Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Another Time, Another Place

I'm in warts 'n all mode so bare with me.

First thing to get out of the way is my apology to Dublin Airport - automatic check in kiosks so I had my boarding pass within three minutes of going in the door despite the Friday crowds; through security in a couple of minutes (even with my belt and shoes off) because they appear to have quadrupled the security staff; and through baggage claim last night within 15 minutes of landing. Sorry lads, I thought that level of efficiency was reserved for protestants!...

There's a big open air club in Budapest called Rio. It starts to fill around midnight (virtually all the bars in the city seem to close by 12) and stays open 'til dawn. Anyway the place was packed - there was a couple of thousand there easily, and we were sitting back and admiring the views. There were six of us in the end - my mate Steph has a German friend called Dennis who joined us, and then never stopped talking pure shite all weekend ("I am so vell known fur mein dancing in ze clubs of Beh-lin dat ven I enter ze floor ze spotlight shines on me..." is one of the more printable pieces of crap he came out with). At the end of the night we got split up and three of us made it back to the apartment only to find that the other three, including the only guy with a key, had decided to try and find a strip-bar. So, while we were waiting for those muppets, I fell asleep on the pavement in someones doorway and then the other two, Steph and the German, buggered off. I was shaken awake by the first three at about 8am, when they finally got back, and woke up to people stepping over my sprawled frame as they were going about their business. The other two only arrived later and there was an argument about who were worse - the first three for buggering off with the only key or the other two for leaving me asleep in a doorway. For good measure I had the mother of all headaches all day Saturday.

On Saturday evening it was mission hunt the Ireland match and we found an Irish pub showing it. There was a huge crowd of Israelis and local Jews there to watch the game as well as the standard paddys abroad. To say that the game ended in huge disappointment is an understatement. I was in a foul mood for hours afterwards. Y'see I knew I should have given up watching footie last week after the Liverpool miracle because I know I'm unlikely to ever witness such joy again. But I won't and, like I've said before, football has a habit of kicking me in the stones. What added to my black mood was that I was restraining myself from criticising the Israeli team and their cheat of a goalkeeper for fear of appearing anti-Semitic. It's funny, because I remember shouting "He Schweizer! Wo das Nazi Gold ist" at a bunch of Swiss when they screwed us before. Although one of my mates did wonder aloud if we had backed the wrong God. He's an Anglican, though, so we already know he's definitely going to hell!

Back to Rio that night and one of the other lads managed to stick his hand on a broken shard of glass and get a nasty puncture wound in between two fingers. He lost quite a bit of blood and I ended up escorting him while the paramedics carted him off to hospital. Unlike an Irish casualty ward / war zone on a Saturday night, I was the only person in the place for the couple of hours we were there - save for the two policemen who came along to arrest my friend because they'd assumed he was fighting. My (very) basic German and impressions of an idiot cutting his hand convinced them we were OK and they left.

The next night, our last, we were trying to take it easy but, as we were making our way home through the city centre, two girls stopped the German to ask if we knew where Beckett's Irish Bar was. They said they were Hungarian but not from Budapest and were looking for a late night drink. Before those of us with a brain in our head could react we were escorting these girls up the street. All of a sudden one of them said "Oh, here's a traditional Hungarian bar... etc" and in we went. To cut a long story short I knew we were in the process of being ripped off so after one round of beer (six 33 cL bottles of Amstel), one Schnapps and water for the ladies I asked for the bill. This was met with some protest from the German, who thought he and his new Hungarian friend were getting on like a house on fire, but he quickly copped on when our 34,000 HUF (or approx €142) bill was delivered by two blokes built like brick shithouses.

Ah well, you live and learn. Back to work today and it's just like I'd never been away.
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