Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Good, The Bad and the Weird News

Bad news
Lost my camera. I went and bought stuff at a shop, put the groceries in my backpack, the camera on top of the groceries and closed the bag. I returned back to where I'm staying and found my bag was slightly open, with the camera and a banana AWOL. Arse.

Good news
I have insurance, so I will be able to get something new and shiny. Camera that is. I haven't seen many shiny bananas lately. I had just cleaned the card of the days photos and my 50mm is still safe. This has also put me in the situation where I am forced to use the video camera more than just the occasional shot of my bike, which I have taken on. Plus I've been offered the loan of another camera until I can get a replacement. While reporting the loss to the police, I met another Aussie in the police station who had also just lost his camera.

Weird news
In the police station, Richard (the other Australian), and I got talking to an old Hungarian lady who spoke pretty good English. She told us about how Jesus spoke to her in a Russian prision cell back in 1951, how the Jews can be blamed for all the bad things in the world (even the Holocaust), that the gypsies are theiving bastards and how nobody really understands her. Refreshing stuff.

I went to the "Chinese markets" here in Budapest. Run mostly by Vietnamese, Thai and Turkish, with a smattering of Hungarian and Romanian. It isn't exactly Chinese, but most of the crap sold there is. These markets are bigger than any of the places I visited in China, taking up two large blocks of old soviet factories and rail yards along opposites sides of one of the main roads out of Budapest. One side is made up of 6 huge warehouses and the other is a 1km stretch of Shopping Shanty town constructed from shipping containers and tents. While browsing the markets, I got the feeling that cheap plastic stuff was not the only gear being sold there. A few observations the sketchy goings on at the market: 1. What at first looked like a friendly hug between two friends greeting each other, was (when viewed close enough), revealed a slide of hand exchange between internal jacket pockets. 2. A group of big guys, standing around two guys sitting down, smoking a water pipe and holding a bag. The bag was filled with a 20cm thick wad of bills, ranging from USD, Euro, GBP, FRT. No exaggeration, he was holding around $150,000 in cash. It was the most amount of money I've seen outside of a bank. I figured I might get a surreptitious video of their jovial conversation, but as I was un-slinging my bag to set up the shot, I caught sight of the two guns hanging inside one of the big dude's jackets. No video taking from the tourist closest to you. 3. There were several second hand mobile phone stalls, which consisted of the usual ratty old phones, with brand spankers hidden in amongst them. One that stuck out was this Nokia I had never seen before, and on closer inspection found the sticker behind the battery indicating it was a prototype, it had been made in Finland and that it was not to be resold. I found another stall with the same model and assumed they were fake. I fired this one up, and it worked fine. I checked on the net later on, and it was a real phone, just not scheduled for release until sometime next year.

The warehouse section of the markets bore more resemblance to a fortified bikie compound than a market place for cheap plastic toys. Cameras everywhere, big dudes with CBs on all corners and a continual stream of nondescript white delivery vans coming and going. Looking for the loo, I wandered around the back of the main shopping building and caught a glimpses of the staff car park, in one of the warehouses situated behind. Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Ferrari, Hummer, etc.. Hmm.. I'm guessing these aren't bought with the profits of Nike ripoffs, mobile phone covers and yiros.

I did pick up a soldering iron and solder for 500 Frt ($3.70) and managed to fix my wifi finder with it. Sweet.

Other news
Saying goodbye to a bunch of Hugarians I've been hanging out with has been difficult. I need to keep my promise to them (and myself), to come back.

The Budapest baths are still awesome.

Andy and I, being the nerds we are, sat down for a couple of hours the other night and put together an Instructables on the cigarette box flash diffuser thing-a-ma-jig.

Not sure what to buy people for Christmas. Seeing I think the whole idea of it is a joke, maybe some little souvenirs. Hope you're happy with your coal.. Bah Humbug.

My mum sent me a brief family history and I find out my great, great grandfather was killed by a piano falling on him, in London, 1896. Comedy does run in my family.

1 comment:

Jo said...

Bummer little Mung Beanie - I suppose Gypsies steal more than just horses......