Date: 09 April 2002
Buda or Pest. Pest is more fun. The city is big enough to feel like there might be more of it. It is crummy enough to not be touristy. It is good enough to make you see beauty. Before Prague got sick, it probably seemed like a nicer version of Budapest. The streets are wide and sometimes narrow, courtyards show glimpses of lives. Capitalism's stink is on them, but not overwhelming yet, just the seedy stuff, casinos, prostitutes,and fast food, but no takeover. The deep dark blue sky hangs over the wooden roof of the train station where you may go the wrong way through lack of information. A mall of shit on one side, a shop of twenty years ago, all wafers and cheap cheese, on the other. Not everyones speaks English, and you are away from the dominance of your currency so can enjoy it less guiltily. The natives are not hostile. The cakes are good and the coffee strong. The art has no paprika but the river still flows strongly and people work not for you. Budapest will restore your hope, or find you already empty.
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