gut shrink than grow. Also, you can play 'spot the American' by watching who is trying to explain to the staff that ice goes in water. I don't play this game - I can drink lukewarm water and not care. I'm also curious as to whether food sent back comes out of the waiters paycheck as it does in the Czech Republic but the waiter I had didn't really have enough of a grasp of English to go that far off of the 'I want to order food topic' to deal with that.

This is the kind of restaurant that has cloth napkins. The food arrangement was very well done. The dish was "Venison stew with a touch of red wine with Hungarian potato dumplings". I had an Irish Coffee for desert which they used Jameson's to make. Posh.

Main course, 2390 HUF; Irish Coffee, 690 HUF. Total cost 3080 HUF (AKA $17 - the price of a small or medium pizza with delivery, tip, etc).



ORGAN CONCERT

I decided to go to a (free) organ and choir concert. I did it partially because I am curious and partially to annoy some of my readers who artistic types. They will say things like "Logan (the heathen) went to a classical music concert in Budapest? But he has no real appreciation of the arts! I should have been the one to go!" And they would be right. It's especially funny because I'm looking pretty rough (scruffy) - like I just got done with a two week NERO event. I was sitting between two older gentlemen, both of whom were wearing suits. I was dressed in Czech sweats and a T-shirt with English and I believe Polish writing. Rough.

Before going, I had fortified myself with three glasses of Hungarian wine. Happy days.

The church itself was quite old, but I'm not sure from when. I don't know what your opinion is on churches but I will say that this one gave some nice acoustics.

It was organ and a shitload of people in a choir - the most I'd ever seen. I'm not sure how many. I had originally guessed a hundred but the program I got (also free!) said double that. Lot of fucking singers. I think they may have been famous as the program said they had done a lot of work for the BBC and such, but meh. They did a bunch of music by a guy name Liszt. To quote the great American philosopher Homer J Simpson, "If he's so smart, how come he's dead?"

High culture + Logan = ????

I did (to a certain point when my ass started to hurt) actually enjoy the concert. The brain can only absorb what the ass can endure. "Over the years my ass has taken a pounding." - Me, Myself and Irene.

I was disappointed they didn't play a piece by Bach I like, but I'm guessing the organist has heard that as often as a guitar shop owner has heard the opening chords of "Stairway to Heaven". So, I didn't start yelling for it in the middle of the concert. Chalk one up for culture...

After about two hours, I got burned out on culture and as they continued playing I wandered off. Culture is best in small doses. Or the booze wore off. I'm not sure. I just knew if I had been forced to sit through more I'd have stood up and demanded everyone bow to lord Satan or something. Best to take off early. [Disclaimer for those for whom English not their first language - I have no interest in Satan.]



HUNGARIAN MONEY

I don't recommend carrying anything larger than a 5000 HUF bill - they will have trouble breaking it. 2000 and 5000 are usually OK - anything smaller is definitely OK.



CHEERS

In the bar Cheers, I met up with Sam Olawuyi, a Nigerian gynecologist. We got talking about Africa and he told me something interesting. He felt that the problem was that a lot of people left Africa to go get educated in 'foreign parts'. They came back and their 'new ideas' were not really appreciated by the natives. Also, the culture there is to help support the family. And they have really big families. There is an African saying that if you have one rich man and seven poor men, you have eight poor men. The problem then comes in that the educated man feels strapped for cash and turns to corrupt means to get it. And that is what causes 'asshole-ism'. Which is what brings about dictators, which Africa seems to have in abundance.

The bar Cheers is very good to me. After the concert, I went back to see if I could talk to more people. I did. There is a great diversity of people there from doctors to laborers - and they are all old friends.

Apparently, 55 years ago, Elvis did something good for Hungary. I'm not clear on what, but the bar was celebrating him. I made the mistake if they wanted to play one Elvis song to honor it and they played them until I retreated.

And I tried out a shot of Unicum - it is Hungarian for 'firewater that has herbs in it therefore must be good for you while it kicks in your teeth'. Buy a bottle of it if you'd like a slow, painful suicide. I hit the escape button when locals started wanting to buy me shots of this. Shot of Unicum (yes, it sounds very interesting in Engish) 600 HUF.

After walking out of the bar, I wandered back to the hostel and...ran into the poles drinking in our room. And guess who they wanted to help them drink shots of vodka? There was one French lady and five poles. Severine (French) and Yedrek (the only male), Izabela, Joanna, Mafda and Aleksandra. After putting away a couple of small bottles, several of them went clubbing and I typed up this blog for YOU! Hope you like it.






OTHER PRICES

Inexpensive Hungarian wine - 300 HUF. The 'good shit', triple cost.

Pack of smokes, around 500 HUF.



RAMBLINGS

I'm not sure how common Kahlua is here; they didn't have it in a liquor store I visited. Sad.

I wish to reiterate, get a map before you get to Budapest and study it. This is not at all an easy city to get around in without one.

Steer clear of Hungarian cigarettes. They are pretty foul. Most Hungarians seem to despise them, with at least one exception. The price is also darned close to American cigarettes.

I don't know if tipping is customary in Hungary. I haven't been basically because I am poor as shit. That being said, the waiters and such of restaurants that I repeatedly visit always seem happy to see me. It could be because I treat them like people.

4 comments:

  1. So far so good. I'm waiting till I get to a county I'm going to spend more time in. I may end up getting my tooth pulled in Bosnia.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mariana, Anna & I encountered a huge amount of bikes on the night of Thursday the 28th in Prague (out the front of the restaurant with worst Czech service ever). I wonder if it was related. It made crossing the road an interesting challenge

    ReplyDelete
  3. Pete, do not hate, it was an interesting night and a good story to tell (except i should never tell it as yesterday was a complete failure) (maybe it is a good story to remember). It was noone´s fault, it was funny, I think we had a good time anyway so... They were stressed out, we did not find out why exactly but still.. Also from another point of view it was the best service in Prague ever because they went out to buy oranges just because we asked them to. Twice.

    ReplyDelete

PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia | Michigan | Illinois |

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