Feb 2nd Arrived 20 minutes early but with no luggage so I spent 30 minutes on paperwork. No phone number and only a street address no apartment number. so I was a problem. I realized I didn’t even have a phone number for Zsuzsa who was meeting me. Since the luggage area is separated from the waiting area by a wall and a guard I was afraid she would thing there were no more passengers. I was one of only two Heathrow passengers who lost our luggage the other women came from a different LA not Seattle. After driving in the dark through tons of “residential housing” projects looking for my impossible little street we finally found it. The landlords Magdi and Istvan gave me the usual lectures only in Hungarian. Zsuzsa translated roughly – “Don’t plug-up the sink or the toilet, keep it clean and your paying for the gas and electric so suggest you not use too much.” Zsuzsa bought me starter groceries and left me with homemade me Chicken Paprikash with homemade dumplings. I also got starter money 100,000 forints which I am to payback in cash in the same denominations before Ieave Budapest. Pretty nice! I did the math it’s $500.
February 3rd Zsuzsa took me to all the important downtown monuments today and the shopping mall which I think was a bigger than Northtown but hard to compare since the stores are smaller and it is on five floors if you count the Cinema on the top. T-mobile had about 7 sales clerks and it was “take a number” service. I managed to part with quite a few forints for my new cell phone. I think it was $82 and I put an extra $25 in minutes on it. Most fun was when they handed me the 3 pages of fine print cell phone contract in Hungarian and I just shrugged, grinned and signed. Zsuzsa has let me know she is not interested in translating this kind of document for me. When I asked for a cell phone manual in English they had to print out 100 pages on their printer.
It was a great day to be a tourist because the sun was out although it was definitely winter. (They don’t have time and temp. on any corners I saw here.) We saw some large tour groups young Americans and Japanese groups both old and young. There were plenty of people with guidebooks from all countries but the sites were not really at all crowded which I can imagine all these sites will be in another season.