After Zsolt had finished recanting his history I felt what I expected through his oratory. Degrading. Annihilation. Persecution. Humiliation. Holocaust.
My instinctive reply to Zsolt’s outburst was simple. “That’s a unique way to start a conversation Zsolt.” “Yeah, well it’s true. Nazi scumbags”.
It was a nice wine, a vintage wine. I then noticed a subtle nod and a glance from Janos resulting in Zsolt, my favourite waiter in The Boscolo, appearing with a tray, two fresh glasses and another bottle of wine. I’d known Zsolt since I started visiting this hotel. A fine chap and the occasional display of humour. All the ingredients required after a hard day’s graft. Well, almost. Zsolt sat down as Janos stood up and walked away. No glance, no ‘goodbye’, nothing. He just walked away. I was rather surprised.
For many years during my business travels I had actually come to believe that the city’s culture made the people. London for their cockneys, Paris for their Parisian arrogance, New York for its brazen dry humour to mention a few. Even capitals such as Caracas or Copenhagen or Cairo…in all of these cities the culture of the people reflected the culture of their cities.
A recent business visit to Budapest offered many things from this culturally enlightened city. Too much for the limited free time I had during the visit.
One of my local hosts had emailed me some “things to do” – pubs, restaurants, museums etc. Most of the items were a 3 word title in a bulleted list, some with a handful of words.
Except one. It had two sentences comprising 53 words. I said to my host, “this is meant to be different?”
I had never heard of this place so there was no preparation. All I had was some historical knowledge, a place to visit and a desire to write.
Some knowledge of a troubled past. A place to visit on Andrassy Boulevard. To write about the House of Terror.