Category Archives: Budapest Life

Not quite a diary

Something fishy ’bout this

Halkakas
Quick eat to café atmosphere
The place offers promise from without, a café style interior on entering, and fish on the menu. Tucked snugly on a corner along Veres Pálné utca one could almost pass by but and just by chance I was steered there on tripping out the stationery shop door on the opposite side of the street. As I had been lurking the district for some grub and yet was sure a street food burger would just spiritually rape me, the promise of fish spelt miraculous.
So picking a seat and forcing myself to be accepted as legit to the many eyes that looked up from their array of soups and other such dishes, I grabbed myself a menu and started to pave my glory.
Good selection of different fish dishes
First off the selection of fish dishes was impressive and while I worked my way through the Hungarian double taking on the “halburger” questioning its spelling, I was intrigued to find fish and chips tucked away in among the rest on offer and not a stand out, stand alone as if to play the signature dish!
I finally settled on the misspelt ‘hal’burger hoping that in fact it wasn’t a type-o and why should it be, it was a fish joint and not a burger of beef gaff. Still to be satiated in times of fussiness can lead to disaster so I grabbed myself a Foti Pils* to sip on while bracing myself for what was to come.
A fish burger I ordered and a fish burger I got, most flavorful, most delicious. The juices that flowed didn’t sog the burger buns but did leave me wishing to mop it up off the plate. Still being as full as I was that might have been unadvisable. The chips accompanying it were pre-salted and while this usually yields a common quib of mine this time I had no complaints. The potatoes were cut well and were proportionately tasty, something I never say!

*Fóti Sörfőzde

Prices match quality and in down town
What often gets my goat is the nonsense pricing that comes with difference and/or quality and whereas 2000huf may not be cheap in some people’s books, for what I ate and where I ate it, downtown, I would say it was on the balance a great deal. That I didn’t even need to eat again to any degree for the rest of the day (I ate here at around noon) is testimony to the depth of this good feed. Other fast food places may claim half the price but most have none of the quality, you can be damned sure.
The Others
As I was there I noticed a regular flow of what I’d describe as the young business folk lunching from small offices around so it never feels like brokersville, but from a business point of view very sustainable.
Friendly helpful patient staff
It’s counter service so tracking a menu was a flamboyant affair, me being flustered by the street and a clock that was running, but sitting and acquiring said menu, skipping past the temptation of ye olde fish N’s chips, jumping to the counter to order, doubling back twice, once for my wallet, another time for a peek at the beer menu, I never felt I, nor the girl serving were under any pressure. Her calm was infectious, perhaps. Could have used that when I was working in a bar. The guy who served up the plate, the chef or the cook, engaged professionally, being a busy man he still nodded acknowledgement, and listened without foothopping to my compliments as I was leaving.
Amen

© TheHairyTeacher2017

Steampunk

Steampunk

Just recently I read an article about a little town in New Zealand which has become a Mecca for all Steampunk fans but it happened past my memory even after I’d flirted with sending the link to a Kiwi friend of mine (In circles he’s known rather as the Doc, or Doc Ock, but don’t ever call him Candy: Unless of course you’re a 6’8″ rugby player who looks like he eats nails for breakfast. Then you can say whatever you want).

Well, when you don’t believe in coincidences all you’re left with is destiny and here I am in Krak’NTown on József körút in downtown Budapest, itself a saloon dedicated to the whole Steampunk style. From the waiters to the walls it’s captured the general vibe and based upon some of the other guests it would seem like this place has the tourist draw based upon this very Steampunk premise. Little do we know till we explore.

PS: Beyond a modest selection of craft beers they also serve food and what I noticed as significant was that a vast majority of the food had an Isles incline with Cheddar cheese soup, Toad in a Hole for breakfast, Yorkshire pudding, black pudding, as well as the ever adventurous, Haggis! There is also an Irish red beer and stout, the latter I’d hoped for but the pipes were being cleaned. In the end I settled for an IPA and dealt with the Cheddar soup in company. A light lunch, a great experience.

 

©TheHairyTeacher2016

The pub

It might not be somewhere over the rainbow
But it is somewhere out there…
Hidden from view but not ear,
A band of friends, perhaps conspirators?
They laugh beyond the cheery tune on the radio.
In here…
In here in this other room, the desolate one, where the desperate sit perched at the bar or in the darker corners,
typing on phones, reading newspapers, or staring into the half distance, finding the floor sometimes a good repose…
In here heads turn expectantly but nothing ever happens, only the songs on the radio are any indication of a better world out there –
Wherein resides “Daddy Cool”.
Even as the door opens a mumble is all that’s heard…
The aging barmaid streaming out,
Perhaps this rat has jumped the ship
And yet the open door promises change

And then…
“Itt a Babus” and the chatter begins.
The barfly awakens, the barmaid questions, another familiar enters…
And then the door closes.
Who is the desperate one now?
Alone in the phone-screen glow.

