Friday, November 24, 2006

cherry beer

I had another strange Adelaide-esq experience.

Last night I went for a ride up one of the Buda side's hills. At the top, I found a cool view of the city, as I was looking towards it from the north, seeing the profile of Parliament and the castle from an angle I've not seen before. It was about 16:30 and the transition between overcast day and overcast night had begun, providing a grayish moody light over the city. I could still see the outlines of buildings, read unlit advertising billboards and see people getting onto the train. But thanks to the fading light, houses started to light up, the cars in the distance became microscopic fireflies and I watched rows of pinky-orange street lamps flick on across the city. Nice little treat. Things like this can't be captured in a photo, so I didn't even try. After about 15 minutes of watching the light show and before it got too dark, I rode down the side of the hill into the Buda streets. A few near misses later and I arrived at Bambi, the soviet era cafe Vera had introduced me to last time I was in Budapest, where I had arranged to meet Andy and Laurie. I was early, so I found a table ordered a coffee and read my book. Straight after drinking the coffee, a twitch (which has been bugging me for the last couple of weeks), started playing up in my eyes and it was then I decided to lay off coffee for a while.

It's weird.

When I quit my job and started uni in 2003, I didn't drink that much booze or coffee. As the work load increased, so did the coffee intake. And as I was doing the uni thing for the first time, beer had found itself elevated into the "regular things I did" category. After what I would call a fairly traumatic caffeine withdrawal episode in early 2004 (where I had signed up for one of those CMAX medical trials and had to go cold turkey for a few days, waking up on the second day without coffee feeling like absolute shit), I gave up coffee for almost a year. And as booze was something I seem to only enjoy occasionally, I reduced my intake of that too. I would go to gigs and order cranberry juice instead of beer, drink tea instead of coffee and was declared "no fun" by a couple of people simply because I didn't drink the same thing they did. But come 2005-06, the caffeine and alcohol uptake slowly increased, visits to Cibo were a daily ritural and since travelling, I think I've drank more booze in the last 5 months than I have in past two yearback at home. Normally I only like getting drunk under failry specific conditions, and while coffee lifts me up, it slams me into the ground later in the day.
Time to wind back me thinks. But back to the cafe.

I met Andy and Laurie, and we drank hot wine (already lapsing, I'm hopeless), ate sausage and shared cake. We then went back to the flat, dropped our stuff and headed over to Szimpla for a few quite ones. There I ran into Jodi - a New Zealander I met a Sziget in August - and she said she had only emailed me an hour before to see if I was still in Budapest. She spent the next 20 minutes sitting in the corner with a bit of a stunned expression on her face. Jodi and her Hungarian friend (sorry, I have no idea how to spell your name), took the Americans and I to a little hidden bar around the corner from Szimpla where old lounge chairs and cherry beer were all the go. After about an hour of being there, an American couple walked in and we struck a conversation. They had visited Australia and without being prompted, waxed lyrical about how much they enjoyed Adelaide, rating it above Sydney and Melbourne based on weather, culture, vibe, the markets, wine and just all round loveliness. Aww..

Today, Andy and Laurie have gone to Rome for the weekend. Rather than inviting a bunch of random Hungarians over for a unauthorised house party, I'm catching a bus to Esztergom to hang out with photo buddy Marcel for a couple of days.

My time in Hungary is coming to a close :(

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