… or at least Budapest was. Heading to the end of the city, to catch a ride to Vienna.
Hello people and peopettes.
The strangest thing so far is that I never felt hungry. Even though for the last two days Nemere from Budapest took really good care of that, before, in the days heading and then coming from Bulgaria and getting to Hungary, I barely ate. And didn’t even feel the need to. Actually, the two times I ate, I only did it because I knew that the whole thing didn’t sound right. Usually when I’m at home I can’t stop stuffing my face with anything I can find.
Second strangest thing was this stray dog that I saw in a public transport bus, back in Oradea. It wasn’t anybody’s. It just sat there. And no one seemed to be surprised about it.
So after I arrived in Budapest yesterday, I finally got around to buying a charger for my phone, so my parents can get hold of me if they start freaking out. And they did. Several times. And haven’t stopped since.
Besides that, I haven’t had any other expenses, except a metro ticket for getting to the center of Budapest (no one knows any directions on foot, I could go around in circles for days without anybody having the faintest clue to how I should get anywhere) and I’m now down to 3500 Hungarian forints (about 30 euro, I think, I don’t know for sure).
I met with Nemere Kerezsi (his site is kthm.org) at the crossing of Andrassy and Bajza streets. Nemere is a friend of a work colleague from Cluj (thanks, Ducu). Nemere has some experience with no-budget travelling and has rafted down-stream on Olt river in Romania, on a car tire. So he’s qualified. Through him I met Dabi Istvan (and one of many girlfriends – Edith; it’s complicated!) and Tamas St. Auby, who are all artists here in Budapest. They make art. Don’t ask me what that is, I’m not an artsy person. Tamas is also a teacher and has a thing for fine booze, witch he kindly shared with me.
We went into an old family-like restaurant, called Aradi Kisvendeglo, somewhere around Octagon Square. We then left to to visit Csaba, an actor friend of Nemere and Dabi. Dabi has no sense of direction and we got lost in his city for about 5 times, first on the subway, where we got off one station too late, 3 times while he was trying to find his car… next to where he lives and then one more time trying to find his best friend’s house. He also matches his shirts to his car interior.
Late in the night (obviously), Csaba served us the best potato soup I ever tasted. We had some beers and then I tried to trick Dabi’s shirt off of him (an appendix to my trip is trying to smuggle as many shirts from people as I can get my hands on).
I slept at Nemere’s place and got a chance to wash my worn clothes. It’s also the first time I’ve seen a bed since leaving.
In the morning we had bab-gulas and pozsonyi kacka (a kind of varga-beles cake), at Jozsef Attila Center, a writers association next to Nemere’s place.
Then Nemere showed me a country he build for himself out of mud, in the yard of an organisation related to the University. I asked if the University officials didn’t expect him to take it down and his reply was: “You mean tear a country apart just like that?” I guess you can’t argue with that.
Nemere has an exposition to organize and I had a lot of walking to do, so we parted and I started on foot towards Kosuth Ter (market), which is one of the most visited areas in Budapest where they have the… bridge everyone likes to cross and the Parliament and a popular pedestrian street that every foreigner asked me directions to, like I don’t look lost enough.
Oh, by the way: to my despare, I had to leave the scooter behind (when I crossed Cluj from Bulgaria to Hungary). It was almost breaking down and I kinda had the feeling I had less chances of people picking me up when they some with with something dirty and with wheels next to me, on the side of the road. Although, on the other hand, it could’ve been a sympathetic element. Even so, it was pretty hard carrying around (even though sometimes it carried me). On my way I’ll be considering getting a new one (that’s not on the brink of disintegration), from one of the cities I go through. I don’t know how I’ll manage that, but I’ll figure out a way.
[I've uploaded the movie in a .flv format to YouTube, I hope it'll work fine, after it's indexed]
Also, I’d like to thank iStyle Apple Store on Andrassy street, for letting me stay there while editing. And the University of Arts, for letting me using their computers in several of their facility buildings. Through dear ol’ Nemere, of course. And to the nice girls in Budapest, that gave me directions. Specially the pink-haired one, in Octagon Square.
Trivia: Everybody in Budapest has a can of beer on him (or her!), in the street, at all times.
[Later edit] Me and truck driver Petre passed Vienna without stopping, slept near Rogensburg and are now heading far West, trying to outrun Sunday’s truck restriction, to Calais, France. This message sent via phone, will update asap.