Sunday, 1 August 2010

Hungary #3 - adventure

This post details the events that occurred in the hours of July 30th that were not covered by my last post.

Conversation following my arrival at Simon's flat enlightened me to the fact that he'd lost his passport on his return train from Serbia, and the guys' plan for the rest of the day was to go to the train and police stations and the British embassy to hopefully resolve the situation. First point of business, however, was the acquisition of food. As is usually (although regrettably) the case when I arrive in a new country and am presented with the opportunity to sample traditional local cuisine, I resorted to Western junk food. In this case, Burger King.

Note - it's not that I'm unwilling to try traditional local cuisine, just that I'm a frugal traveller (not always out of choice) and Western junk food is usually the cheapest option. Burger King provided me with two cheeseburgers for 400F (Forint) for example, which works out at around £1.20. (My formula for working out Forint (F) to Sterling (S) is S≈((F/100)/3)-10%)

After sustenance was gained, we walked to the nearest bus stop, looked for awaiting ticket inspectors, saw none, and boarded the first bus sans ticket. I don't really condone this sort of behaviour usually but aforementioned frugality combined with peer pressure let me do it just this once (honestly just this once). The bus took us several hundred metres up the road and past several stops where we had to look for any boarding inspectors (so we could alight if any came) to Keleti Station.

This is Budapest's main station and is typical of the buildings here (from what I can tell) in that it looks fairly grand on the outside but could really do with some work on the inside. It looked really Soviet and cool though - old trains, low tracks and a really high ceiling. Simon went to the lost and found office, was told it was closed, then to the information office who were unable to provide anything useful. A guard gave us directions to a nearby train station, so we headed in that direction.

A short walk through gypsy town (not its real name) led us to the conclusion that the directions provided to us were incorrect, so we bought some water from a petrol station (it's REALLY hot here) and headed to the nearest Metro station to save walking alllll the way back. (Just for the record we bought tickets legitimately here.)

The Metro took us from Stadionok to Deák Tér, then thirst took us to Gödör where we consumed beer from tankards (although we decided not to quaff) and consulted Google Maps (on Simon's nifty iPhone) to find the location of police stations in the vicinity. Two were identified, but both later turned out not to exist, which was frustrating. It was a nice pretence for seeing the city, though!

Eventually we located a tourist-information-office-come-police-station-that-deals-especially-with-enquiries-from-foreigners, and Simon spent around half an hour getting grilled by authorities while the rest of us returned to Gödör. Apparently Serbia is one of the worst countries for illegal passport transactions, and when Simon disclosed that he "lost" it, they were understandably suspicious of the claim. (Not understandably because of Simon, understandably because they have reason to be suspicious of a "lost" passport in Serbia, whoever lost it.)

Aforesaid grilling sparked intense thirst in Simon, so they decided to show me Moloko bar where we would consume cheap beer and play Csocso for most of the evening. (I mentioned both things (beer and Csocso) in my last post so won't go into huge detail.) Several of Simon's Hungarian friends joined us, and we spent a jolly good evening getting gradually more inebriated. I was also introduced to Pálinka, the Hungarian national beverage, although I'm not really sure exactly what it is and apparently it can vary quite a lot. The one I had was 50% volume and tasted of Elderflower.

Lack of sleep and alcohol began to take their toll on me around 1am, so I headed back to the flat and to bed while the guys and Hungarian friends went to a casino. I would have liked to go - they give you free food, drink and cigarettes (although I'm not interested in the latter) to encourage you to continue gambling. A perfect opportunity to play a quick, cheap (500F/£1.50) game of roulette while being inundated with beer and sandwiches.


  1. 50%? I would get fucked on that lol. Such is the weakness of my sex :P

    "gypsy town" made me lol.

    And the most annoying thing that ever happened to me was buying a mega expensive train ticket, only to have nobody check it :(
    I am tempted to go sans ticket next time :D

  2. tbh I got fairly fucked on it.. or maybe it was the 7 pints I consumed beforehand..?

    gypsy town was not lolworthy in RL :p

    I hate it when that happens. I found a £30 train ticket from the airport to London which was *amazing*.

  3. No way! Haha.
    Btw, "starlight" is better than "tick tock".

  4. Jack Conte? Or Muse? haha.