A Day Is Rising

A Day Is Rising

 

In the morning light after dawn-glow purchase
The taste of chill as winter rises.
The dew residual dampens the ground
And sends sunshine sparkles a-dazzling round.
Footsteps plod and skip, all fall,
With weary minds and a child adventure.
The cursing klaxons, the red lights looming.
Urbania rising through the silence booming.
Lines of passengers all set to be
Like chaste and bridal tainted reverie.
The smiles, however, abstain- upended
As morning’s gloom quells caffeine pretensions.
Stray dogs and pigeons plot their day
In bays and coups, the best plans laid.
The beast in shuffle settles then
As noon day flow comes threatening.

The Hideaway

I’ve hidden in this place before, more exposed than truly hidden.
Revealed by an awkwardness, an intent, that didn’t fully flourish.
Now here unbound I can be myself, behind the music and the language,
Within the shadows and glow light, the half sense to write or just listen,
Till the pen balances thinking with drinking.
A crumpling of a coffee packet accompanying, as the music spills on into jazz, into life,
And the wonder at not understanding other people talk,
Takes nothing from the very fact that they are my company, and in theirs I revel in a notion of life, where my fantasies flourish.
I may be mistaken, even choosing to be so
And I allow the play its new act, my life a new scene, and the writer once more to reality.
(sound of pen dropping and beer slurping:))

The casual Eye

The casual Eye

Reflections, musings, all indirect.
The shadows of timidity set.
Eyes bound to embrace if by chance
And then in blush turn once more back.
To shaded Eyes, the hidden glance,
The brushing back – displaying risk.
Another eye to eye embrace
Till two souls set save embarrassment.
A nail pick and a fumble still
The night resides in circumstance.
Ill-comfort or the lack of breath…
One’s terrified by the sombre poet.
Hope, yet eternal, Springs then falls
It is the chill of winter Afterall.
And so the fleeting glance- perchance-
Is nothing but the final failed romance.
And yet in words as these, such coined,
There is a lurch towards new Hope!

Tina Turner’s

The night before my birthday, my fortieth, and I hit Tina Turner’s…it used to be called Anya’s but that half-Greek fantasy set sail down towards the ninth district, somewhere around Mester utca, a long time ago. The soap I bought, a dried up reminder of a notion I once had.
The whole place is infested with memory and even my darkest hour, not worth mentioning, being part of the fabric of this place provokes a Dichotomy, an idea of improvement based upon a previous moral digression, thoroughly equated therefore by its having occurred within the confines of this place.
It was always an awkward place, often ruled by boredom, fatigue, drunkeness, and paranoia. It, however, served well as a last resort. It never closes, you see,”… and that has made all the difference…”
I sometimes long for this place in the blur that is pre- fatherhood memory, but in truth, a moment like this, actually living the memories, is the closest anybody can get to all things past. Sometimes it’s worth coming back for the trip – the reality of what was left behind, suitably soft, a drawing smudged to suit a tolerable indifference.
The corner in one of the upstairs booths, was my workbench of occasion, though never to the extent of B City and the Soproni place, now Cheerio – then nameless (at least to me), and yet Tina’s, ahem…Anya’s (like the stalwart calling Snickers Marathon), provided some of the material for my future. Here dreams were shattered, rebuilt, born yet before, and after. Time bent here… as these words may take me back, they may in time propel me forward, or at least be read again in a time not yet recorded. For now I just create them in the hope that someone, maybe even me, can read them in a future!

What’s in when going out?

What’s in when going out?

 

