Charley just looked down at me from the top bunk and said,
“Nap or read? I’m just so busy right now,” while rolling her eyes for emphasis. We both giggled.
“I’m writing a blog post about that right now,” I told her, as I stood up and crossed the room, headed for the open locker where my most valuable items are locked away while we’re gone. “You inspired me. That doesn’t happen so often.” I smiled back over my shoulder at her, resolving to put on a sweatshirt cause it’s cool in our room despite the intense heat outside. I laid my laptop down on the brown covered couch in our room of six bunkbeds and one queen size that Fati and I are sharing.
“Can it be the title?” she asked me.
“Maybe,” I answered her, pulling the Redskins hoodie I stole from my mom over my ponytail which hangs loosely to the right side of my head, “but it’s definitely the opening line.”
It’s three in the afternoon in Budapest, our first morning in another new city. We’ve been gone for three and a half weeks, but we only just made a shared album on Facebook so we can share photos (I’ll post the link at the bottom). It’s been awhile since we fucked anything major up, like getting caught hopping trains without tickets or missing a connection all together and being stranded at a nowhere train station for the whole night. I dare say we’ve got a good routine figured out.
This morning we all woke up around 9:30, stirring quietly amongst our three suite mates who came in well into the morning, now snoozing, the backs of their heads and various limbs hanging out from underneath each one’s single flat sheet.
We were out of the house a little after ten and headed to a park on the corner of our block, that we’d noticed on the walk from the train station last night. It proved unsuitable for exercise. The only open patches of grass were being watered by a gardener and adorned with signs that I could only assume said “Keep Off Lawn” in Hungarian. The rest of the small park was just a very well designed playground teeming with kids and parents.
So we headed for the National Museum, which appeared to have a lawn on the map our receptionist gave us last night, across one of the major streets in Budapest’s city center. The high metal gate around the building, our rumbling stomachs, and the heat of summer sun cooking the sidewalks below us nearly nixed our workout plans, but we’d finally gotten in a groove and I wasn’t willing to let it go. The girls bucked up and we found a patch of grass and the coolness of shade under a cluster of trees, next to a statue of someone important to Hungarian history.
Doing ankle PT, I wasn’t sure if I’d offend anyone by using his base for calf raises, but I peaked around the ground and decided it was worth the risk. There didn’t seem to be anyone around to offend. An hour later, we’d sweated enough, and went on the hunt for food.
Following the receptionist’s advice, with our map, we headed back towards the hostel and towards the river, passing numerous restaurants with mostly outdoor seating. On the way back, I noticed kebap for 450HUF (about $1.75) and promised to have some later. [Mom, you need to come out here if for nothing less than authentic tsasiki] But now, our hearts were set on breakfast
Approaching the river, our stomachs grumbled the last of our patience out, and Charley resolved to check Google for a market. I stood next to her, pointing out to Fati the shiny ceramic tiles on the massive building across the street from us that were similar to those on the Viennese cathedral. Charley’s map loaded.
The building was market! With various meat and produce and textile vendors through three rows, a loft upstairs, and an Aldi downstairs, we spent the equivalent of 10 bucks on fresh food for breakfast and dinner, and headed back to the hostel to cook. After a plate full of potatoes, peppers, cheese, over easy eggs, and couple pieces of toast, some yogurt and a banana, we were back to ourselves, feeling full and fine.
“This is the life, man,” I said to Charley, as Fati cleaned up our plates. She nodded in agreement. “Why can’t I live my life like this always?”
The three of us brainstormed for a little while before retiring to our room for showers and afternoon naps, not coming to any complete answers.
There’s one thing I do know, though.
I won’t stop until I figure it out.