The Budapest Adventure Part 4

Learning from our mistakes on the first day, we prepared better for the next days. We stuck to Metro as our preferred transportation method, and also brought with us enough water to see us through the day. The water bit is particularly important, because when we were there Budapest was scorching hot under the summer sun.

The continent surely know how to do summer properly, Britain needs to learn from it.

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Our next museum was Hungarian National Museum. I think it would be silly if we don’t visit this museum, purely because it is the Hungarian National Museum. It is like going to London, and not taking a moment to see British Museum. But I have to say, Hungarian National Museum is no British Museum, I personally think the Hungarian National Museum is much much better.

They have a wonderfully organised exhibit with a focused theme — all about Hungary, and a lot of interesting articles — lots of blings! But nothing impressed both of us more than the building itself. The museum interior was beautiful, with high, painted ceiling, and well maintained decorations. They’ve got a clean, and friendly cafe on the lower ground floor, which sold a really tasty Dobos Torte and a cup of high quality coffee that even a Grumpy coffee connoisseur like my travelling companion would appreciate.

One thing, though… you are not allowed to take photos inside, unless you pay for the photo permit. I am not sure about it, but we didn’t get ourselves a photo permit… sorry, I think you should visit the museum yourselves.

From the museum, we took a walk — under the shade — to see the Danube.

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I mean, I would be a seriously lousy tourist if I didn’t see the Danube while in Budapest. However, I have to be honest with you, going to the Danube during the day might not give us the same kind of magic as going there during the evening. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay too long there. Maybe we should come back some times in the future?

As we’re walking along the Danube on the Pest side of Budapest, we could see the Buda Castle, and its furnicular. Apparently the furnicular is one of the “things to do” in Budapest, but I see it as I see London’s Eye. If you have extra cash on the budget, please be a generous tourist. We didn’t, so we skipped that bit for this time… like I said, maybe some times in the future?

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What we wanted to see as we walked along the river is the shoes. Shoes? Yes! I am talking about pairs of copper shoes on the river side. It is the artwork as a remembrance of the holocaust victim who were killed and thrown away to the Danube, during the wartime.

We did take our time there, not too long because none of us did well under the sun. We walked away, having a little discussion about the war.

From where the shoes are, we went to the Hungarian house of Parliament. I wanted to go inside, as I went inside Holyrood and loving it. But, the entrance fee to enter the building was a bit steep for a non EU citizen like myself — while an EU citizen (at least for now) like Grumpy could get a half price discount. So we just enjoyed the building from outside.

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This place is definitely worth visiting. Even if you are skint like me, and couldn’t afford to get inside, sitting outside and enjoyed the court was very much enjoyable. The parliament building is a magnificent architectural piece, and the court with garden and fountain is clean, quiet, and refreshingly calming. Best of all, there is no closing time for the court and garden, so you can visit anytime.

 

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The Holyrood…

If you do believe that you have to go to Westminster when you visit London, then for the same reason you should believe that you have to go to Holyrood when you visit Edinburgh. I am not comparing London and Edinburgh, although I did mention that originally I thought Edinburgh is just the Northern version of London.

Of course it is not, for example… as mentioned in the previous post, people in Edinburgh are kinder, and friendlier.

But if you think Westminster is important, it is not fair if you don’t see the same kind importance of Holyrood. Of course, I am talking about the two houses of Parliament. Uhm… is that how you said it? What is the plural form of “House of Parliament“? Is it “Houses of Parliament” or “House of Parliaments“?

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This is the Parliament House looks like if you approach it through Royal Mile
Anyway…

I think I made it too obvious before that I kind of interested in politics a bit. So, I made it my mission — weeks before my visit to Edinburgh, that I had to visit the Scottish Parliament Building. Since on BBC it’s been called Holyrood so many times, I made the assumption that it is located in Holyrood road. I mean… deduction process, hello?

