As a consequence of a whole day of trekking around Budapest, it has been clearly driven home to me that
I am a senior citizen
I am a foreigner in a strange land
I am straight with a capital “S”.
Now that I have your undivided attention I will write a few thoughts first, then explain myself as clearly and objectively as any member of the present cabinet in our egalitarian country.
There has not been a single tourist attraction which charges admission, that has not assumed I am entitled to a Senior discount. Indeed despite warning that concession tickets will only be provided with correct ID, be it student or pensioner, I have never been asked to show proof of age! I toy with the idea of trying to confuse and confront the box office staff by explaining that I am a mature age student. The poor staff are stressed enough with the wheelbarrow loads of Hungarian Forints that are required for entry. The last of the Russian thought police left as late as 1991, so decide not to push my luck.
I have commented favourably on the lack of foreign tourists in Budapest and indeed it is possible that the featherless-fur-topped-oriental-biped, may becoming an endangered species? They usually migrate in huge flocks but inexplicably, have been known en masse to plunge over cliffs on isolated sandy bays as far a field as the Gold Coast in Queensland. They have an uncanny ability to navigate and are never seen, in Australia at least, out side of Sydney, Ayres Rock and Cairns. A unique experiment conducted last year compared 100 in whom their ipads, a sort of homing device, had been delicately excised, compared to 100 with an intact iPad. Those with their ipads removed, were subsequently found, obviously disiorientated as far a field as Kangaroo Island, whilst one was found near death on the Nullabour Plains.
It would be of intense interest to David Attenborough and indeed to Charles Darwin were he still alive, to discover the rapidity with which evolution has made remarkable changes to the featherless-fur-topped-oriental-biped. Within the space of 2 at most 3 years, many have developed an obvious protrubance around the anterior shoulder and arm (either side) which will extend quite dramatically and often without warning. The reason or advantage for this was shrouded in mystery for a few years and it was not until a lone animal was secretly video-ed at dawn on Bondi Beach with this protuberance, phallic like and fully extended with an iPad at the tip! There is still debate about what this behaviour achieves. The most obvious hypothesis is that it is a mating ritual, a sort of “here I am, don’t I look fabulous, come and get me’.
But I digress, I am certainly instantly recognised, not only as an old man, but a foreigner plus tourist and therefore wealthy. I am enticed into shops to buy, I am approached by numerous young men flashing what appears to be an Apple iPhone 6 in cellophane wrap and available to buy at an insanely cheap price. A cheap Apple product is an oxymoron! Just as there have been since time immemorial cheap imitation swiss watches, so we can look forward to the Apple equivalent and with the same expectations for reliability.
Now, to respond to the howls of doubt and derision from the likes of Peter James-Martin, I present evidence of my Hungarian masculinity. My hotel, excellent situation almost on the Danube, I discovered over the last two evenings, is also smack bang in the middle of the red-light district. Meandering home after a couple of late nights walking along the Danube embankment, I am accosted on each and every night by young women who are keen to “get to know me” and “give me a good time”. I try various excuses: “too tired”, “not interested” and the ultimate untruth : “too many beers”. I must be secreting testosterone by the bucket load, as a semi circle of Hungarian mistresses are becoming more moist with every passing minute and I fear that I will be woman-handled to the asphalt. I pull my ultimate weapon out of my pocket… NO not that one, and in a squeaky high pitched voice explain that I have a boyfriend and he would not be impressed if I acquiesced. There is stunned silence, then one madam questions ‘you have a BOYFRIEND?” Yes I retort, and to a woman they all exclaim “we don’t believe you”!
It was so easy and as the Hon Christopher Pyne stated so succinctly ” I Fixed it, I am a FIXER!”
I carried on home intact.
Saint Stephens Basilica
Saint Stephens at night
Interior of Basilica – i attended a concert about which i shall write some more later