Since moving over 5,000 miles away from everything I knew, I have found most connections to be brief – like me, people are just feathers in the wind. Caught up in a whirlwind of travel dreams, we dance for a time and move on to our next destination. One cannot fight the wind. Most interactions burn bright, but fade fast – clean slates are had by all and most try to define their existence in one take. Continuing interactions between people you share experiences with has its obstacles (distance, etc.), but the transition between someone being a wonderful, fleeting memory into a tangible, lifelong friend can be one of the most greatest things in the human experience. Last weekend the cowboy rode into the city.
A little over three months ago, a few friends (Kate, Elena, Caroline, and Molly) and I had an adventure of a lifetime. We met some of the most selfless, caring individuals on a Slovakian ranch in a town of 18 people. Through a series of unfortunate events (i.e. burglary), our friendship grew. We came to the ranch as guests and left as family. I will not reiterate everything that occurred, but [click here] if you 1) need a refresher 2) are new to my blog 3) want to reread it because you love everything I write? The ranch owner, Bobby, his son, Rado, and Rado’s girlfriend/best translator ever, Maja (pronounciation: My-ya) came to visit me and my friends this past weekend bearing gifts in the shape of wine bottles. We ate, drank, and were merry all weekend.
Each time someone visits me I am surprised by how much I know and don’t know about Budapest. At times my “tours” are a mix of Rick Steves and word vomit and other times they are similar to trees falling in forests (do they even make a noise?). We only had time to walk from Deák Ferenc tér to Batthyány tér, crossing Széchenyi Chain Bridge (Széchenyi lánchíd) in the process. Traditional food like Fisherman’s soup (halászlé) was consumed then it was off to enjoy the nightlife. Unlike my friends who live in studio style apartments, I was able to offer a separate living room to put up our guests for the night [my flat]. Unfortunately I didn’t clean my flat prior to them coming over, so I kept crying about my place smelling like tacos (it didn’t).
I do not write often about the nightlife of Budapest simply because I do not willingly experience it. The bar scene is not my scene, so I am not the one to ask when it comes to “Where should we go out tonight?” question. I can, however, regurgitate other recommendations while tossing in a sentence or two of my own opinions. Our first destination was Szimpla. This ruin pub is the most popular of all and is one of the main nighttime destinations for those new to Budapest. I have photographed Szimpla in the daytime before, and I do have to say that it looks awesome. On Sundays it even turns into a farmers’ market. We eventually tried to go to Instant, another ruin pub. The line was ridiculous, but I didn’t cry because I loathe this place. My friends last year actually gave up Instant for Lent. There is nothing actually wrong with this particular ruin pub, but I think it is overhyped. My friends and I then moved on to a place called Peaches n’ Cream (YES, PEACHES N’ CREAM – cue 112) which was full of “white couches and small dancers.” We did not exactly fit in. My favorite nighttime places are: Szóda and AlterEgo. I have only had fun at those nighttime establishments (minus that one time my friend Hayley tore her ACL, MCL, etc. on the dance floor). AlterEgo puts on great drag shows for all those interested. Anyway, we did not get home until 3:50AM, and I am still suffering from the repercussions of our actions.
The next morning we ate brunch at Most Bisztró, which offers some of the best Sunday I-regret-what-I-did-yesterday-seriously-why-did-I-get-in-so-late-I-hate-the-nightbus meals Budapest provides. We reminisced on our night, ate eggs benedict (highly recommended), and Kate and Molly said their goodbyes. Before leaving, Bobby, Rado, Maja, and I went to one of the malls (West End) to enjoy all that commercialism has to offer. I have the sad ability of being able to map out the entirety of at least three malls in Budapest. Seriously – all three floors of each mall. I am my mother’s child after all.
A picture in The Gap. Well, alright.
I am the only one of “Bobby’s Angels” who is staying in Hungary next year. We said our “see you later(s)” and not “goodbye(s).” Bobby, the smiling cowboy, is trying to arrange a fun weekend at Lake Balaton at the end of the month – for all of our sakes, I hope it happens.
However cynical I can be, I can say without hesitation that there is beauty in humankind. If someone has helped you, thank them and mean it. Keep in touch with the good people in your life. Know when to cut ties. Appreciate life. Step out of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself. Love.
A Lesson From Miss Jennifer: Tight leather, neon lights, and white couches = not for everyone.