Sunday, May 23, 2010

A little bit of Buda and a little bit of Pest (Pescht)

Sorry for the complete lack of warning that I wouldn’t have internet over the weekend.  I don’t even bring my laptop with me on our weekend excursions, but I wouldn’t have internet either way.

So Budapest, Hungary was quite an adventure.  This blog might take awhile.  You have been warned.  And thanks, Andy, for the suggestion of Windows Writer – I’m having my first go at it.

I guess the bus trip should be the start.  It took forever.  But did I mention that we drive around in a MERCEDES BENZ BUS!?!!?!?!?!

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Be jealous.  Anyway, we still were in the bus for way too long.  We later learned that there had been severe flooding that closed a large chunk of the Autobahn, forcing through some Hungarian back country towns.  Hungary, though bordering Austria, definitely feels more Eastern European than Central.  That and the language is really weird looking and useless since no one else speaks it.  Because of the delay, we stopped for “lunch” at a gas station in Hungary, but none of us had converted money to the Hungarian Florint yet, so they let us pay in Euros.  BUT it was a big giant rip off because they charged everyone either 5 or 10 Euros, depending on how many items they got.  I had a snack sized bag of chips and a powerade, 5 Euro (roughly $7.50).  So that was a fun story.

A million hours later, when we finally got to Budapest, the first thing you see is a bunch of run down, war-torn, Soviet-style apartments that are still being used.  One guy joked that he could make a killing opening up a paint and plaster store in Budapest.

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After the lecture and checking in to our hotel (which it turned out like half of the student and professors were staying in), we walked around a bit and then headed to dinner.  Prof. Lanier suggested a place and made a reservation for all of us interested.  It was a cool place with a live gypsy band and pretty decent food. 

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It’s great to get suggestions from professors because they’ve been there before, they know what’s good, what’s safe, etc.  However, a professor’s budget and a student’s budget are quite different.  I had a delightful time, but that one meal wiped out a little over 1/3 of my budget for the entire weekend.  Good thing I’m good at being thrifty.  Plus, look how rich I am in Hungary:

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Okay, end of day Friday.  I’m going to unpack a little before I start again with Saturday.

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