From high in the Buda hills...

Budapest is the new Prague, which was the new Paris, which was just plain Paris, and forever Paris because that's what Paris is. And Prague is known for its own magic, which may be what has drawn frat boys from all over the world. In Sofia the people wore dark jeans and mostly dark clothing, solids. Here the people dress baggier and more fashionably and there are a million young people walking around so that it seems like Wrigleyville, where I live. The drunks aren't quite as obnoxious, though. The people are bigger and more well-fed, as are the cars. I don't take note of brands, but the cars are more substantial-looking here and I saw a very long limo the length of half a city block. When I was here 10 years ago I used to keep a log on number of dachshunds vs. number of cell phones. Now the cell phones are definitely winning. I just saw two dachshounds today. One beagle, my first on this trip. I also saw black people. I saw not a one in Bulgaria or Serbia.
There is much angry-looking graffiti here, scrawled all over empty display windows under a cannonade. Adults wear shorts here, and sandals, espcially (for the men) with black socks. There are many bike riders, though few with helmets. The feeling is that this town is here to provide food and drink and fun for anyone who can afford it, and most of all to the young. There are sidewalks filled with cafes and you can see people plugged into their iPods. One street corners you can see the slogan of the right-wing party stenciled on the cement. Like everywhere in Europe, there is a crazy scary party that's popular. The buildings are so solid and heavy that I thought of course they're that way to make the people of the Austro-Hungarian empire feel they were subjects. My friend V said they were not built this way for that reason. Still, it's interesting to think of Paris' graceful buildings, and these heavy, imposing ones. Tonight is Wednesday and people were partying like it was the weekend. It is summer, in the new Europe. V offered me President's cheese today and I think it's the same brand we get at the Jewel. I said it was surprising to see it in Hungary, and she said, This isn't Hungary, it's Europe.
So it is.