Sunday, May 18, 2008

developing an irrational fear of vampires

what a day. im not the superstitutionous type, but i will admit that yesterday was full of enough bad omens to put me in a grumpy mood.

bad omen 1. we missed our awesome bus to budapest because it was sold out (this bus had free drinks, snacks, movies on board, and cost less than 5 dollars). instead we had to take a much less cool bus with no such freebies at the pricey cost of 25 dollars, on a trip that took four hours to go 200 kilometres. boo. plus it left four hours later, so since we were stranded in bratislava with no money, we killed some time trying to sleep on a park bench by the river danube.

bad omen 2. because we were hungry with no lunch, annie and i scraped together our last coins to get 19 crowns (less than one dollar), which was just enough to buy a bag of chips from the vending machine...which then got stuck in said vending machine. it was heartbreaking.

bad (but amusing) omen 3. on the bus to budapest i met a young swedish sheep shearer who had been on his way to athens for a job. i guess he drank too much the night before, because he woke up in a bush. with his passport gone. i believed his story because he still had dirt and grass all over his shirt. i guess he was having a worse time than me.

bad omen 4. after i arrived in budapest, we began walking toward our hostel, and on our way, an old woman collapse on the sidewalk in front of me quite suddenly. we heard her head hit the cement with a sickening thud and were horrified to see a pool of blood form under her head. the worst part was that i couldnt speak a word of hungarian to see if she was all right, nor did i even know how to call 911. luckily some other passerby was able to call for medical attention.

bad omen 5. the hungarian parliament resembles the castle of Count Dracula. to be sure, it is simply amazing, huge, stunning, and knocks the Canadian Peace Tower into a cocked hat. but it is also a little creepy. it doesnt help that the hostel receptionist greeting us (who was very nice) bore an unfortunate resemblance to some Igor-type mad butler character in an old time horror movie.

despite these misgivings, however, our time in hungary has actually been quite pleasant. for accommodations, annie and i get an entire flat to ourselves. it is bigger than the apartment i live in at home. im talking needlessly high thirteen feet ceilings, and our own bathroom and kitchen. our living room is so big we dont know what to do with it (i have been spending it watching sunday morning cartoons, like Pokemon dubbed in Hungarian). if this is hostel accommodation, i am anxious to see what a hotel would be like.

also, the nightlife is pretty amazing. annie and i went for dinner and drinks with a couple we had met on the bus. one of the subway stations had been converted temporarily into a club, so the clubbing crowd spilled out into the sidewalks. there were more young people hanging out in the parks, all having midnight picnics on the benches and grass, drinking beer openly, looking down at a partially underground square where a big band swing jazz band played music while everyone danced on the floor. it was pretty, well, magical.

right now im hiding out at the main hostel to wait out the crazy thunderstorm. on my way over i passed count draculas palace again...i mean, parliament, and i saw that there were dozens of cop cars and riot squad police out on the streets. i dont know what it is about me that attracts riot-type crowds in each country. anyway, something is brewing out there, and its right on my way home, so i probably ought to wait for that to blow over.

oh, who am i kidding. we all know im going to go check out it.