No, no, nem – I haven’t been kidnapped and turned into goulash – I’m alive and well in Koszeg, Fungary.
I haven’t written for ages, partly because of laziness, partly because I haven’t had a decent Internet connection and partly because I’ve been unusually busy! …and yes, before you ask – it’s definitely possible to be busy and lazy at the same time, I’ve mastered the art.
So, since my last report from cosy Koszeg I managed to squeeze in a 4 day trip to visit my favorite people in my favorite hideout (Slovenia) and followed this with 5 cold but interesting days in Stockholm, Sweden. Most of you know how much I love Slovenia so I don’t need to elaborate on that but Stockholm is also a pretty cool city. It’s expensive but it’s fun, it’s vibrant, it’s relaxed, it’s quirky and it’s safe. Some people find it a little too sterile but, I like it and it was nice to be back there after my first trip 3 years ago.
OK, so what’s happening in Koszeg? Well, let me think…. Hmmmm… hold on, I need more time…. nope, sorry I can’t think of anything. Koszeg, is Koszeg and remains one of the sleepiest towns of central Europe. OK, you might see a few Austrians on Saturday afternoon but otherwise it ain’t a wild place to be.
To make things worse, the lovely people at ISES have furnished the inside of our school with 15+ large prints of interesting sights …from Koszeg!! It’s almost unbearable. There are only about 10 ‘interesting’ things to see here and you can’t even escape from them when you’re inside. Tropical beaches, beautiful women, sunsets, classic Hungarian artwork – anything, even those motivational posters you see at work, would be better than this… Actually, even better – they should’ve used the money to buy a printer instead but that’s another grumble altogether…
Anyway in the absence of any ‘organized’ fun, we’ve taken to entertaining ourselves. Sometimes this works, sometimes it involves hugging trees (I’m not joking) and other times it ends locked in a toilet in ‘Flash’ club on the outskirts of town. Mostly it involves some kind of Spa, Sauna and ‘wellness’ as I mention in my previous post. Convinced I was born to relax in a Sauna – this works well for me but even Saunas in Fungary aren’t normal – oh no. Firstly they’re naked, secondly they’re mixed naked and thirdly, if you’re really unlucky a guy will arrive (naked of course) to ‘work the sauna’. You’d have to see this to fully understand it but the proud ‘sauna worker’ starts with the door open and spinning his towel in a circle begins to waft air into the room. Then stepping up the intensity he closes the door and wafts his towel in your face. You can’t avoid this because everyone get a face-wafting before he cranks up the temperature and repeats the circle of face-wafting with hot air and so it continues until you are hot as hell, completely bemused and trying to decide if you should laugh or cry. It’s pretty surreal. I took to laughing because it’s pretty funny to see a naked Hungarian take such pride in over-heating his fellow compatriots with his towel.
Still, I there’s a mutual suspicion of each other’s sanity in the Sauna. We sit there wondering how they can sit, happily chatting amongst friends with everything on full display and they sit wondering how we (the foreigners) can be so shy, fully wrapped by or towels – insisting on full privacy for our private regions!
What else has happened? Oh, I got internet installed in my flat which only took 8 weeks instead of the two weeks promised by my landlord. I got a letter to say that my bank-card is ready and this only took 12 weeks and I have new Speedo pants which, against all moral norms – I purchased so I can start swimming again. As I refuse to spend 30 Euros on a skimpy pair of Nikes, the general consensus was that I needed a Chinese Shop. We don’t have these in Oxford and I don’t remember seeing them in Slovenia but they’re pretty common here in East/Central Europa. Originally named ‘Hong Kong’ Koszegs Chinese shop didn’t disappoint. After 15 minutes laughing and the nonsense English labels (the long-johns were labeled “Protect the long trousers in”) I left with a pair of 4 Euro, tight-fitting swimming shorts.
Hmmm, maybe they meant “protect the ‘long’ in your trousers”?
OK well, I’ve rambled for way to long now so I’m gonna call it a day but, since starting this post yesterday evening I ‘ve spent a whole evening in Austria with Mariia and Andreja. I was kinda hoping this would be more ‘normal’ and restore my faith in humanity but it wasn’t. We ended up in ‘Subway’ in Oberpullendorf dancing to “Disco disco partizani” with some Austrian army lads (drinking in full military uniform), the local youth and more worryingly, the local high-school kids! Apparently age is no limit to drinking and clubbing in Austria. It probably explains a lot….
Anyway, I survived the Military mess/rock club/school disco combo and now it’s time to do some studying. I hope you’re all well wherever you are and hopefully I’ll see some of you for Christmas.