Hate at First Sight (Hungary)

Hungary ~ Budapest – 2014

I hadn’t been to Hungary in well over five years, so on this recent trip to eastern Europe I was hoping for a different experience with more mature eyes…for those of you who didn’t read it before, this was my last encounter with the country:- “scrotum-stares-hungary” I mean the name says it all…but it’s still probably worth a quick read just so you are up to speed!

Anyway, rest assured I had my fingers crossed hoping that there would be a lot less scrotums this time around, and a little less staring if possible! Well the short version is that I didn’t see any scrotums on this adventure (automatic huge plus!), but the staring was at threat level midnight! This time there was a lot more hostility to the gazes, I think it was due to the fact that I was now a young man…so therefore probably fair game, perhaps when I was a child they didn’t think it was so acceptable to give me the type of look that suggests they want to rip off my head and use it as an ornament, or more likely – an ash tray.

Hostile GIF

As my brother and I walked around it became clear that the male portion of the population were the most forthright in their glares – they sneered, growled, and made every other caveman-ish attempt to make us feel uncomfortable. We stood out I guess, the native’s clothes looked like they had been purchased in the early 90s…usually the look was completed with a raggedy mullet curling down the flabby neck of its owner – so in comparison, despite the fact we were just wearing shirts and dark jeans, in their eyes we may as well have been wearing Elton John style glitter jackets. This is largely conjecture, but we came to the conclusion that they probably thought we were two young homosexual chaps on a nice week break together…and that they would try and laser-eye the homosexuality out of us, or at least make us feel sufficiently uncomfortable with the whole thing. Hard to enjoy licking an ice cream cone, with 20 bigoted men staring at your every movement. Very awkward. 

On the subway we took to staring at the ground, pretending we were not aware of the blatant display of hatred – in our hometown it was pretty much the same drill in certain areas. Both places were filled with people who will aggressively stare, and if you even glance at them it will be all, “are you looking at me?! You want to start something?! Someone hold my brain I’m going to fuck this cheeky bastard up!!!” I can’t speak Hungarian, but I imagine it is pretty much the same, word for word. One time we stepped on the train, cue hateful stares of course – but this time we were also met with a strange gypsy-looking lady humming a bizarre tune loudly to the rest of the cramped carriage…I assumed she was asking for money for her performance, but nope…she was just rocking back and forth wailing out of her lungs…this would make a great eerie tune on a horror movie sequence, I thought to myself…but was cut short from this imaginary sequence by a mustached man in front of me – he pointed at my trainers, so naturally I looked down…maybe my laces were untied, or a bird had shit on them or something…nothing…I looked back at him, and he pointed again – oh God, leave me alone – I shook my head, and looked away, wondering if my ear drums would explode anytime soon so I wouldn’t have to be subjected to the lady’s groaning tune anymore –

“JUST LOOK, JUST LOOK!”

I knew it was him. I took my time to turn to face him, and even when I did it was with a slow robotic movement…I didn’t want to have anything more to do with him, but perhaps if I didn’t give him drips of conversation he would pin me down and make me listen to the harpy-lady’s song for the rest of time. And I couldn’t take that. He made gestures that insinuated he wanted me to take of my shoes, and give them to him…you know, just so he could look.

Oh my God, I am going to be beaten up and robbed for my trainers…I’ll have to walk back to the flat in my socks…I bet there will be loads of little stones that are mildly uncomfortable to tread on…oh God, no…just FUCK OFF, comb your mustache, slap a Gran, go cow-tipping, something, anything – whatever you do – JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!!!

So scared GIF

I shot him a confused look, that in my head would be perfect Oscar-winning acting…”I done, I done no…what you say…when…I done” I stammered to him slowly, even introducing my hands and shoulders, to further emphasise just how little sense his broken English was making to me…in my head I was Russian…but I suppose it doesn’t really matter, so long as he didn’t run off with my Nike Airs.

We arrived at a station, the doors opened – and the majority of the cabin flooded out together, they had been some kind of strange collective group…the strange singing lady, the burly sneaker thief, and the rest of his staring entourage. I breathed a heavy sigh of relief…as did my shoes.

Stepped in shit on the way back to the flat though, go figure – should have left him have em after all! 

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81 thoughts on “Hate at First Sight (Hungary)

  1. You have the weirdest experiences.
    It must be so awesome to have gone to so many countries!
    Also, you should be glad you didn’t let him have them if you stepped in shit afterwards..your sneakers were the only form of protection for your feet

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Oh my god! Ha, ha, ha! Nice going, Russian boy! I always think if I was to feign being foreign or not knowing English, somebody would see right through it, further adding to the wild discomfort of some freakish encounter. Instead I rely on half-smiles, vague nods, and head shakes, hoping they’ll move along. (They never do.)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think a lot depends on your attitude to the world – you get what you are searching for.

