At last Helen joins me. She arrived on Friday 7th to start her new life here in Budapest, not a little apprehensive about the changes in her life ahead. Not having to get off to a job every day, no personal income, plenty of time to practice yoga, an incomprehensible language, and lots more positive and negative factors!
Our first task has been to find somewhere new to live. My current apartment is very comfortable but we really want an extra room to accommodate the visitors we hope to have. So during the first week Helen went off with several different estate agents to see what they had to offer. Funnily enough, however much you have to spend, the place you want is always that bit more expensive than you can afford. Never understood that one.
We saw living in Budapest as a chance to enjoy some new cultural experiences and it’s not been bad so far.
A local listings magazine organises fortnightly screenings of significant Hungarian films with English subtitles, and we went to see one of the, The Czukor Show, last week. It’s about a daytime TV show like Jerry Springer that seeks to ‘throw light’ on human relationships, and was very good. I was interested to hear that about 4 million Hungarians watch these shows. A phenomenon I have never come to terms with personally.
Then we had an office party to attend. My staff association had rented out a boat on the Danube for the evening, so we went along not quite knowing what it would be like. Anyway, it had a bar and a dancefloor, and by 8 it was jumping. With us being an international organisation there are lots of people who like talking and dancing so throughout the evening the floor was packed, dancing to African, Latin, Motown, R&B, pop and random other sounds.
We wobbled up the gangway at midnight with light heads and sore knees from over-enthusiastically dancing the Twist, amongst other tunes. Personally, I think that's a pretty good outcome for an office party.
What’s on this week? Well, some experimental theatre about King Arthur one evening, a collaboration between a chamber orchestra and a klezmer band another evening and Zap Mama on another. Phew.
And during the day Helen will doubtless be whizzing around on her new bike. We bought one yesterday and today enjoyed exploring possible apartment locations in the warm sunshine. Buda is like Sheffield, full of hills, but Pest is flat, flat, flat. We cruised around all over and ended up enjoying several beers in Szabadsag Square, watching the people around us walking, talking and schmoozing. Pretty cool.