Monday, February 27, 2006

Budapest - wining & dining and clubbing

In order to save you guys some trouble I took it as my responsibility to visit as many places as possible to get a good overview of what’s on offer:) Budapest’s got loads of places for having a good time – cafes, restaurants, pubs, clubs, fast-food places. Altogether I visited 15 of them. Here’s my selection.

For a nice lunch with good food for a reasonable price go to Castro – the meals are big, delicious and they also offer a selection of Serbian food. Another place with more traditional food selection is Central Kávéház.

For a good and BIG coffee I suggest you go to Goethe Insitute where you can virtually buy a whole 400 ml bowl of excellent café latte. For somewhat smaller coffee and a nice chilling on pillows there’s an adorable little place called Mai Manó. And for a coffee and the best cheesecake ever, go to Soul Café.

For the first drinks in the evening a cool place is Szimpla Kert, which is a bit more on alternative side and probably better in summer but a great place to go and seems like always full of people. After that you can head on for more drinks and dancing in a club called Szoda – upstairs for chilling and drinking and downstairs for dancing.
For an after-party-middle-of the-night snack head to Nagyipalacsinta …mmm…all the varieties of filled pancakes. This is a place to go also for breakfast or lunch or dinner as it’s open 24 hours, the food’s delicious and the prices cheap.

Budapest - general

It’s pretty incredible what you can cram into 4 and half days spent in a new city – wining and dining, lots of coffee breaks, clubbing, shopping, sightseeing and even a date. Was it enough? …probably not. But it was enough to get the feeling of the city and have lots of fun. Just wish 1 day of it wasn’t “spent” on working:)

Taking the first look at Budapest map, I thought I’d never “get” the city. It seemed too big and too dispersed, add to that the fact that it’s split into Buda and Pest (which, btw, were united into one city only around 130 years ago) by the Danube river and you already feel lost. However, it turned out it’s not as big as it first seemed, it’s far more logical than I expected and it’s another city in which I could see myself living in.

Budapest is an adorable city with all the old buildings and huge churches and castles etc, however they’ve had a bad slip in 60s and 70s when some ugly buildings have been built virtually in the midst of old town. Imagine you have a Hilton hotel built in and around a 14th-century monastery. However, I guess that is yet another reason to call it the city of contradiction.

People seem generally nice and good at heart, though they’re keeping more to themselves and do not rush to talk to you, but they help you find your directions when asked and tears can get you out of fine in metro for having an expired ticket:) Between themselves they seem very affectionate. You can see a lot of PDA, and not only young people, but also middle-aged couples kissing each other at a café or walking hand-in-hand along the streets. Cute.

I’ve always said that the best way to get to know a city is find some local people to show you around. Luckily enough my “locals” were the best hosts ever, showing me the best places, taking me to a late-night city tour in Buda, clubbing together with me and inviting me to private parties:)

Friday, February 24, 2006

On the road again

Greetings, Earthlings...from Budapest. First business, now pleasure. I'm gonna spend the whole long weekend here. I've had a great time already and hopefully it will continue this way. Some fast facts you might not have known about Hungary - as it turns out, they are responsible for inventing matches, lightbulb and ballpointpen. Just think, without Hungarians, we'd still be using pencil for writing:)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Bloodfree, bloodless, noblood….that’s me, as I gave away half a kilo of my own very special and rare blood yesterday. It was my 16th time already. I think people should do it more often, donate blood I mean.

Firstly, you might literally save lives. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know who gets the blood or if it actually is the crucial factor for saving somebody. What matters is that without it, somebody just might die. It’s kind of weird that nowadays when there’s a fake substitute for almost everything (imagine, there are fake butts walking around in this world), you still have to draw blood from the healthy people and insert it into the injured ones who have lost too much of their own.

Secondly, it’s good for you. You give away the blood that’s been circling inside of you for a long time and your body can generate new blood cells. That must be good, right? In the olden times, phlebotomy (or venesection or blood-letting, if you wish) was a common practice for curing many illnesses.

Thirdly, there are the post-donation benefits. You get a treat (usually in form of sweets) from the nice nurses. For a moment or so they make you feel like you’ve just saved at least half of the world. Having given away a substantial amount of your blood, you get drunk really easily and drinking red wine is actually advisable. And if you are really lucky you can feel a bit of nice lazy dizziness. Me, I usually feel really good, even though yesterday I tried to imagine that I was feeling bad, for 2 situations. First, when I crossed the street with red light and second, when I took the bus without buying the ticket… so I tried to imagine if I could fake passing out when getting caught. I didn’t, though (neither get caught, nor pass out…well, allright, maybe next time:)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Dreamworld presents...

Over the years I have had a strong relationship with my dream world. In my opinion dreams are an integral part of our lives; a mirror of our self-consciousness; a somewhat twisted reflection of our conscious daily lives. At times my dreams can be extremely vivid, even so much as to confuse them with the real world. Once I forgot to wish a friend a happy birthday for I had already done so in my dream. Another time I was truly angry with someone after waking up from a dream where I’d had a huge fight with her.

And, occasionally, I have found, my dreams come true, they predict the events that are about to happen in real world. On at least 2 occasions the predictions have come true after I’ve told someone about the dream. On one of those occasions my dream began unwrapping itself during the course of the day and I just watched everything happen. Now…this weekend i found out something that had happened in real life, which I had already dreamt about a week ago…(and shared the dream).

