|Beckett's Irish Pub with my brother Nathan - I can find an Irish pub anywhere!|
|Looking across the Danube to Buda|
Consumption girls. They charm your heart, then they take your money. On a last minute trip to Budapest, we found the majority of the Hungarians we met to be as cold as the freezing weather that had descended upon the city.
Early one evening, while I was back at the hotel catching a quick cap nap, my brother was invited by two girls to join him for a "typical Hungarian drink". Thinking that maybe Hungarians weren't as skeptical about Americans after all, he accepted and was taken to a bar around the corner. He recounted that the girls were very talkative in near perfect English but had done the ordering in Hungarian.
After two rounds he told them it was time for him to leave, he had to get his sister – yours truly. As he was preparing to leave, he was presented with a bill for the drinks. A very steep bill, more like atrocious. The girls told him it was customary in Hungary for the man to pay on a date, and had no intention of paying a dime. He told the girls and the waiter that he refused to pay the bill, knowing it was bogus. Unfortunately he was seriously outnumbered by huge bouncers in the bar who were all in on the scam. Knowing there was no other way out, he agreed to pay one third of the bill and was escorted to the ATM machine by one of the bouncers. He paid his part and quickly left.
Upon returning to the hotel, he told me what had happened, and as angry as I was, there was no letting it go. We went back to the area where it had happened, and ran into the girls on the street who pretended not to understand English. So we went to the bar where it happened. I strode in the door, past the security that tried to stop me and we went up to the waiter who was obviously caught off guard. I asked to be shown the bill, and five bouncers appeared behind the waiter. I made a scene loud enough for the other clueless men in the bar to hear what had happened, in an attempt to warn them about the trap they were in. We then we walked to the front door which could only be opened by a button pushed by the bouncer standing at the desk at the front door. He was not about to open the door for me, and neither was the manager, I presented her with stern threat, which caused the doors to be opened immediately.
A visit to the U.S. Embassy confirmed what I was afraid of – the mafia was alive and well in Budapest. Nothing like stealing from the hand that helps feed your country!
Thank God the rest of the trip was amazing! Bathing in the Gellert baths, wonderful nights out on the town, watching Madame Butterfly at the Hungarian State Opera House (sung in Italian and translated to Hungarian), 5 course dinners at wonderful restaurants for unbelievably cheap prices, shopping in old markets, and absolutely amazing architecture.
Someday I will return...someday...