Monday, October 12, 2009

much in demand, apparently

After lunch, yesterday - which included a couple of pints of Dreher (not just the best Hungarian lager, but the lager which invented lager) - I returned to my hotel room, and, suddenly heavy, conked out on the bed.

Actually, I'll start this story 18 hours earlier. On Saturday night, just minutes after I had checked into my hotel, I decided to go and do a bit of exploring - deciding that since it was Saturday night, I'd head down to the bustling tourist district of Budapest. I made the mistake, in doing so, of carrying my Rough Guide to Budapest in my hand, marking me out immediately as a tourist.

I got about three streets down into town, when I was interuppted by a voice. I stopped.

"Excuse me, do you speak English?".

I looked up, and found two, youngish, and quite pretty blonde girls confidently approaching.

"Um, yes", I said.

"Do you know where ____ is?", one asked, saying a name which I couldn't recognise.

"No", I admitted, "I've no idea, sorry".

"But it's an Irish pub!", the other exclaimed, "and you're English, right?".

I agreed that I was, but explained that I'd just arrived and would find it hard enough to navigate my way back to my hotel unguided, let alone dispense directions to others. While one girl studied my streetmap, the other chatted amiably with me, asking what I did for a living, what I was doing in Budapest, and for how long I'd be staying. The girls, apparently, were from a rural part of Hungary and were in the capital for the first time.

I'm pleased to say that, by the time the first girl was finished with the map, I'd concluded that I was witnessing - and taking part in - a carefully scripted scam. When the second girl asked me if I'd take the two of them for a drink, I was able to smile warmly and assure them that, sorry, I didn't have the least intention of doing so. The girls nodded, not bothered, and moved on.

It doesn't take much creative googling to confirm that, however great my charms, I wasn't the first nor the last guy that would be approached by those girls this week.

Walking on into town I allowed myself to smile, first at the fact that, being in a position of strength, I had actually enjoyed talking to the girls (it can be lonely arriving in a new city) and second in the knowledge that, had I been my friend Dan, I'd probably be held hostage in a Budapest basement by now.

So, yesterday, a couple of hours into my nap, I was woken by a knock at the door. Room service? Half asleep, I sat up. The knock came again, insistent, even though I'd left the 'don't disturb' sign on the handle. I got up and shuffled over to the doorway. Outside was a woman, perhaps in her late thirties, who greeted me as if she knew me, but spoke impenetrable Hungarian.

"I'm sorry", I stammered, confused. "Can I help".

She managed to find enough English to insist "I come in", and begin to push on the door.

I held firm, still half asleep, unsure what she wanted.

"I'm sorry", I repeated. "Which room do you want".

"This one", she replied, and again pushed as if to come in.

I was still thinking she was hotel staff, and was on the point of giving in, when I decided to ask one more time.

"What exactly do you want", I demanded.

She leant closer and, pouting, made a loud, passionless, kissing noise. Twice.


I figured it out. Surprised at my reaction, I reached out - she was by now half way into the room - and gave her shoulder a firm, steady, gentle shove.

"Problem?", she said, surprised.

I guided her backwards, nodded my head definitively - at last in possession of the facts - and concluded what I think was my first ever encounter with a prostitute by closing the door firmly in her face.


Kate said...


Milly said...

Woah crazy!

I just thought i'd recommend you go here for a drink sometime - i went and it was really good! Wine very cheap (not particularly good but hey at 50p a glass..) and it's quite a cool place to visit as you wouldn't normally notice it, you kind of walk through a house and find yourself in a strange maze of plants and arty objects! er anyway i'm babbling from too much lemsip.