BUT, to be honest, it is easier to find it if you get there through Royal Mile.

BUT, BUT, I think, if you decide to visit the Parliament House, you should still do it through Holyrood road. And this is why…

The Dynamic Earth

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I am not really sure why it is called so, but I think it is one hell of a modern architecture. It is an amphiteathre, and I kind of think it is meant to be used to host big events. When I was there, it was a little bit too early in the morning, so I don’t think it was open for public yet. The bright side: an obsturcted view, perfect for panoramic mode photoshoot.

Dynamic Earth is located in the end of Holyrood Road. It might seem like a dead end, but if you go further, you could see a little passage that would take you closer to the Parliament House, which would be just on your left hand side.

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And this is what you’ve got if you approach through Holyrood Road. Massive difference. You’re welcome…
But this is why I said you should approach the Parliament House through Holyrood Road, because, if you didn’t go straight to the left, you would see a kind of ampitheatric-ish garden where you can sit and nom your snack. Please do enjoy some view there, especially when the sun is shining, and you realise that you are protected by the massive range of mountains around you.

Walk straight ahead.

“But… But the Parliament House is on the left…,” I heard you say. Yes, Dear… a little detour won’t hurt. Afterall, like I said, there are good reasons why you took Holyrood road earlier, didn’t I?

Yes, you are heading to The Palace of Holyroodhouse.

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To be fair, I am taking photos from a locked gate… I can’t make it better even if I tried… Sorry…
Or Holyrood Palace, in short. And if the name hasn’t given up the clue for you yet… It is a palace. Like Buckingham, or Kensington, or Sandringham… but this is in Holyrood, and it is open for public. Not for free, and for some extra you can even get an access to The Queen’s Gallery.

 

Me? I had a mission, remember? So I just took some photos, and get back on track.

I was lucky, though. I didn’t look up the opening times for the Parliamen House. Heck, I didn’t know that it was open for public. Yes for general plebs like you and I. Even for some lost aliens like me. I came a bit early, but apparently I came when it did open early. Like I said, I was lucky.

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From the Parliament House, looking out. There you go… the Queen’s Gallery…
It is pretty understandable that the security process was tight. I am not surprised that it is going to be even tighter after the explosion in Manchester last week. There is a guided tour there if you want, but since I was alone, I thought it would be a bit silly to ask for a guided tour. You can see the exhibition in the hall, but not all sections of the building are open for public — obviously.

I was kind of hoping that I would see, or even take a selfie with MSP Ruth Davidson, but apparently I wasn’t that lucky. Maybe next time…

 

The Rules

I like watching NCIS. Grumpy introduced me to this series few years ago, and we’ve been watching it since. The rerun, the new one, everything. Sometimes, I even remember the whole plot just to watch the first three minutes of the episode… but I watch it anyway. The same applies when I watch Agatha Christie’s Poirot with David Suchet as Poirot, or Miss Marple for that matter… I think they’ve done the characters really well.

Back to NCIS, without any intention to spoil anything, there is Gibbs. He’s the main hero of the show — the old guy who does his thing, and does it well. I have to say that if you think about it, Gibbs is just an average guy, he’s not on the top of the pyramid, but he’s still the boss for a lot of brilliant agents. He’s not the one with the ultimate power to make it happen, but he can still tell his people what to do without having to do everything himself. And we like this guy…

One thing about Gibbs that I like the most is his set of “Gibbs’ Rules”. Gibbs lives by the set of rules such as: never ever screw over your partner, or never get personally involved to a case. I like that a lot. I think everybody needs to learn from Gibbs about this rule-making business. I believe that everybody needs a set of rules for their lives — in fact, I have been trying to write down some rules for myself too (but that’s for much later).

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Why, though? I heard you asked, why would you need to make rules?

Like I said just now, I think people needs to have a set of rules. Of course we don’t need to make rules for every single little thing we do in life, but we definitely need some ground rule to follow. Imagine a manual book… Every proper machine comes with a manual book, shame that we don’t when we were born. But we can write one, can’t we?

