Wednesday, December 12, 2007

First taste of Eastern Europe - Budapest

After the abismal world cup quarter final i jumped on a flight to Hungary. The purpose of my mission was to watch one of my favourite bands (called Muse) play. I owed it to them, since they helped me get through Pakistan.

I arrived in Budapest at at 1am (budget flights are always delayed, this was no exception). Its becoming clear to me why these 'budget airlines' are cheap, its because they suck, and they arrive at times where you have to catch taxis because public transport is no longer operating, therefore you really don't save much money at all.

Buses had finished... Only overpriced taxis, whom were overtly involved in price fixing (agreeing between each other on price). this is illegal in nz, i had to make a decision based on principle, and told them with my body language where to go with their monopolist behaviour.

So i got out my mattress and sleeping bag and set up my 'bed' on the floor at the airport until the buses started at 5am. It was comfy and quiet, so i feel asleep pretty quick. While i was sleeping, this asshole tried to rob me, but i had locked my bag to my guitar right next to my head. Its hard to steal a bag that is attached to a guitar, it acts as an alarm, its so loud. He was spotted, in the act, by a bunch of cool israelis that i had met earlier, whom were also 'sleeping' at the airport. He was escorted away by the Police not long afterwards.

I then experienced the Hungarian public transport at 5am. THis was a rather depressing, but enlightening experience. I quietly observed people going about their lives, with glum looks on their faces. I felt like i was an extra in a black and white movie based in the former soviet union.

Muse was an amazing concert, totally worth the effort. Budapest was ok too. It had many nice buildings, but overall it wasn't really my cup of tea. Didn't quite have the same impact as some of the other former soviet cities i have visited. However, i must admit i wasn't really in the mood for visiting cities at this stage, and it wasn't the best place to travel alone. These factors may have tainted my experience somewhat.