So: Mikulás. I have nil capacity for doing a poorly-wrought rendition of non-English festival tradition this morning. All I know is gleaned from Wikipedia: go read about this folktale-with-menaces here. Suffice to say, I think you can probably guess who ended up with the virgács 😦
We did it. We’re here! On the back end of a week of chronic social discomfort and headspin, I’m reclining in my Euro-tastic new apartment in the Erzsébetváros. Although I had planned to document the initial adaptation process, inside-outside anthropology-style, I (with a characteristically drippy excuse) simply couldn’t find the appropriate notepad.
We now live off an ochre-ish courtyard in Budapest’s VII district, in a studio apartment with a bath in the middle of the room. Now, armed with a 18HUF yellow exercise book, allow me to take you on a tour of our new neighbourhood. Roll your eyes heavenward as your host – very definitely the awe-struck provincial – marvels at the 24 hour supermarket (0-24 élelmiszer) at the end of her street, the utterly decent bar across the way and the mack-off (second biggest in the world) synagogue down the road.
This is Szimpla Kert, a gigantic romkert (ruined garden) and almighty jawdropper a stone’s throw away from our pad. Entered through an unassuming set of industrial strip doors, it’s an abandoned building transformed into a late bar and cinema, festooned with all manner of picturesque debris, de-tuned televisions, heeeeavy fag smoke, car parts pot plants, grafitto, flotsam, jetsam, &c, &c.
For future reference, you can view pictures of confectionary, buildings and fairground kitschery, as well as pseudo-exploitative photos of my boyfriend, Joe, (amongst other things) at my Flickr here.
* And the relevance of the picture at the top of this entry? Well, I like to sample my cultural difference at the supermarket – here the milk (tej) is sold, udder-style, in bags. You slide it into a jug, snip the top, then chill in the fridge.