True that we don’t need that manual book for everything. We don’t always refer to our smartphone manual book every time we turn it on, or make a phone call, do we? We turn to manual book when things go wrong. We turn to our manual book when things are not what they are supposed to be. We use the information in the manual book to troubleshoot, and I think that’s exactly the set of rules should be done.

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Gibbs rule “never ever leave without a knife”, for example. Is a very practical rule that he could always refer to — as a ex-marine, that makes sense. My dad has his own rule too, almost similar to Gibbs “always have cash with you”. Very practical, and have saved us several times from the embarrassment of broken card machine. I am pretty sure these two wise gentlemen have learned from life before coming to these rules.

I am still writing my rules… I believe my father is still revising his everyday too. I can tell you one of my rules, though: “never go shopping with empty stomach”. What do you think about that?

Politics

I have never heard anyone said openly that they like politics, even politicians. The most I heard from common people who I know is that they are interested in politics. I am not sure what’s wrong with politics, but I think there is a certain negative image about politics, and I think bad politicians have something to do with this negative attitude towards politics.

But I do love politics. I think it is one very important part of our life, and whether you want it or not, it affects a lot of aspects in your life. I think it is impossible to escape from it unless you are living alone in an uncharted territory, and you don’t have to trade or make contact with any society.

I don’t always like it though. I used to think that politics is synonymous with dirty. But like hacking — they have white hat and black hat, I think politics is the same. There are people who use politics to make personal gain, but there are plenty who use politics genuinely to help people. Read history, you will find plenty of examples: toppling down dictators, protecting women and children from exploitation at work or domestic abuse, the rights to marry someone regardless their religion, race, or sexual orientation.

Politics gives you the chance to change something. Or keep something as it is. It is THAT important, it affects how you go to work, how your business could expand, how your children get their education… So, I feel terribly sad when people say that they don’t care about politics. How can they?

I came from a very different world than the UK. I believe they’re catching up, but I think there is still a long way to go before the political situation could reach the level of stability we have in the UK. It’s okay, any progress is better than no progress at all. I am saying this from experience — how things were when I was very very young.

We were under a nasty dictator for 32 years. Until my preteen, he was the only president I knew. And even then I knew you don’t speak ill of him. Even then I knew that there are a lot of people disappeared from the face of the earth after speaking up about his government. I didn’t know why but I know that the five-yearly election is a sham — the winner is definitely the party that supported the president at that time, so… why bother voting? You don’t talk politics… it is either dangerous, or useless. People learned to be apathetic, and adapted to this political oppression.

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After 32 years with that, it is like Stockholm Syndrome to many of the citizens. Especially the older generation who lives longer with the oppressor. Sometimes I heard them longing for the “stability”, that “someone is taking control of the country”, and that “there are less thing to worry about”. They forgot that with freedom there are rights and responsibilities, and they come hand in hand.

I think some people just forget to count their blessings. A lot of people from the first world countries like the UK take their freedom in politics for granted. This general election is one of the perfect example — people are openly telling people that they could not be bothered to vote or even get themselves registered as an electorate. Why? Because all politicians are the same? Because they think that their voice don’t count?

I don’t have the right to vote in the UK, because I am not (yet?) a citizen of this country. But I would love to. I would love to have the rights to get the person who has got the better plan how to run the country in the government. I would like the rights to moan, complain, and protest… or even feel smug when the person I voted for do something incredibly cunning. I want that. I want that very much, thank you,

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So, for the sake of the country I am living in right now… If you are a UK citizen, please vote. Please go to wherever they told you where to go to, so you can exercise your rights and at the same time do your responsibility for your country. Or, you can get it posted, if you wish. And if even if you don’t have anyone you want on the ballot paper, just go there, and write something on it — “Stephen Fry, for PM” for example. Just get yourself heard…

Enough from this Alien today.

