Saturday, February 19, 2011

Intro to Budapest

It has been almost three weeks. I apologize for having guanned for so long. Since it is already past midnight, I think I'm only gonna write about my first few days here in Budapest. To tell you the truth, nothing noteworthy actually happened. You can skip this post if you want. It only contains one significant statement anyway.

Hungary is a nice place. You should Wiki it. They just got the EU presidency this year. I don't think many Hungarians are actually aware of it. At least the person who picked me up from the airport wasn't aware of it. He was more concerned about wars and oppression in Pakistan. Specifically he asked why some women in Pakistan were forcibly veiled. I had to evade the question. The issue is so complex, it reminds me of A Few Good Men. "You want answers..."

Before reaching my apartment, I was informed about three essential facts about Hungary and Budapest. Here they are, in the words of my escort:
  1. "The drinking age in Hungary is 18. Hungarians love to drink. You should try some good wine here."
  2. "You will soon find out that Hungarian girls are very beautiful/good-looking."
  3. "Your apartment is located in Pest, in District V. It is one of the best areas of the city. Everything is only a few minutes walk away."
Well, as you might've guessed, I was only interested in one of these three facts...

(Quick note: I read somewhere that streets in Budapest look a lot like streets in Amsterdam. I find myself very interested in verifying this claim. Somewhere down the road, I will hopefully find out.)

The guy was right, almost everything in Budapest is quite within walking distance. It reminded me of one of my favorite quotes. Since I didn't know any Hungarian, I was too scared to buy a metro pass for the first week. I also happen to love wandering aimlessly, so it was no surprise that the very first thing I did after unpacking was familiarizing myself with the streets of Pest. By the fourth day, I think I had easily covered 20 miles or so, without getting lost. Not bad in comparison to Cornell, where I got lost on the very first day of orientation!

Okay, I am deliberately skipping a lot of interesting stuff because I want to talk about it in my next post. For now, these soporific statements will have to suffice. And no, it's not 1.

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