If you mention Móricz Zsigmond körtér it often evokes a feeling of nostalgia, and this for a place I have but a recent memory of. I’ve thought and taught here and drunk but a bit and yet I feel it’s somewhere I’ve been before, a place of greater memories, even if it isn’t.
There is a certain atmosphere in the area what with the tram rushing through as well as the 6 and 61 finishing up here. The schools, bookshops, fastfood places, all a step off make it a vibrant hub and now with development of the Metro 4 complete this area has come into its own. It owns the night scene Buda side, even if Lövõház is challenging to the north, and with the restaurants, bars, and general nuisances fanning out in all directions from the square, it’s certainly a pin to put in your google, or mental, map. Bartók Béla út, which dissects the square, is the main source of attraction and distraction with Szatyor, Nevada Pub*, Moha*, to name but a few offering up in terms of not only food and drink but other forms of spiritual nourishment. Nevada with its Cowboyish Wild West look, swinging doors to boot, has live music from the middle of the stairs on your way up: a live set-up in such a confined space?…interesting! (Sometimes a DJ may take over.) Booking a table is almost a prerequisite especially if you’re a group, or come looking for the perfect seat. The winter sees activities contained indoors while the sun shine draws forth a smattering of chairs making it a perfect beer and leer environment, even if your lungs and ears have to compete with the slight inconvenience of pollution from the ever busy Bártok Béla út…
Szatyor across the street has a sprawling ground floor with tables all ariot, while upstairs the seating is shared with a space for performances, exhibitions, and all the rest. As with Nevada it can get tricky to find seating around the weekend so be warned.
Whereas Nevada is a pub with grub on offer, Szatyor is a cafe with its own culinary aspirations. An offer of garlic soup followed by a Lángos was one of the lunchtime treats when I was visiting , and I tried it (poor students that afternoon), so while many may judge that as its downfall, it was most certainly for me its selling point. Like Nevada service in Szatyor never breeches the barrier between polite and friendly with smiles being somewhat a rare commodity.Maybe it’s the pressure, maybe it’s me, but especially in Szatyor’s case it seemed to be a little off-putting.
Another place worth mentioning is Moha which can be found farther down the street towards Gellért tér, and which is also inclined to entertainment beyond the food and drink on offer. As a place for breakfast it works, with ham and eggs amongst the choices, and there is an atmosphere which suggests something greater bubbling just beneath the surface. The grand piano in the corner may have something to do with it; my interest peaked. Of all the places I’ve mentioned it is the one place which I have not had the chance to sample evening time, so as to what to expect I can only fictionalise. A sign indicating a movie theatre hidden somewhere out of the morning’s grasp leads me to conclude that this place is aspiring to something bigger. As to whether it will achieve this, well, that remains to be seen, or will perhaps remain forever relative, because afterall, what is success? How can it be…blah blah blah.
That there are plenty more places to choose from goes without saying but to a man who has now got two children and too little time, such voyages of exploration are somewhat staggered, at least in comparison with what has gone before. These days memory must serve in place of accuracy, perhaps, and so I leave you to ponder and, if you wish, to contradict my words, for afterall, and in the end, there is no right nor wrong, just subjective truths:)

http://szatyorbar.blog.hu/
https://www.facebook.com/MohaCafe?fref=ts

 

*UPDATE: Since writing this review I have been down that way again and found two changes, not to the locations but to the names.

Nevada is now Osztrák Söröző: https://www.facebook.com/osztrak

 

and Moha is The Rabbit and the Duck bar, with a great logo to boot.

http://rndbar.com/

https://www.facebook.com/rabbitandtheduckbar/info

 

 

©TheHairyTeacher2014

35 Café

Bike themed and youthful the problem with this place is that it doesn’t take itself seriously enough as a business. My entering was greeted by surprise and my order was misheard.
Maybe I’m In a mood and maybe it is functional in a way that would usually serve but today that’s not enough.
After sitting stewing I decided to repeat my request and sure enough the girl had been allowing me the pick of the ziros kenyérs. I shot before asking questions: a trait I hate in others and which I’ve indulged myself just now to hypocritical proportions.
Now hunger tantrums aside let me take another look around. It is a basic spot complete with broken toilet (ladies) at the moment but with booth style seats it surely can be of use. Still in a district with so many alternatives being caught downstairs in the gloom at lunchtime is low on the list. Come nighttime, come difference perhaps but for now best take my word for it, unless like me your curiosity is greater than some random stranger’s opinion.
“Texas and whiskey… funerals”

 

https://www.facebook.com/35CafeSzerviz

 

©TheHairyTeacher2014

 

A letter to any listener

A letter to any listener

Hi there

How are you? How’s tricks? How’s the family, or not? How now brown cow! Any news? Well, apart from the usual nonsense…

[Blah blah blah]

Anyway, as for the teaching regulations I seem to have avoided their web for another while and am still in the white as far as invoicing goes but it’s becoming more and more difficult. If the companies are spooked then rather than jump through the legal hoops they’ll just jump ship. As far back as 2011 there was a change in the law which meant that companies to whom I issued invoices had to cover my health insurance payments. A funny thing about it was that in some cases this seemed not to be true, while others, believing the initial rumours, wanted instead to pay me in black. Two years on the companies that stayed with me have had no trouble so whatever shadow had passed over in those dark ’11s had dissipated…only to loom much larger as of Sept 1st this year…when, indeed, the law stated much more specifically that people of my disposition, the idiots-for-honesty, were most definitely dis-entitled to issue invoices with the trademark “nyelvoktatás” code. Instead in a frantic scramble for legitimacy another existing code was sought out and came in the guise of “egyéb oktatás”. That there is a clear distinction between the two is obvious in the way of spelling, and may even be supported semantically, but to say that what I actually do has gone from being “language” teaching to “other” rings of something sinister. I see myself in a coutroom some time down the line pleading innocence in the light of allegations of some newly contrived perversion as distinguished by an ever-enlightening-ruling-elite (the word government ringing too much of communist ideologies by that time). That my case will hinge on the ominous term “other education” will certainly be my downfall and as I am dragged away by my oppressors I will rage loudly and invoke the honest Hungarians now resident in Slovakia (and other Trianon treated regions) who at once in a darker past woke one morning to find themselves strangers in a strange land, and note that in my own demise I may take heart that I am not alone. A man made criminal, a man made foreigner, in my case to the profession that I once purported to be be qualified to do.

For now I do bid you adieu.

Martin of the Magyars

©TheHairyTeacher2013

Back to top