Sunday, October 22, 2006

The little squirrel inside

Tomorrow is the 23rd of October, the 50 year anniversary of the Hungarian revolt against the Russians. It’s been interesting to see how the current political situation here has mixed with the events of the past. The opposing right wing government has been playing up the anti-Soviet sentiment that resurfaces around this anniversary and directed it towards the lefty government. The current lefty government has been is a bit of deep poo for the last month or so, with protests occurring every day outside parliament. Now that this 50-year thing has rolled around, the city has asked for the protesters to take a break for a couple of days so that the official celebrations can be held there. Trouble is, the more hard line protesters have refused to move, so the police have threatened to forcibly remove anyone who isn’t supposed to be there. Last time they tried to forcibly remove people, there were riots for a few days. The locals I’ve spoke to aren’t sure what will happen, but I guess I’ll find out tomorrow.

Vera has a theory that we all have a squirrel inside our heads, which is responsible for the little voice that keeps chattering away to us while we are trying to sleep or concentrate on more important things. When the squirrel is tired, we can rest. When the squirrel is running around the place, we’re crazy. When the squirrel is dead, we have a reprieve.. Until another squirrel takes up the vacancy. Each time Vera mentions that her squirrel is dead, I roll up my hands, poke out my tongue and make a face like I’m dead. I think I’m starting to agree with her. While travelling I have found a new internal headspace where my squirrel and I play cards, smoke hand rolled cigarettes, drink coffee and talk about all things fucked up in my world. The great part is that when my squirrel gets to talkative, I can go for a ride up a hill and make it sleep for a while. It’s a curious time for me. But it is cool to do this internalising while travelling. I’m seeing new things, tasting new foods and learning about European history through the lives of the interesting people I’m meeting. I can contrast the events in my life with others around me and somehow relate better with them. My squirrel says to me; “wow.. these people may use ‘seeya’ to say hello and ‘hello’ to say goodbye, but they still have messy break-ups and dodgy dads.” – I’ve said this before, but aside from the superficial differences like language, culture, religion and food, people everywhere are the same. I spoke with Joli, my host in Komarno about this and came up with six words that can describe the necessities in life: Live, laugh, love, learn, listen, look. Funnily enough, they all start with “L”, and when I suggested this concept to a British guy I met the other night, he added “Lesbians” to the list.

As of yesterday, I’ve moved from Vera’s to another host, which is just around the corner. It’s not that anything bad has happened, but with a single room apartment, a new gentleman caller and already one week on the couch under her loft bed, it was time to give her back her apartment. However, I will be returning to have dinner with Vera sometime this week for some more tasty Hungarian food with a funny name. I’m now staying with an American couple, with Laurie studying
business here in Budapest and Andy working as a programmer over the net with a company back in California. They are really chilled out and speak English as a first language. Plus Andy has one of the new fangled MacBook Pros, which runs Windows and OSX. Tonight we’ve been cooking toad in the hole, talking tech, drinking hot spiced wine and playing old Nintendo games (Zelda & Rock n Roll Racing).

I've seen two nasty accidents in as many days. The first was while I was having lunch, and this guy walked past the window wheeling his bike on its back wheel, sporting a 90 degree buckle in the front rim, a rather nasty looking broken nose and bloody bits of skin hanging from his hands. The second was last night about 1am with a motorcycle and a car. It happened about 20 metres from where I was standing, and I ran over to see if I could help. All the fancy plastic bits of the bike had been ripped off and the rest of the bike was laying on its side, with the engine still running flat out. The guys head and back were ok, but one of his legs was pretty messed up. The cops and ambos were there within a couple of minutes, so it gives me faith that even though riding through Budapest is dangerous, help will arrive quickly.

In short:

Lots of bike riding through the city is good for the soul.
I was bumbed that I missed it in Vienna, but The World Press Photo Exhibition is also here in Budapest. West Balkan bar is super. I remembered I know a kiwi who lives here in Budapest, but she's in Poland at the moment so no hanging out for us. Happiness is not a happy movie. What the fuck is going on with Lost? S03E03 is nutty like a picnic bar.

Time is getting away from me.
If I want to return to Vienna and see my Austria peeps before leaving the mainland, I'm going to have to reasses (again), where I'm going by bike before xmas. And should I store Frankenbike and trailer somewhere, or should I release them back into the wild?

4 comments:

gubi said...

Yeah - the world press photo exhibition is very nice.
Not the aesthetic or sharpness of a picture is important there - it's the story behind.
Interesting to learn that.
(But there are some very awesome pictures too).

(I was also at the Giger-exhibition ;))

Notify me, when you're back in vienna - I'm currently there 2 or 3 times a week... maybe we can meet for a coffee ;)
I hope you got your pics from the server.

Enjoy Hungary!
best regards!
gubi

Anonymous said...

You are welcome at the bestest in Austria, see you soon!

tartine said...

lets add another L word shall we - 'leave' That's what i like to do when things get tricksy/genocidal (but i usually leturn).
oh and lech is potentially good too (it's like sketch but more...er...lecherous)

Anonymous said...

Happiness is the most disturbing movie i have ever seen! Enough said.

Jules