Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May the fourth be with you!

One of the shifty advantages of being five or six hours ahead of anyone across the pond who might tune in, (and I'm beginning to realise there are in fact others in other times zones.  Sorry, I don't mean to exclude anyone.)  is that my feeble brain has a chance to get the jump on any quirky time related foolishness such as April Fools day or any of those bits of silliness.
I realise the title is lame.
I'm sorry.
Sort of.
However,  there's some sort of "one-upmanship" when it comes to this particular little bit of nonsense.  It's always best to be the first one to offer these well wishes.   For example,  just before my daughter headed out the door this morning to visit more touristy spots here in Wienerland  I said,  "Oh, and by the way,  May the fourth be with you."  to which she replied with her best Homer Simpson style "D'oh!  It's May the fourth isn't it!!"

I can't explain it.  It just is.

Fine,  we've got that out of the way.

It's probably going to upset the one and only friend I have who is of Hungarian heritage,  but I have to say I'm not so sure I'd be willing to go back to Budapest.  Yes,  I realised we only scratched the surface,  but the problem is,  unless you have someone right there on your arm who can translate and or guide you through the sights,  it's all very bewildering.
At least in Italy I stood a chance due to the similarities in language.   I even stand a half decent chance in Slovenia,  having studied a little Russian those many years ago.   Plus of course having been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at one point,  they've "borrowed"  a few words from German.  This is something the Austrians have done as well,  having borrowed a few words right back.
And by the way,  don't try to tell anyone from either side that they've borrowed words!   That's a "danger Will Robinson" right there.  That's like trying to tell the Dutch that they're speaking a German dialect.   Don't go there.

Case in point,  the word for Horseradish in these parts is "Kren".
Sorry boys and girls,  but that's the same word they use in Slovenia.   I can't unequivocally state that the word is Slovenian in origin (not qualified)  but I will say it's a word that Travelling Companion has understood to mean Horseradish since she was a little girl.
Just a reminder,  Slovenian was her first language.

"Meerrettich"  is the word you'll find in most German dictionaries.
At least the ones I have.
Doesn't help a guy like me,  when off to look for Horseradish,  since I've learned most of my German as if it were being spoken and understood by Germans.  Needless to say,  when I finally got up the nerve to ask for said "Meerrettich",  the produce clerk looked at me like I had a big booger hanging off my nose.
Makes a fellow feel somewhat uneasy.

So...Hungarian?   Not sure where to start.

There's nothing to compare it to.

Through some sort of osmosis,  we did manage to pick up some key words,  such as "hid",  which is a bridge (important)  and,  I think that was about it.
OK well, "kastély" is kind of a no brainer,  since it's the word for castle.  Others such as "hotel","múzeum"?  Well, they're not that hard to figure out.

How about "rendőrség"?  

Any clue?   Good thing they had that on the side of the police cars.  I have no idea how to pronounce it so your guess is as good as mine.

Here,  you can chew on this:

Something about a "consortium"  and the bridge.   Oh,  and something happened on May 29th,  2009.  Other than that,  I got nothin'.

In a similar fashion to the Czech Republic,  Hungary is a part of the EU,  but their economy hasn't been deemed strong enough to switch to the Euro.   Many shops will take Euros,  and take you for a ride right along with them.  Things always seemed to be more expensive if you paid in Euros.   Hm.
In the latter part of Saturday afternoon,  we did spot a bank machine and thought we'd try our luck taking out some Forints.
The exchange on the Forint is still a bit of a mystery to me and at the time,  when given the choice between  10,000,  20,000, 50,000  Forints,  we really didn't have a clue what we were doing.  Somehow we had overlooked that little bit of research.   We just figured we'd start off with 10,000 HUFs and see where that would take us.    That's about €37 by the way.   Didn't go far.

So the slightly amusing bit was,  when we did find a store and picked out a couple bottles of wine,  Travelling Companion thought she'd try contesting the rate of exchange that the clerk presented when we realised that we didn't have the proper wheel barrow load of local currency.    I pointed out that the only choices were to either pay,  or leave.
Or choose some cheaper wine.
If you didn't have the local currency,  and they wanted to put the bite on you,  there was really no other recourse.
Accountants.  They're fun aren't they?

I see once again this is turning into a mini thesis,  and that's never been my intent.   Plus I have some shopping to do.   Like that's anything new.

 Tomorrow we'll touch on why I think Vienna is a big vacuum.    (OK,  "hoover"  if you're so inclined)

Y'all come back now.


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Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.