Friday, August 12, 2005

Back in Budapest

This trip was been shadowed by the passport gods. L. made two trips to Bucarest to arrange his identity card in order to renew his Romanian passport. He got ALL the correct papers, signed here and there, paid the fees and . . . no passport. It turns out that some office in Bucarest was supposed to send a number of some sort and they did not. As I sit here in this sultry internet cafe, L. sits in the overcrowded, frenetic Romanian police headquarters on the off chance that the number will arrive before closing time. He did arrange for the Hungarian embassy to give him a paper that allows him to enter Hungary. So, it looks like we will leave for Hungary on Saturday night, arriving Sunday morning. That gives L. exactly one day to arrange for a Hungarian passport before we fly out on Tuesday. Ugh.

Somewhat appropriately I have been reading Chekov's short stories this week. Someone told me at some point that all you ever needed to know about the short story as a genre was found in Chekov. Frankly I was afraid of him. I thought I had to be in a classroom with brilliant minds to understand his work. Alas. I actually have about three different things I am reading, which I am not in the habit of doing. I suddenly realized that I have a huge stack of readables and a dwindling about of time.

Can you believe that 20 minutes before the police office closed, they gave L. his Romanian passport? It looks as if we will return all together after all! His mother theorized that they had it all along but were hoping that L. would bribe them or make a little offering before they passed it over. That is the way it works here, not all of the time, but often.

We are now in Budapest and L. and I are in a bookstore/internet cafe. We are recovering from our long, long train ride. We all grimaced when two little boys entered our couchette, but it turns out that they were very sweet and quite entertaining on the ride here. Their mother even recoginzed L. because they grew up in the same town, though she was quite a bit younger. Our last few days in Csik were quiet. We tried to go to a movie, but the 8 pm showing was cancelled due to lack of guests. It turns out that at least 5 tickets must be sold. We had heard that they would run the movie if one person buys all five tickets. We got there three minutes late, however, and the ticket guy had already made the executive decision to return home for a few hours before the ten pm show. The last afternoon we drove out to a valley with a little river to cook out. We went mushroom hunting, but we did not find too many. It was my first time at such sport.

Not too much else to report on, although I can think of so many things I did not write about cocerning life in Transilvania. Perhaps later. Today and tomorrow will be busy as we do last minute errands and shopping here in Budapest. Luckily we are staying in a quiet residence on the castle away from the hustle and bustle. D. is staying with his aunt and cousin outside the city. A bit of quiet before the long flight home and our reintroduction to life in the midwest.

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