Day 284

Having walked for two absolutely glorious weeks through Prague, Vienna, Budapest — and back to Prague now — I have a few questions and a couple of suggestions for this  triumvirate of Habsburg Empire capital cities, which I offer with complete modesty to their rulers and general citizenry:



1. Why does your money all look alike? It’s very confusing to Americans who come here and want to spend it! Color coded money would be s-o-o-o much simpler (and dare I say more considerate?). How about green for Austria, Blue for Prague, and Black for Hungry? If you can’t do that, then would you please advise your wait staff not to cringe (or growl) when we offer Hungarian forint to pay the bar bill in Prague? Because after a few drinks, it really all looks the same!

2. Your money looks alike, but your languages sound so different. What’s UP with that? And what do the Hungarians have against vowels?  I xzcyuzii! you should zcxpvoiuOK?

3. Since the communists punched the joy out of Hungary  but apparently left Czech pub life intact, I think it’s only fair that Prague  send some of their happy tourists and students over to Budapest on a rotating basis, where they can drop forint like pennies for big fat mugs of beer. What about a 3-day Prague-Budapest pub crawl. From what I’ve seen here in the morning,  any kid drinking Red Bull and Rum doesn’t need to sleep anyway.

Your Tuition Dollars Hard at Work in Prague

4.HOWEVER, those students and visitors will have to be accompanied by a translator, or maybe a body guard, until the Hungarians warm up to them. How else will the tourists be able to avoid being stopped in the metro stop just below the international bus terminal, and instructed to pay a 23 euro penalty before leaving the underground and going home — as we were forced to do!?

Caught on my camera phone! What's up with those ARMBANDS!?

You’ve never been strong-armed until you’ve been swarmed by metro police and grabbed by a Hungarian woman in a blue arm band, saying “your passport lady, your passport!”

5. Which leads to my final proposal: I think we should all admit that while Vienna has unbelievable arts and culture, Prague has a history that requires frequent use of the word BOHEMIA and a cityscape that looks like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale, and the Turkish baths in Budapest are an AMAZING way to spend a day, when it comes right down to it, American’s civil rights are the best in the world (yes, yes, if you are middle class and white,  but that’s another story isn’t it?). Which is why I didn’t hand over my passport – and I never will.