I only spent a short amount of time in Budapest, but this wonderful city certainly left me Hungary for more. Haha, that’s why I’m one of Australia’s best-loved journalists, and have literary groupies hanging off my balls 24 hours a day.
It was late when I got in from Bratislava, but I was determined to spend the evening prowling the streets of Budapest, drinking beers, eating kebabs, and charming the local lasses (well, the ones who don’t look like blokes – who are apparently in the minority). However, I didn’t count on meeting Rupert as I checked into my hostel.
Rupert greeted me with a flat cap on his head and a song his heart, wrapping me up in his wiry arms as he showed me to my room. “Once you’re settled, come upstairs and we’ll jam, cat,” he told me, then toodled out of the room. I didn’t have a clue what I was getting myself into.
I went upstairs to the hostel’s living room to find Rupert bopping around on an old lounge with an uncomfortable-looking Asian girl on one side of him and a flustered Englishman on the other. When the song blaring from Rupert’s laptop finished, he told the Pom to put the next one on, which he did reluctantly. Once the first twangs of a country and western song filled the room, Rupert shhok his head, then took off his flat cap and started twisting it in his hands.
“This song sucks, man,” he said quietly. “It’s so boring, just like you. How can you go through life being so damn boring?”
Rupert stopped the song, and gave the laptop to me. “Your turn,” he said. “You look like a cool guy, I’m sure you can come up with something better than this idiot.” I put on a Paul Kelly song and Rupert started grooving around and clicking his fingers in time to the beat.
“Now this is a groovy song,” he yodelled. “I’m glad you’re not as fucking boring as that idiot. It’s good to have someone interesting to hang out with for a change.” The Englishman just threw up his arms in exasperation.
The conversation soon turned to the Asian girl’s story, which led to us talking about her homeland of Hong Kong. I studied the history of the island at uni and have a basic understanding of it, which Rupert found exciting. “You’re a smart man with a wonderful, inquisitive mind,” he told me. The Englishman then asked a question, and Rupert stood up and stormed out of the room.
“You’re so fucking stupid, dude,” he yelled when he came back. “You have no idea about anything! You’re boring! Here we have a genuine genius,” Rupert gestured towards me, “and you’re just sitting there like a stupid, boring piece of English shit. Why do you even exist?”
I was starting to worry that Rupert wanted to give me one, and the mild-mannered Englishmen was starting to get fed up with our host’s bizarre behaviour. When Rupert started ranting about how boring the Englishman’s clothes were, he finally snapped.
“You’re so fucking rude!” the Pom yelled, before standing up and storming over to Rupert. “And I’m sick of your fucking hat!” With that, he plucked the flat cap off Rupert’s head and threw it in the bin, before grabbing his bags from his room and heading out the front door.
“See, look at that,” Rupert huffed, as he walked over to the bin. He bent down and pulled his cap out of the bin, not bothering to remove a banana peel from the peak before putting it on his head. “Even his tantrums are fucking boring.
I finally made it outside the next morning. Budapest definitely feels like a big city, with people hustling and bustling in every directions, and heaps of cars crawling through the streets. Like most big capital cities in the world, the majority of it is pretty generic – you can find the same office buildings lining the roads of any major metropolis on the planet.
It’s nice down along the river, with all sorts of castles and cathedrals lining the water. It’s here that Budapest is at its finest, and it’s easy to waste hours walking the ancient streets, drinking in the many bars, or just sitting in the sun, looking at the brilliant architecture. Budapest feels like a real meeting of east and west, which is a nice change after spending so long in truly western cities.
One thing you need to watch out for when hiking around Budapest is idiots on bicycles. These carefree Cadells zoom around the footpaths as if their veins are flowing with horse steroids, knocking over startled tourists like ten pins. Most of them are hunched over their bikes in typical racing position, their lycra shorts riding up their ample Hungarian blurters. Forget where you are for even a second, and you’ll end up as roadkill.
Oh, and Rupert, if you’re reading this, gimme a call – I could do with the ego boost!