A chronicle of Alison and Ron's trip around the world in 2009-2010.

"Not all those who wander are lost"
- Tolkien

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Spicy Food, Crusades, and Serenades

We received a recommendation for some good Indian food so we set out our first night after settling in to our apartment. The blocks were longer than they look on the map and our stomachs growled angrily at us. No food since the early morning on the train and it was nearly 6pm. We found the little restaurant and headed upstairs to the hastily decorated dining area. We ordered with abandon and didn’t consider the 10 dollars worth of naan we were ordering to go along with masalas all around and two giant beers. It was already hot, the semi-circular window pushed open to no apparent avail, so when our food arrived without the familiar creamy red color we realized we were in for something. It was hot hot hot. I mean hotter than Narendra’s wife curry, hot! Ron started sweating immediately and had sad little puppy eyes. It was a long day, and good Indian food was not to be. It was so hot we couldn’t savor it at all, forced to eat as quickly as possible and washing it down with beer so our mouths couldn’t register the flavor.

The bill came and it was hard to grasp at 7000 forint. The currency conversion is crazy and you feel a little rich holding a 20000 bill but really it is only $100. I’m having fun using the Czech crown, Turkish lira, Bulgarian leva, and the Hungarian forint, it’s a lot more interesting than using the Euro everywhere, immediately knowing you are getting overcharged on an overpriced slice of whatever.

Did I mention before, we are slightly obsessed with Mexican food? We’ve been able to shed all of our luxuries from home pretty easily. Except when it comes to the jalapeno pepper and heavenly blend of melted cheeses. We walked all over Budapest for 5 hours on a search, no a crusade for our beloved friend Senior Salsa. Finally limping in to a place called Iguana that we walked by hours before, not noticing, and then trying to find in vain later circling like blind dogs around and around Parliment area of Budapest.

Not totally forsaking Hungarian food, we enjoyed a lovely traditional dinner at Kulacs one night. I had a spicy pumpkin soup and paprikash chicken. Ron had goulash and stuffed cabbage which was sublime. There were morsels in his dish that were very foreign to my taste buds, not that I didn’t enjoy my chicken, it was much more bland than I anticipated considering the heat in other Hungarian dishes.

They had a quartet playing music and I got a personal serenade by an amazing violinist. Afterwards we offered a small tip, they declined but would accept a drink. Four expensive schnapps and chasers later added to our bill, and I felt like Rocky inadvertently buying everyone a round of drinks! C’est la vie, we will learn one of these days or go broke trying.

One other thing on Budapest that I found interesting is that it is named for the two cities across the river Danube that joined into one city back in 1873. The Buda side or west side has the Buda Castle and Citadel and is more residential. The Pest side (pronounced “pesht”) has downtown, the shopping district and the university. We spent all of our time on the Pest side, unless you count crossing a bridge halfway, so maybe we can’t say we’ve been to Budapest?

Do you like my new shirt? After Ron's rip-off he didn't want to wear his new Turkey flag tee so I took it off his hands and after a soak in some bleach, voila! new pink shirt for me!


O September 2, 2009 at 6:19 AM  

The serenade was beautiful. Looks like you two are having a blast...woot woot. Miss you guys!

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