Disclaimer: This will be a feature that will continue throughout the length of my stays in places. Since literally every place as a walking tour/tourist guide, I am morphing that idea into things about the city that you really want to see. I figure that since I’m a pretty good gauge on what people are into and whatnot, this would be a good way to do an unbiased infomercial on a city that perhaps you haven’t seen and would like to know about. I will not pull punches, if I liked a place — I’ll sing its praises. If I hated, I’ll tear it the biggest asshole on the planet. Because I know assholes: I am one.
Take these as you will because I’m speaking only from my perspective. And remember: opinions are like assholes, everybody has one and only mine matters.
One-word definition: Understated
Cleanliness of the city: New York City (after Giulani)
Quality of Girls: 8 out of 10 — Alright, let me just say that this is a very strong 8, borderline 9. Hungarian girls, like the city of Budapest itself, are an enigma — and it is so difficult to really put a mark on them because there are a plethora of 10’s walking around the streets (more so on the Pest side then the Buda side). Not sure if I’m mistaken, but it appeared that the Pest side was a younger crowd and the Buda side was established families. But there are just as many 0’s as their are 10’s. And when I say 0’s I mean hobbits from the Lord of the Rings. Fuckin’ ugly birds. Then are there is the group of girls that aren’t the top shelf stunners but are incredibly cute that I would label in the 8 range… not going to blow the doors off your loins but are exceptionally cute with nice smiles and are the kind that you would be proud to take home to your parents. But you have to put long hours in with them — and not the kind of hours that you have on a 5-day trip. And you simply aren’t getting a 10 in that amount of time either, unless you have a diamond-studded dick and money out of every orifice.
Hungarian girl’s bodies are usually extremely on point though. Slim waistlines and large breasts are the norm here. But it isn’t like everybody is walking around with huge boobs — they just look like they are. It is an interesting phenomenon but the women dress to their body type — and all appear to be about 1-cup size higher than proportional perfection. So it looks like they all have these beautiful big boobs… because, well, in correlation/conjunction to their bodies, they do.
Likeliness of Hooking Up: 2 out of 10 — Hungarian girls are some of the hardest women to crack when it comes to bedding. They are incredibly steeped in tradition, which is something that a Westerner would grow frustrated with. Remember that foreign thing that your parents described back in the 1950s when men courted women? Chivalry? The thing that died along with the Internet and now the smartphone? Yeah, well that thing is alive and well in Hungary. Women are treated here in many aspects, and rightfully so. However, the expectations are high. A man is responsible to bring flowers to dates, to hold doors for women, to pay (at least for the first couple of dates) and to also be generous. Without an ulterior motive of sex. That will piss a lot of guys off that just want the easy lay. Easy isn’t easy in Hungary. I was here for five days and I would have completely slumped had it not been for a slightly insane chick and a Canadian on convention/holiday. Now I did hook up with a Hungarian girl, but she wasn’t one of the absolute 10s sauntering down the sidewalks. She was an 8 with a solid body.
As with Prague (and I’m assuming all of Eastern Europe) there is a lot of working girls at night — especially around Heroes’ Square (I’m told) — but, I refuse to pay for sex, so I wasn’t about to find out.
But it isn’t just about what they are steeped in — the truth is that your look is also just as important. If you look like somebody that is well put together, you are held in higher regard. If you look like a college bum from America, you aren’t going to even be glanced at. My first sightseeing day I was dressed casual and girls turned up their noses. When I wore a nice pair of slacks, decent shoes and a put together outfit, they spoke with me. That is the difference. Guys have to try harder in Budapest, otherwise the women will just ignore you.
There is something to be said about the Hungarian traditions though. I think that is the way the world should be. But we’ve become texters and sexters and antisocialists, oh my! If you are looking for a stag weekend, you’re going to be stuck with hookers — because, Hungarian girls won’t stoop to horny foreigner levels.
Language Barrier Level: 10 out of 10 — Good luck to ya. Honestly, unless you know somebody that can teach you the nuances of Hungarian, or you are, in fact, Hungarian, you aren’t learning Hungarian. I tried for several weeks prior to leaving on this jaunt to even learn the basics. I had absolutely no luck finding anything whatsoever. You can be the most astute traveler on the planet and you aren’t picking up magyar (Hungarian). The native speakers speak fast and you are just left stunned. It is a brutal language to try and follow. Fortunately some of the younger Hungarians speak English… so you can sometimes converse. However, this isn’t the case with police, train workers, security, and basically anybody that is over 30 and doesn’t work in a service industry.
And magyar can be a very terse and ugly language also — the bums and gypsies will yell at you in it. This might be intimidating for somebody seeing it for the first time.
Receptiveness of Foreigners: 6 out of 10 — I believe the optimal word here is tolerate. Hungarians “tolerate” foreigners. They don’t really go out of their way to engage foreigners but they tolerate them. Once again, if you are talking with somebody that is in the service industry at a hotel — that is one thing. They are exceptionally pleasant and open. However, the regular Joe in the street would rather just ignore you than engage in conversation. There seems to be an apprehension factor somewhere along the line.
Cost-effectiveness: 10 out of 10 — And I thought Prague was cheap! I stayed for 5 nights in Budapest, and spent $100 USD to get like 21,000 Hungarian Forint (HUF). Everything here was cheap to do. Grabbing the Budapest Card made a cheap city even cheaper — making the public transportation and museums free and also making restaurants and other things from 20-30% cheaper.
