Sunday, November 12, 2006

ferret walking

This would have to be the strangest place I've written a blog entry from. I was sitting outside an apartment building, using an open wifi network when it began to rain. Rather than packing up, I snuck inside and found a little hidey hole under the stairs where I am currently sitting writing this entry.

Imre and Agi were excellent hosts. They opened their home and hearts to me and made me feel really welcome. Long chats over wine and Palinka about Trabbis, Hungarian politics and life in a lake side town with Agi's fantastic cooking made my time on Lake Balaton really enjoyable. Imre's story about driving through the Austrian Alps near Grossglockner in a Trabant, using hollowed out melons filled with snow to cool the breaks as they descended was entertaining. Molnars, thanks for everything.

Thursday was riding day - about 90km from Balatonboglar to Zalaegerszeg. I stopped off in Heviz, the thermal bath town, for lunch around 2pm. With no signs of Smile Lady, I sat and enjoyed a coffee and some pickled chillies at a cafe on the main strip. An old guy with dead eyes, similar to that of the Mafia guy in Russia, kept starring at me while I ate. I met his look, gave him a nod, he nodded back but continued to stare, ignoring all known nod protocol. There was a friendly cat patrolling the cafe floor for scraps, so patted him until the weird guy found some other hapless tourist to stare at. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but all through this trip, I've been getting this feeling that I look like someone off the telly. You know, when you catch someone's eye and their expression says "I know you from somewhere". I had this in Russian, Germany, Austria and Hungary.

I arrived in Zalaegerszeg around 6 and had a couple of hours to kill before meeting up with my new host. I found my way to the centre of town and had a look around. It's a little place, with not much open during the colder months. There was a funky looking three-faced clock which used lights and tones to tell the time. I didn't take the time to see how it worked, but on the hour it played tones which sounded just like an old Casio Tone - After that I navigated my way to Szu's place, and saw a women walking her pet ferret.

I met up with Szu, my new host. She's a totally cool bike loving, photo taking, international student superstar, who reminds me a lot of my good mate Leda back home in Australia. She comes back to Zalaegerszeg every second weekend to stay with her folks (who have been keeping us well fed), and usually lives in the student town of Veszprém (about halfway between Zalaegerszeg and Budapest). Szu is part of an organisation of European students, so she is used to entertaining people from other countries. So far we've ridden to the big telecom tower on the hill (read: pushed bikes up an incredibly steep slope), seen a few local punk bands (including Slovakia sensation "Konflikt"), and have attempted to check out Zalaegerszeg's tourist attractions (such as the village museum), only to find them all closed for the winter.

Tomorrow Szu and I catch a train to Veszprém, where we'll hang out with her friends for a few days.

My computer continues to shit me. I can get the video onto it, but can't get it off. So I am running out of hard drive space quickly. I am seriuosly considering getting one of those fancy new macs, as the guess work and randomness involved with digital video editting in Windows is getting to me. And my wifi detector broke. Arse.


Anonymous said...

Ran into Toop who gave me the link - you're making me jealous of your journeys whilst I sit in yet another office!

Kat Anderson
PS Walking a pet ferret?

Anonymous said...

I just ordered one of the new MacBooks (the ones with the 64-bit Intel Core 2 Duos) for my travels. I'm hoping it lives up to the hype and "just works" publicity.