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05 August 2005

i will unleash a fury

one last day in budapest; night train departure. sarah wrote some postcards in the morning while i studied the map. out of the hostel by noon. it wasn't raining fortunately, but as we walked down the street, the sky leaned down and whispered to us, telling us about a sadness today, tears were imminent. we brought our umbrellas.

back to the post office [fond memories of this place] to mail sarah's cards. to mav to buy the train tickets.

i've come a long way but i have a long way to go. but maybe never. the infamous budapestian turkish baths. an attraction for so many, a must do, but not for me. a less than zero appeal. thank you, no. sarah on the other hand was very interested in going; i'd accompany her to the border of the széchenyi bathhouse and then run screaming away. ha! first, we needed to locate an atm; we were low on hungarian funds. wandered for an hour, past anonymous and the agricultural museum within a fortress, past the bathhouse and a person living elsewhere in his head for the time being, to an amusement park, the atm. funds secured, we walked back. the person was still away; dead? sarah and i made plans to meet back in one hour and a half. as planned, i screamed and ran.

i returned to the nearby agricultural museum. the first floor; tractors. more notable; the second floor. high ceiling; walls _covered_ with antlers. imagine the weight they carry. bear skins. taxidermy. timing was perfect; i returned to greet sarah at the entrance of the baths. so was i missing out on the experience of a lifetime? from her report, no. splashing children; vicious tourists; grumpy old people. maybe she just told me those things so i didn't feel like i missed something; what a sweet girl.

we searched for a restaurant on the way home, but didn't have much luck finding one that looked inviting. we stopped at a supermarket and picked up some groceries and then returned to the hostel to eat. our train was leaving around 2000. we hung with chubba and the other hostelites before packing and walking to the train station.

i guessed that the train was delayed based on the sign, but i confirmed with a couple standing nearby. sarah and i stood by the wall waiting for the train.

there seemed to be a lot of shady people in budapest; i doubted sun ever entered the train station, the headquarters. an inappropriate prejudice; they may have all been beautiful people, but the feeling inside me was keeping all senses on high alert this evening. so, how to combat shady people? ha! well... become one, at least on the outside. recently i've picked up a bad habit: in high alert situations, whenever someone looks at me, i immediately respond with a glaring stare that i don't break until the other person looks away.

==> i see you. i am not an unsuspecting tourist; i am fully aware of your presence and i am on high alert. if you try something, i will unleash a fury the intensity of which you've never before experienced. there are easier targets; move along. <==

but there must be another way. in additional to the animal instinct invitation for conflict, the very thing i'm trying to avoid, the prolonged eye contact has been perceived in the past, depending on the setting and the predisposition of the other person, as a signal for transactions involving drugs or sex. not exactly what i'm going for. in the train station, i encountered someone who apparently shared my bad habit. while performing a visual sweep of the area, i caught a guy looking at me and immediately initiated the glare. we maintained eye contact for a full five seconds [count it out; it's a staring lifetime] before he nodded and i looked away. i kept track of his 20 for the rest of the wait; when he walked away i realized that he too was a traveller. ==> i see you. <==

a train arrived; the sign didn't turn but passengers mobbed. we waited before deciding the mob rules. we boarded the train and confirmed it was going to prague, scheduled to arrive around 0600. there were six of us in the uncomfortable compartment; i feared a long night of high alert was ahead of us. fortunately, several compartment people got off after a few stops; by midnight sarah and i were the only ones left.

posted by paul on Fri 05 Aug 2005 at 00:00:00 est (-05:00)

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