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The Scapegoat

From the place where I came from, I was never considered skinny. It might sound alien to you, but where I came from we have a completely different standard of skinniness than here in the UK. To be fair, this standard of beauty always varies so it is impossible to follow every single one of them. I prefer a standard that can be quantified, something that you can put in number — something that is more universal and objective, not just “in the eye of beholder” kind of standard. In this case, I prefer using BMI as a standard.

I am not going to make arguments about the relevance of BMI, or how this archaic standard should not be used in today’s society. Yada. Yada. I don’t think BMI is perfect, but as a general measurement tool, it is pretty much do what it says on the tin. So, move on…

In the beginning of last year, I found out that my BMI was pushing the end of the green limit, and I didn’t like what I saw on the scale. I can’t say that I was shocked either, because to be honest, one should be able to see the signs when one can no longer fit to the jeans one used to love so much. But as much as it didn’t shock me, it still left me with questions: how the hell I got myself to this bloody point? And I kind of blame it on my contraception pills.

See, at that time I thought contraception pill was the logical explanation of the weight gain. It is logical because I have read a lot of articles, and have met a lot of people who gained weight after taking pills. And it was very easy to explain too. Pills affected the hormones, the hormones affected the metabolism system, and metabolism system affected how your body processed food that you ate. It was reasonable to think that the pill caused the weight gain.

So last year I stopped taking the pills and opt for a non hormonal contraception method. (I don’t want to argue about contraception either, I am not here to preach or to be bloody preached about that sort of stuff… so jog bloody on. ) And voila… with the help of calorie counting, I ditched that extra flabs, and go back to my old fabs.

But few weeks ago, I found out that I might be wrong to blame the pills. I have a written evidence that I was already THAT heavy a year before I started taking the pills. I realised I blamed the pills, because it was conveniently explain how I balooned. It is easier to blame something when you get fat… like blaming the situation: the fat genes (yeah, nothing you can do about it..), the big bones (maybe she’s born with it… ), the change of weather or lifestyle when I first move to the UK (food here are different and fattier…). Or blaming someone else: the government because they don’t give cheap and healthy food, the fast food companies for making food so tasty and cheap and fattening, the media for whatever (people do love blaming the media, so why not?).

The real reason…

Yes, it is very convenient if we always have scapegoat for everything, isn’t it? Failed to finish NaNoWriMo? Well, it is easier to blame it on the hard break up that made you cry day and night for 30 days so you cannot focus on writing than to admit that you actually spending so much time on NCIS marathon… no, tv series marathon, not actual marathon which is probably more productive and beneficial for your health. Can’t get a bloody job? Well, it is easier to blame it on the government and the immigrants for stealing the jobs by willing to do harder work for less money obviously, than to admit that you are actually underqualified for the job, but overestimate yourself, and extremely demanding worker… I mean if you are an employer, you make it very easy for them to make a choice, don’t you?

Losing an election? Blame it on the population, calling them stupid, or ignorant, or gullible. It is easier to do that than to admit how you have ignored their genuine worry about illegal immigration, the rise of the radicals, and instead of taking it in and think about how to resolve the problem you go back to them and call them unreasonable and paranoid. You think they’re going to vote for you when you do that? And you’re surprised you end up with Brexit? Or Trump? Or maybe next week… even Le Pen? It is easier to blame on these so called populists than to realise that you are actually losing touch with your own people, isn’t it?

Yeah… that doesn’t surprise me at all. Blaming others, and scapegoating is pretty much what people do. What surprised me is that I fell on the same pit too. I thought I was one of these special people who “get it”. Knowing how stupid and irresponsible it is to just blame others for something that happened because of our own doing doesn’t mean I couldn’t make the same mistake. Apparently, I am not immune to that, and realising that makes me think what else that I have done?

Pretty heavy eh?

That’s Monday for you…