    Let me tell you that I have no idea what you’re talking about here, but I guess there are weird people in every country. I’ll help you out a little though: you forgot to mention that in general, Hungarians are warm-hearted, welcoming, open-minded and kind to strangers. =)

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love the positive attitude! And I think you are right! It’s just unfortunate that every time I have visited (maybe three or four times in the past ten years) every smile I have gave has been returned with a hateful glare 😦 well most…as always I am not trying to make sweeping generalizations, just giving my experience 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I second that. I have been living in Budapest for 1.5 years and I have no clue what this dude is talking about. Besides Budapest, I have met nothing but lovely people all over Hungary. I don’t speak much Hungarian and in the countryside, usually only meet Hungarians that can’t speak English, but pretty much all of them have been super friendly. For 1.5 years, and visited twice before, never got hateful stares.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, with such a ridiculous story, I was scratching my head thinking, “is this dude serious or is he playing?”. Figured it was the latter, but had to inquire.

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      • I’ve enjoyed my experiences there for the most part, otherwise I wouldn’t have returned on numerous occasions! 🙂 I have ran into certain negative features but I put it down to being a young man (or something, who knows?)

        I’ve never been outside of Budapest mind, I’m sure the countryside is lovely ~ are there many scenic routes?

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  4. How come you manage to bag the most fascinating stories even with simple actions? Must be a prophesy upon your life many centuries ago.Enjoyed your post like always!

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    • Its a perspective. Best way to visualize it, think about a photo or an amazing moment that no one else around you has seen or heard about but only you know it. The acts are simple but they make on heck of a great story to share. Like for example: I was in a fabric shop surrounded by a bunch older ladies, going though my supply list when next to me two Amish guys were talking about Victoria’s Secret and their lacey underwear.

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      • Thanks for the tip Jennifer.I guess perspective makes all the difference in telling a story.And also presenting the events in a way the readers will feel they were along with you on that journey makes the story more fascinating.You are definitely right.

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  5. I’ve been to Budapest twice, and I’ve never had that experience. I did get a few stares, but then I figured that this was simply because I was a minority and looked different. Actually quite enjoyed the city, but I suspect you travelled to other outposts.

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    • I always notice the stares, as did my brother this time around – maybe I am over-sensitive! When I tell my parents, friends, or anyone else about it, they always say they don’t know what I am talking about! Humph!

      Anyway, it is a beautiful city, which is why I have been a few times of course!

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  6. I love your blog! It always makes me want to quit med school and take to travelling, so don’t be surprised if a huge man knocks at your door demanding answers. Probably just my dad! 😉

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  7. Hahaa,your experience reminded me few of my bad journeys. I had a great time reading your blog and found some portion really hilarious especially the part where you scream “I done, I done no…what you say…when…I done”. Keep writing and thanks for sharing this awful experience.

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  8. Despite the fact that I’m incredibly sorry for the problems you faced, can I just go ahead and say this was hilarious. It’s like I had a grin glued to my face the entire time while reading it (which scared my mother a little).

    Anyway, amazing blog post! Going to read more. 😀

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  9. Well hello there, you beautiful person, you! nope i’m handsome dude hehe….

    thanks for visiting my blog and liking my post, hope the rest of the trip went better and enjoying your life, coz life is never flat… (is that right? sorry my english is porr) 🙂

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  10. Interesting style of writing! thanks for dropping by my blog. Encouragement from the blogosphere is always welcome 😀 happy travels!

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  11. You seem to have quite a problem with starers. Lol. I understand your pain bud…I really do.

    You are correct. They stare, stare and stare some more. When you look back, you are the one with the problem. Lol

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    • You know, now you bring attention to it – I really think I do, something must be interesting about me to these people, wonder what it is? That FREAKS me out though man, you know if you stare back, but they keep up the stare…It’s just bizarre at best, and downright petrifying at the worst!

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  12. Have you been to Prague? I feel the same things there! I encounter the dirtiest looks, I’m surrounded by people in 80s/90s attire with mullet and all (even the women and children), crocs galore, and a sense of hostility for no apparent reason aside from being a foreigner. Even when I shoot people a smile they roll their eyes or look away and continue to stew in their bitterness. I will never understand…

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    • No, but I am glad to hear (not glad…but you know…) that it isn’t just me with this staring thing! Some people have been like “what are you talking about?!” So I thought maybe I just had a stain on my shirt, or dirt on my nose, every time I went there, perhaps that is why they felt I was so interesting, and the reason I should get such crazy (and yes, hostile) stares! I have heard good things about Prague…and there are certainly a bunch of reasons a person should visit Budapest. But seriously, I am relieved, I thought I was going crazy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah I know what you mean! Many expats I’ve met in Prague agree (with the occasional “you’re just paranoid” comment). I think I noticed it when I visited Budapest but I’d also been in Prague so long that I must have gotten used to it!

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