Wednesday, April 05, 2006
City of spasz
Budapest. The Danube is flooding, which was a surprise, although it made more sense than "maybe they just don't want any customers on the boat restaraunts and that's why all the walkways are under water" theory which we flaoted for a few hours on our first night. This is a great city, I feel really comfortable here, although that could be due to the ever-lovely Hungarians who work for the walking tours, pub crawls and our great hostel. Tonight we were too knackered to do anything, so we watched Ocean's Eleven on DVD and were given popcorn... so nice. Almost uncomfortable-making nice actually, given how poor this country is compared to it's rich neighbours like Germany.
We went to the very luxurious city spas today, which, when the tour guide asked us to guess what the building was I guessed a palace, look not unlike a Hapsburg royal residence. They had baths ranging from thirty-eight to twenty degrees, in various sizes, some outside and some inside, most from thermal springs. All of Budapest was there, fat old ladies and men, young wolf-whistling Italians and many, many school groups of various European nationalities. It was absolute decadence, and made our swimming pools look kind of lame.
Today I also met my grandmother's second cousin which was nice and awkward and also a bit sad. Not because of her, she was full of life even thought she is pushing eighty five, and she was correcting my German, but because of the wars that marred her life and killed all the people close to her. And everyone else too. On the tour we went on yesterday we had a fabulous feisty young Hungarian woman who said "I love my country but it's a shit country". Apparently next week there are elections, and she and the pub crawl guide were wearing orange to support the democratic party and oust the "corrupt arselicking ex-Soveit party members". They have only had a democracy for under twenty years and even that has been in name only. Agnes, the pub tour guide, was smiling alot with her mouth but not with her eyes as she told us how only those who had never experienced freedom knew its value. As I meet more and more young Aussies and Americans I begin to believe it.
On the tour last night there were four young American girls- one of whom was a Valley girl "I just can't deal with backpacking- I mean, sharing with other people, ew."- and three young Australian guys, one of whom told me he was going to Turkey and when I asked why he looked at me and said in serious tones, "for Anzac Day". Oh right, yeah. I thought he was going to ask me if I really was Aussie when I then asked when exactly that was. Needless to say the two groups weren't going to result in any romances. And does this mark the second time that I was scared- really scared- to discuss Anzac Day with a young Australian bloke? I have the feeling this is a trend likely to continue. Neither group really seemed to understand freedom, unless it was the freedom to be a fucking moron.