Some of my latest dreams have scared me a bit. They haven’t peen bad per se but I wouldn’t want things going that way. Some things are better left in dreamworld. So, what I do, is keep parts of my dreams only to myself. I don’t wanna tease the fate.

“Be careful what you wear to bed at night, you never know who you’ll meet in your dreams.” Unknown

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The average Estonian

More and more each day I have to wonder about how lucky I am with the people around me. For, if I consider my friends and family and colleagues, I have a feeling they are smarter than the rest, better looking than the rest and definitely better people than the rest.

In last couple of weeks I’ve been conducting a participation survey on Estonians’ behaviour and actions in various life situations. Just to give you an example of “the average Estonian”, here’s some examples.
Situation No1: I’m going home by bus, my hands are filled with bags (talk about girl coming from shopping:), the bus abruptly jerks to a halt and I fall backwards on the seat. It friggin hurts. Remember, my hands are full and it’s impossible to get back up without help…Nobody helps!
Situation No2: In a bus stop, a man has fallen on his knees, he is obviously drunk and somewhat bum-looking, but he also has a heavy rucksack and he’s struggling to get up. I try to help him. If you have ever dealt with drunk people you know it’s not easy. I call out for someone to help me, you know, some strong man, whoever….Nobody even takes another look. Somehow I manage to help him up and he still manages to get on the bus.
Situation No3: I’m exiting a store, I see a woman coming with a kid in her lap. I open 2 doors for her. She casts me an almost angry look and shows no gratitude. What’s that? I’m trying to help, biatch!

I try to do my part, though. Seeing, as good example doesn’t seem to do the trick, I’ve taken a more direct approach. The other day a man threw trash on the ground, a paper or sth, I picked it up and ran after him, saying: “Mr, you dropped sth.” The look on his face was priceless:) In a supermarket queue a woman (a rather big woman) stepped on my foot, looked at me and didn’t say a thing. I gave her another moment to react and then told her that it hurt, then she mumbled some kind apology under her breath.

Today, however, made me feel there might be some hope. I was about to exit the bus in my stop and the bus driver announced the name of the stop and added “And have a good day everybody!”:)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Stupid, stupid butterflies

Shoo! Go on now! Go and apply for the “How to be smart butterflies” school. You are ruining my life, running around aimlessly in all the wrong places with all the wrong people all the time. It’s time to sober up and develop some responsibility.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Sushi, champagne and tiramisu

This was the menu for yesterday, celebrating A-s birthday. I guess we’ve come a long way in the style of celebration. When we were seven, it was candles on a cake, potato salad and sausages and the parents carefully watching over the party. When we were 17, it was more about getting the parents out of the house and the drinks were more important than the food. Now that we’re 27, it’s cooking fancy meals for our friends or having dinners at restaurants – all about good food and quality drinks. Quite a nice development, I’d say. However, once in a while it’s nice to slip back to being 7 or 17:)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Find 10 differences

Estonian Eurovision entry in 2002

Song authors: Laisaar, Paulus, Kotkas
Song: Runaway
Lyrics: Jana Hallas
Stylist: Jana Hallas
Singer: Swedish girl Sahlene

Estonian Eurovision entry in 2006

Song authors: Laisaar, Paulus, Kotkas
Song: Through my window
Lyrics: Jana Hallas
Stylist: Jana Hallas
Singer: Swedish girl Sandra

The songs sound very…I mean VERY similar (I guess it figures, considering the authors), they’ve chosen another unknown pretty Swedish girl to sing it, the simplicity of the lyrics is strikingly similar, the clothes’ style of the singer – asymmetric dress with a metal belt etc – almost exactly the same. People, people, the last try was 4 years ago, I really expected some development, some (any) changes…Maybe I should look at it from a more positive point of view – there are things in life that never change – kind of gives you the feeling of stability:)

(Thanks to all my friends who helped along in discovering the similarities, though I could have done it alone as well, I mean, a 5-year-old could have done it:)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Road trip

This weekend took me to southern part of Estonia and without really planning it this way, it kind of turned out to be a road trip through my beautiful country. In a way we made a whole loop – taking one way from north to south, cruising around a bit and taking another road back (Tallinn-Tartu-Otepää-Kuutsemäe-Tõrva- Viljandi-Tallinn).
(For the ones wondering how is this possible in one weekend…better take a look on the map to see the size of Estonia:) I had another realization of why I haven’t left Estonia to go live somewhere else….even if I say so myself, the nature here is absolutely gorgeous. The population density being as small as it is you can drive on the smaller roads for the whole morning and see only a couple of random cars, or none at all. You can see miles and miles of untouched snow on the fields and forests with big trees covered with snow. You can pull over, run on the fields and make a snow angel…I think I should get out of town more:)
Another thing is that Estonia is filled with weirdly named places. On this trip alone we came across Mõru (Bitter), Mõnnaste (sth like Pleasantville? or Comfytown), we even found Kabala (welcome Madonna and the rest of the followers!). Formerly I’ve also been to places called Muusika ( Music), Kohatu (Noplace), Tapa (Kill), Ihamaru (Luststorm), Põrgu (Hell), lots and lots of places ending with …vere (blood)….gotta love my country:)