Travels With Myself

A Personalized Periodic Update, just for my family and friends, of the Ongoing Adventures of Your Favorite World Traveler

Name:
Location: Budapest, Hungary

After nearly 30 years in the financial industry in the US (mostly California and New Mexico), I decided it was time for my second life. I sold my house, sold my car, sold all my furniture, took a TEFL course and moved to Budapest to teach Business English to the business people of Hungary. Amazing mid-life change! I taught for about eight years, then pretty much retired. Now I travel extensively, and have been to more than 65 countries. I have had six books published, mostly about my travels - see my author's page on amazon.com. I have made friends from all over the world. Becoming an expat is the best move I ever made and I plan to continue my travels indefinitely. Come join me on this blog and enjoy the places I've been and the people I've met, past, present and hopefully in the future.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Interlude

After my Easter weekend in Brussels and Paris, the rest of April and all of May were taken up with parties and a few interesting occurrences I thought I’d share with my Blogfans. First of all, two parties on the same day: a birthday party for Jason Carroll and a spring solstice party given by Judith Mandy. Judith’s party was replete with tons of food, but fell far short of the best solstice party we’ve ever had in Budapest, when hostess Ellen Thomas set her bathroom on fire. Ellen still hates it when I tell that story. (Ed Note: I realize many of my readers won’t know the people whose names appear herein, but this Blogsite is also read by former Budapest residents now scattered around the globe, and they do know these people. So please bear with me)

And yet another success story: one of my former students, András, headed off for Thailand to teach English. Yep, he’s near Bangkok now, sweating heavily and trying to stuff English into the heads of Thai teenagers. Good luck, András! Then one of my other students informed me he’d actually ordered my (first) book through his local bookstore. He even asked me to autograph it for him. How about that?! Former Budapestian Matt Bresler, now assigned to the US Embassy in Kazakhstan, wrote that he found a nice little English pub in the wilds of Eastern Europe and ordered his first Guinness, which tasted just right, but then soured somewhat when he got his bill for the Kazakh equivalent of $12.25! He said he’s now drinking a lot of vodka.

April 23 was the St. George’s Day formal dinner dance at the British Embassy, once again attended by a plethora of tuxedo-clad men and cocktail-dressed women. I enjoyed this year’s ball more than last year’s, as I managed to stay mostly sober this time and was not subjected to a return visit by my local police. During the ball, Stuart (MacAlister) confirmed rumors that he and Krisztina would actually have a wedding ceremony in September at Gerbeaud’s. We immediately started making plans. Unfortunately, at the FA Cup Final match, Stuart then announced the wedding would be postponed for awhile. We immediately cancelled our plans.

Mark Wills’ farewell party at The Stage went off as planned. We presented Mark with a collage of photographs representative of his time in Budapest. Included were pics of most of his friends, a few of his enemies, a couple of strangers and even some of the young ladies of Hungary who inadvertently crossed his path while he was here. In a surprise guest appearance, Andrew Barak presented Mark with his very own original Aussie (short-form) didgeridoo, which Mark managed to play on his drunken walk home that evening, thus annoying his neighbors to the very last minute. Mark’s gone back to Ohio for his last year in the Air Force, then on to retirement and a well-deserved oblivion.

Skipped this year’s Cinco de Mayo blast at Iguana in favor of a sushi party thrown by Hiroko Ishimoto, a concert pianist studying in Budapest. The party was an international gathering, including people from Hungary, Finland, Turkey, Serbia, Switzerland, England, Ukraine, and America. Hiroko laid out a real feast, and even included a sushi-rolling demonstration. She and another Japanese student favored us with a short piano and flute concert. And you thought my life here was boring!!

And for my piéce de resistance, I was surfing the Net one day, looking for travel info on St. Petersburg, and happened upon the Bradman’s travel guide. On a whim I checked out what they had to say about Budapest. In the General Information section, under Suggested Readings, guess what I found? Yep, a reference to my book! Bradman’s suggested visitors to Budapest might like to read my book to get a unique perspective on the city. I was flattered and honored. I’m a reference!

OK, group, all for now. Will update again when I get back from St Petersburg, which I hope will be a great trip. I already know it won’t get dark while I’m there, which should be interesting in itself, and the sights and sounds and tastes promise yet another fantastic adventure. Puszi from Budapest.