The crew is Hylton (South African), Becs (Australian), and Adam, Mitch, and Jarod (from Manitoba, Alberta, and BC, respectively). We stayed out of the cold dampness by doing the Lebowski challenge, which consists of watching The Big Lebowski, and taking a drink everytime someone says ‘dude’. It’s hard.
I did make it around Budapest despite the rain, and then a sunny afternoon but with cold, cold wind. It’s a beautiful city.
What’s best about it, though, are the Turkish baths. We went to the Szechenyi ones; a sprawling yellow building with an open courtyard and warm mineral baths in the middle, with old men playing chess in the pool and occasionally yelling at each other (good-naturedly, I mean). Inside the building is a labrynith of smaller baths and saunas of various temperatures, and we spent hours going from one to another. The biggest challenge was going to the 90 degree sauna, then dropping yourself into a 16 degree pool. I disliked it. One sauna smelled of citris fruits, another like peppermint, one had changing-coloured lights. The outside pool had a section that pulled you around in a circle, then sprayed jets up from the bottom. Standard dress code for men of all ages and shapes = black speedos. Don’t leave home without them.
Other things about Budapest!
1. At the grocery store, weigh your produce yourself. If you can’t tell the clerk how much your bananas weigh, she won’t sell them to you.
2. The ‘pizza’ croissant things at the grocery store, that you buy as a quick and cheap lunch, have peas and carrots in them. Yuck.
3. If there’s no crosswalk, it’s because you have to go through the passageway under the street.
4. Dogs wear clothes a lot.
5. The subway makes fantastic Nintendo-like noises that remind you of Duck Hunt. I giggled at every stop.