Friday, 11 November 2011

Knowing your bal from your jobb

One of the curious idiosyncrasies about Hungarian theatres and cinemas is the seat numbering system.

Rows are simple enough, but in most places the individual seats are numbered starting from each end, so that if there are 30 seats in a row there will be a Left 1 through to 15 and a Right 1 through to 15, with the two 15s being beside each other.

Tricky enough, but of course Hungarian tickets are printed in Hungarian and most foreigners have no idea of the difference between 'bal' and 'jobb' (left and right).

So this evening when I went to the Toldi cinema to see a human rights documentary that attracted a lot of expatriates, the time before the film started was filled with people occupying seats, being challenged by other people about being in the wrong seat, people getting up, getting down, moving in and out, muttering darkly about bal and jobb and left and right.

Apart from the language problem, left and right depends on where you are looking from, and to be honest I have no idea how it works. All I am grateful for is that by chance I parked my bottom in the jobb Row 6, Seat 3. Or at least I think I did.

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