There is one thing to be considerate of though: be on your toes. There are a lot of scams going on in Budapest and if you aren’t proactive you can get taken for a costly ride. Since the 210 HUF = $1 USD thing is not exactly a conversion that you can really exercise in your brain, you need to be mindful of a budget. And many places are “too good to be true” offerings.
Also, know your tolerance level. I went to a bar for a Champions League game and I ordered a Guinness, and offered up 1000 HUF for the draught in a pay per round exchange. The guy said to me — “No, no, you pay after.” Nuh-uh — not doing that in a foreign country. Since there wasn’t even a price list for Guinness — I looked and saw 700 Forint being the highest priced beer and gauged off of that. I nursed that beer for the first half of the Chelsea Champions League game and then told him that I was only having one beer. He looked pissed but reluctantly took my money and gave me back 200 Forint — which I returned as a tip.
And I’ll tell you why he looked pissed: he didn’t rip me off. As is the case, prices get higher and more drinks are said to be consumed than may have been when the night goes on and rounds get flowing. I don’t advise anybody to run a tab at a foreign bar, even if the tender speaks English. Because he/she isn’t English and they will set you up. It is like the Wild West (no accountability so it is your word against theirs). Therefore, be proactive — you can wiggle out of potentially sticky situations.
This is true for taxis also — get the price before you step into the cab. They make a living by fucking you over if you don’t establish the price first.
Public workers (ticket takers at trains, etc.) also try to make a quick buck on you. Don’t eat (or drink) on trains: that’s a 6000 Forint fine; don’t smoke on trains — 6000 Forint fine; but the biggest thing is keep your ticket with you and within reach at all times. A Hungarian girl told me to keep my ticket in view when in the train station or risk being stopped by ticket takers — and they have the right to penalize you 5000 Forint for “not presenting a ticket.” She said that you have 30 seconds to produce a ticket, which “is actually about 5-10 if you are lucky” before that person can issue a fine. “That’s how they make money.”
And the crazy part is that the ticket takers try to get you coming and going — especially going. Usually there are three ticket checkpoints in the metro — front door, escalators going down to underground floor and then turnstyles to platforms. If you get nabbed for a ticket misuse, you are targeted for other ticket misuses. Although this is rare going in (because you can buy a ticket to avoid further penalties), coming out is another story. Say you misplace your ticket on the train or you put it in your pocket and can’t find it, are holding two bags and other stuff and just can’t suss it out. She hits you with a fine. “Fine,” you pay it. Then you are targeted, because the next ticket taker can hit you AGAIN!, then subsequently a third time.
You think I’m kidding, I’m not, I watched it happen to a poor guy from India. 15000 HUF because he dropped his ticket coming off of the train. That is evidently how they make up any differences in pricing.
No sales tax is pretty awesome though… gotta be honest.
Safety and security: 6 out of 10 — The Gypsies here are a real problem — so is the language barrier with authority figures supposed to be there to maintain order and help. I would not recommend being alone at night in Budapest, unless you are on the main areas. It isn’t lit very well on the side streets and you can run into trouble very quickly. Strength in numbers here, definitely.
How the Girls Are: 9 out of 10 — Believe it or not, if you crack the force field surrounding a Hungarian girl, they really are sweethearts and fun. My interaction with the locals was primarily those that worked in the hotel but also a few in restaurants and the supermarket. I found them to be extremely pleasant and open but you had to show yourself above just wanting to hook up.
Best Chances of Meeting Girls: Evidently going after the hotel and convention staff is the most effective way to get through if your goal is to get laid. However, chances are high that it won’t be a Hungarian girl. If you want to meet Hungarian girls, I found the best place to be the supermarket or on the street/metro during the day. You can engage them in conversation and they aren’t put on the defensive.
Accommodations: 10 out of 10 — Hotel Continental Zara is a four-star superior rating hotel. The room was more than adequate for me and the bathroom was very nice. It is very clean and conveniently located. And the female hotel staff is seriously hot. I’d stay at it again.
Beer: 1 out of 10 — Just like the food, it was an acquired taste. And I acquired Guinness instead.
Getting Your ‘Merica, Fuck Yeah! On — The only real taste of home was seeing Burger King vs. McDonalds on the main drag. Nothing else really reminded me of America at all. The tax-free shopping does throw some homage back to the great state of Delaware though.
Pros — Women, Women’s body parts, weather, transit system.
Cons — Smoking, language barrier, bums, gypsies, pickpocketing, hucksters, food (aside from Gyros).
My Budapest Experience
The best description for Budapest that I can give is that after being there for five nights, I couldn’t tell you if it was the best place I’ve ever been to, or the worst. It is so enigmatic and polarizing that I think I could come here 100 times and each of the 100 times would be different. That is the mark of a greatly understated talent. But the truth is I’m leaving with a bit of an unsatisfied feeling. They say that Budapest is the Paris of the East. I think there is something to that — which is why I would have to return here with another person, or group of people. Because you just can describe what this place is like in a coherent manner. But that other person (or group) would completely understand exactly what you are trying to say but can’t explain. It is just one of those places — incomprehensible.
I doubt that I could live here — unless I had an exorbitant pay packet with a company, however, I would definitely return for a vacation again. The sites alone are worth another look. Then, of course, there are those girls walking around.
Budapest is not for everyone. For all intents and purposes, it can be downright scary if you are startled easily. To make for the most pleasant stay, don’t make your first trip here at night — and if you can manage, don’t make your first trip here alone. I think you miss out on a lot of stuff if you don’t have someone to share the city with. I noticed that when I went out with the Insane asylum. Now she was definitely off — but the city was so much more alive that day because I was sharing it with somebody.