Sunday, February 17, 2013

Exploring Budapest for 2 Hours

Got to explore the center of the city a little bit.  In fact, only the Pest side of the city.  Apparently the name Budapest is composed of the name of the two cities neighboring the Danube: Buda and Pest.My colleagues and I got a Hop On Hop Off bus tour for $25 that is valid for two days and allows you take a boat tour as well.  I thought it was quite a good deal.
We embarked after the general sessions of the Sales Meeting I am attending and presenting at during this trip. Got to visit a couple monuments and few buildings that looked old, but were only from 1800s.  One of my colleagues, K.C. and I, hop off at Heroes' Square to explore on foot.  There were some statues and then a bridge below which, on the frozen platform, people were ice skating.  It was real neat to watch. Then there was a garden with a few old buildings and a church, all old looking but only from 1800s which was interesting to me.
When we got back to the station K.C. realized that he had lost his ticket.  So we got to explore some sections of the city on foot.  It was right around noon and not too cold so it actually turned out nicely.
We had a quick lunch at a Turkish Halal buffet-like place.  At the counter the guy said marhaba to me, meaning welcome in Arabic.  So I responded back: marhaba.  And ordered a large Turkish tea as I was somewhat freezing.  He asked if I was Iranian!  I confirmed but asked how he knew and he responded from the color of my skin and my accent!!  I had hardly said anything and I was sure compared to the rest of European and Middle Easterners I had a more American accent than not.  So was puzzled until I realized the accent he was referring to was my Arabic accent in saying marhaba.  The food was real good and I got to chat a bit deeper than ever with K.C. which was real nice.
Close to the hotel there was a park with a local market we got to go through with no cash in our pockets.  Otherwise there were many interesting things and delicious looking foods we had to pass on.
I have a more appreciation for the city now.  I hope to come back with M and A and the baby enshala.

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