Mandragera

Trip Start May 31, 2007
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Trip End May 20, 2008


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Flag of Hungary  ,
Saturday, September 1, 2007

Took a long but uneventful train ride from Prague to Budapest today after a teary goodbye to my mom who also left to go home to Long Beach.  Comfy 2nd class seats on the train.  Sat next to and across from two older German women who kept having a conversation with me in German...even after we clearly established that we didn't speak each other's language!  I would hear....German then USA then some more German then San Francisco...etc.  I am used to hearing most young Germans speak some English so these ladies might have been from the East?   I was all prepared for gypsy hustlers and dodgy hostel scammers but must have had my "don't 3$@! with me" face on, because they stayed away.  I was waiting with some Aussies on the tracks in Prague and this young woman came up to us speaking a couple of different languages trying to get us to buy her a train ticket.  One of the Aussies gave here some change but she was persistent.  Once she figured out we didn't have any money then she moved on to cigarettes and more.  Finally, I said..."Look, we aren't a supermarket" which got her attention and she moved on. 

My initial impression of the people in Budapest is very good.  Very friendly and willing to help me get to my hostel, the Mandragera....a cool smallish asian decorated place near downtown.  I felt like I was stepping into Kabuki Springs minus the baths...very relaxing. There was an older man in bad shape on the tram who must have been drunk who fell off his chair just as I got on.  I watched as a young man picked him up, a young woman gave up her chair so he could put the man in it and then they both hovered around him to make sure he was ok.  It was really touching...makes me think of the many homeless in San Fran who are passed out on the sidewalks and all we do is walk past....  perhaps it is our frequent encounters with fraudsters and those trying to take advantage, but I feel like a bit of our humanity has been chipped away. 

Tomorrow I move to another hotel nearby to start my Eastern European Tour which ends in Istanbul...again!
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