Monday, October 27, 2008

nyc > budapest

By Pauly
Budapest, Hungary

I packed fairly quickly on Sunday morning. I grabbed a couple of bagels and a couple of breakfast sandwiches settled in to watch the Jets game with Derek. Lucky for me, I scheduled a car service to pick me up at 4:30pm so I could watch the entire game and then head to the airport. Despite a shitty game, Favre and the Jets managed to win an ugly game. At least I was leaving on a good note.

As soon as I saw my cabbie, I knew it was going to be a long ride. I had this one driver before and knew he was a chatty one. He basically spoke the entire ride to JFK. I prefer to sit in silence and stare out the window and lose myself in my thoughts. No such luck. He told me about a trip he took to Los Angeles. He won a contest from a radio station which sent him to a party at the Playboy Mansion. He was bragging about his epic trip and even showed me a few pictures on his cellphone.

"How many people can actually say they have been to the Playboy Mansion?"

I smiled and didn't say anything. I went once before but didn't want to spend the rest of the ride talking about the Mansion. Some personal adventures are best left unsaid.

Terminal 3 at JFK is sort of s shit hole. Check in went quick because I used a self-kiosk. Surprisingly, the security line also went fast. I found myself with a lot of time to kill. I found a food court and grabbed a $5 slice of chocolate cake. It was stale. Bad beat.

I sat down and played online poker for about 30 minutes and talked a bit with the Joker. He had seen Obama speak only a couple of hours earlier in Denver. I also checked some of my fantasy football scores.

There was a bit of confusion boarding the plane. My flight to Budapest was filled with 90% Hungarians most of which did not speak very good English or other simply ignored the board procedures.

An older guy in a track suit sat down next to me. We sat behind a row of elderly ladies. Delta does not have a swanky personal TV system (like Quantas, KLM, and JetBlue) so I had to watch the one movie that they decided to show which happened to be a shitty Kevin Costner flick.

Dinner was a piece of rubber chicken and some sort of goop that resembled mashed potatoes. The only gem in my meal was the brownie made up of Oreo cookies. There was a gourmet cheese wedge with crackers. It tasted good but I feared that it could cause some serious stomach issues somewhere over the Atlantic.

I popped a Xanax and read the latest issue of New Yorker which included an intriguing article about Marlon Brando. I tried to sleep but kept waking up five minutes after I passed out. I stayed up for the rest of the flight.

We arrived early and I was sort of confused with the local time. I expected it to be six hours ahead of NYC. I discovered that Europe went to day light savings time one week earlier which meant that I was just five hours ahead of the east coast and eight hours ahead of Nicky on the west coast. I gave her a call and she was still up. I let her know that I arrived safely.

There was a problem with the luggage and it came out 20 minutes late. I eventually found my bag and cleared customs. I had a driver picking me up and found a guy holding up a piece of paper with my name. I followed him out to a van and we headed for Budapest. He didn't say a word until we arrived. I paid him €20 for the fare and he took me to the landlady.

The people who own the building are Germans but they are not onsite. There's an old Hungarian lady who gave me the keys to the apartment and collected my deposit. She did not speak a lick of English but handed me a local map. She said she spoke German so we tried to talk in broken German. It wasn't pretty. I asked her where I could smoke cigarettes since there was a massive courtyard behind the apartment. I think she said only outside, but there's ashtrays in the apartment. I have no clue.

I looked out the window. There's a pharmacy and pool hall below. Across the street is a pizza joint, an Argentinian steak house and one block away there's a Burger King.

I'm exhausted but I'm also starving. I'm gonna grab some food and walk around. I need to get a metro/subway/tram weekly pass and scout out the casino where I'll be working.

My colleague Dana from London will be arriving later tonight. And Brandon Schaefer arrives in a couple of hours. He's throwing a party at his place later tonight. Should be fun...

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