Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July in Budapest

Emily and my first 4th of Julyin Budapest has been eventful. It started out with the US embassy here deciding to host the official 4th of July on Canada Day. I had the honor of being chosen for crowd control. I was in charge of telling people to not wait in line and greet the embassador but to have free Hagen Dazs compliments of the American tax payer. Starbucks and McDonalds were also there to give away free Frapachinos and Big Macs. The highlight for me was getting a picture with the Ambassador and the Hungarian prime minister in front of the Starbucks tent.

The next day started our two day attempt to cross the border into Croatia to camp at a world heritage site. We got to the Croatian border and the Hungarian guards asked for our passports which we happily produced. They said there was no record of us entering Hungary our passports, which is true because we entered in with our diplomatic passports. Basically, they said that they could not let us leave because they had no record of us arriving in Hungary. I choose not to point out the hole in their logic and was glad they did not choose to detain us. Calling the Embassy and saying "I know I didn't do a great job of shortening the line for the embassador, but could you drive 3 hours and get us out of jail?". So we drove back to Budapest determined to get up early the next day and try again. Unfortunetly, fate had other plans for us. We got on the road about 8am towards Croatia and found bumper to bumper traffic out of Budapest. Everyone and their pet goat (they don't actually have goats for pets here) decided to drive to lake Ballaton, the Hungarian equvilent to spending a weekend at the beach. It took us an hour to go 5 miles when we discovered that we were painfully low on gas. We pulled of at the next gas station to fill up our Skoda rental (yeah, I don't know where Skoda cars are made either). We filled up and then proceeded to wait in line for the WC ( that's bathroom in European speak) because we were not the only ones to take a break from the Ballaton gridlock. The funny part is they charge for the opportunity to relieve yourself, but toliet paper us not included. Once we get back on the road, no joke less than 10 minutes and 25 feet later our Skodamobile overheats. It was was spewing steam out of the hood. We pull over, pop the hood, and realize this car had seen better days. The engine is filthy and probably never has been maintained. Three hours later to tow truck arrived because they too had to brave the traffic. At some point during our wait with the blazing heat, smell of gasoline, and the roar of cars whizzing past us we decided this trip was not meant to be. The funny part was that Hertz did end up giving us a new car but was actually smaller than our first one which was not "large" by any international standard. We did end up making it back to our Apartment, but not before I got a ticket on the light rail for not having my monthly pass on me. On a positive note we got to see Germany route Argentina and we finally got the hang of using our pizza stone. We made some of the best thin crust to date. Now we are relaxing next to one of the many Hungarian public pools (they call them baths which weirds me out... Please don't come to a public pool in need of a shower). This particular complex has 11 pools and is located on the big island on the Danube (just a 10 min bike ride from our apt). Here is a shot of something you don't see I'm the US, we call it Pool Ball Boy. They zip you in, blow up the ball and send you on your merry way.

Thanks for reading, Happy 4th of July!


Location:Hajós Alfréd sétány,Budapest,Hungary

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