Saturday, 7 September 2002

Beating the Beggar in Budapest


How are you?

I'm writing to you from Budapest, the capital of Hungary. I arrived here yesterday after a 36-hour coach journey from York.

I'm in Budapest for just a few more hours and then I catch a train to Cluj-Napoca in Romania where I'll be meeting five strangers. I'll spend ten days in Cluj and then head back to Budapest before setting off on 18 September for that country I know so well - Belarus!

I could tell you why I'm meeting four strangers in Cluj-Napoca tomorrow. I could even tell you what I'm doing in Budapest today. But then, of course, I would have to kill you. So, for the time being at least, it will have to remain a closely guarded secret...

What I can tell you is that I love Budapest and I have really missed the people of Eastern Europe. It's funny, but Budapest is very similar in many ways to Minsk in Belarus, with an identical Metro system and lots of beautiful faces and friendly young people.

Last night I stayed in a funny little hostel called the Museum Guest House. It's where I'm writing to you from now. It cost me 2,500 Hungarian forintz to stay here which is about six pounds.

The Museum Guest House has got to be the smallest hostel I've ever seen! It has just a few beds here and there, a couple of settees and some mattresses strewn across the floor. I think that this is the closest that you can come to actually paying to be homeless!

I was treated to an all over body massage this morning! I had to strip down to my underpants in front of a room full of strangers - which was rather interesting - but it was well worth it!

The massage was very nice, very relaxing - and I'm not just saying that because the woman who gave it to me might one day read this entry! The massage set me back 2,100 forintz.

Unfortunately, my all over body massage didn't include the two parts of my body that I wanted massaged most! But never mind. Someone else will do that for me!

On the subject of naked bodies, I awoke in the early hours last night to find that all of the people in my room had decided on the spur of the moment to have an orgy. They were all naked and in various positions, some of which just didn't seem possible.

It was very interesting to watch and - oh. Wait. That didn't happen. It was just a fantasy I had while enjoying my massage. Oh! The fine line between fantasy and reality becomes ever more blurred!

It was lovely to sleep in a bed last night after spending 36 hours curled into a ball and trying to sleep on the seat of a Eurolines coach.

The only thing about sleeping in a dormitory is that it makes indulging in a man's favourite hobby a real problem, especially when you're sleeping on the top of a bunk-bed and the slightest, smallest movement sends vibrations through the whole bed!

Ha ha! Oh, come on! Don't look so shocked! It's perfectly natural and just about everybody does it from time to time. Even YOU!

Soooo. Anyways. Leaving York was sad. After spending eleven months as a resident of York, it was sad for me to leave that magical little city behind.

I've never before lived in a city where I've made so many friends and met so many decent people. True, I did meet some bastards, but the people who became my friends were great. And, as each one left, I met somebody else who became my friend.

So, a big mention to all my York friends:

Urko, Roberto, Cesar, Andrew, David Shakespeare, Dana, a little boy called Jake who I met when he was a patient at York hospital, Chris, Shaun, Eileen and, finally, a huge mention to the sweetest girl I've met in years, Kimberley Dryden!

I only met Kimberley just a few weeks before I left York and yet she quickly became one of the best friends I have ever made. She is wonderful, pretty, sweet, extremely fragile, delicate, sensitive and utterly unaware that she possesses all of these qualities.

I have truly never met anyone that I feel so protective towards. Kimberly is not well and, to be painfully honest, she may not be alive in a few years' time. I have only been away from her for three days and already I am worrying about her.

I will never forget her or any of the friends I made in York. I will always look back upon my days in that city as days of wonder, filled with magic, laughter and romance, where I was able to enjoy the sort of life that I was deprived of in my early youth.

So, it's a sweet goodbye to York. For now...

And it's goodbye from me, too. Romania awaits. I have to buy my ticket for the overnight train that will take me to new cities, new people and new situations. I just hope that I can find somewhere to sleep on the train other than a squeaky bunk-bed!

Thanks for reading this. Take care.

From the memory box of a Professional Englishman.

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London, ENGLAND, United Kingdom
This is me. Read a few entries and they will tell you more about me than I can fit into these few paragraphs. Many of these entries started their lives as mass emails. That was before I discovered blogs. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for visiting my blog and reading about my life. Both a work in progress.