Budapest Part 2

OOHHH SHIT ANOTHER BLOG POST SO FUCKIN SOON!?? WHO IS THIS GUY!?  WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DID YOU DO WITH STEVE!?

Jk ya’ll don’t worry, its the real Steve, of Traveling With Steve fame, just with a lot more time on my hands now that I’m unemployed (things are goin’ great!).  Which pays BIG dividends for you, the loyal blog follower!

Speaking of – the Facebook likes have really dwindled since blog post #1 way back in April and, I hate to bring this up, but that’s why I do this, guys, for the little red noties, hanging there at the top of my screen when I log in like Christmas stockings full of social media validation.  Honestly, you don’t even gotta read the rest of the post, just go back and like it, we’ll both be better off, this is probably gonna be garbage anyway.

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Plenty of pics to break it up though, don’t sweat it, 1 pic per paragraph, that’s my new rule.  New post, new rule, new blog, new Steve! No job!  No job, no problem!  This blog is my livelihood!

Quick recap from last time, I had just finished a day wandering around Budapest with the two pyramid-scheme Polish girls.  Luckily, it wasn’t a complete waste of time, because I did get some sick new travel pics for my Tinder.

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Somebody get this guy some pussy STAT

The next day I went one of those free walking tours of Budapest, which they have in most major European cities, and are great because the tour guides are always like young and cool, and you just tip them however much you want ($0, unless they fuckin’ impress me, I did improv in college), and they’re usually pretty good ways to see the city off the bat.  You learn a lot, its low-key, and most of the tourists are other young people, so you can talk about like, you know, beer and doing coke and stuff.

I took some solid shots of Budapest, much better than the ones from the second deck of the sightseeing bus, go figure:

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St. Stephen’s Basilica

 

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St. Stephen’s Basilica pt. 2

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The Chain Bridge,  Hungary’s equivalent of the Brooklyn Bridge.  I mean, sort of, the Brooklyn Bridge is 300 feet longer, but who’s counting?  Wow, good job Hungary, what a biiiig bridge you got there!

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This is the Pest side of Budapest, taken from the Buda side.  It used to be two cities – that’s the first and only fun fact anyone who’s been to Budapest will ever tell you about it

At the top of this giant hill we climbed, during which our tour guide told us how in Hungarian “pussy pussy” meant like “hello,” I met these two British girls, Sian (pronounced like Sean (Paul) but with a British accent) and Alison (normal), who were in Budapest for the weekend.  There were also these two Indian dudes, one of whom was real fuckin’ weird.

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Weird Indian dude in purple, normal Indian dude next to him, there’s the two British girls back there, and literally everyone else in this picture is a Chinese tourist

The rest of the tour was pretty good, idk I’d get into the stuff we saw but I really don’t remember much that I learned about it and nobody really cares to read me rehash it anyway, look it up if you care so goddamn much, here:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budapest

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What you really care about is the PICS, that’s what keeps em comin’ back!

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BOOM here’s another one, that’s the sexy sexy Parliament building, third largest in the world, yeah that lil’  trivia tidbit’s for free, don’t forget to like!

Later on I went up to the top of St. Stephen’s Basilica (remember the pic from before?  Cool how everything ties together isn’t it, that’s called foreshadowing, def worth a like!), tied for number one largest tower in Budapest (and comin’ in number two for largest tower belonging to a guy named Steve, yeah you know what I’m talkin’ about), which had some great views of the city:

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Down in that square there were a bunch of young people on rented mopeds just zipping around, like, for fun.  Which makes no sense to me; why in the world would you travel all the way to Budapest just so you can scoot around a church square at 7 mph, looking like a fucking asshole?

On the way back down I randomly ran into the British girls again.  We made plans to meet up later at a bar crawl that the hostel they were staying at put on every night.  Like the free walking tours, in most major European cities you can also find a bar crawl like this that caters to young English speaking tourists looking to get belligerently drunk and ruin every bar they go to (count me the fuck in).

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Which way to the next cultural experience?

For those keeping track at home, yeah that’s right I’m on plans number TWO with foreign girls I met – two days, two plans!!  Pest Side, Best Side!  Pest Side Story!

Next stop was the Heroes’ Square, a big ass monument which is pretty cool, but more importantly offered a fantastic opportunity to take shots of the dozens of Asian tourists that were there.

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Ohh fuck yes

Asian tourists are seriously a sight all on their own.  I got ten times as much enjoyment out of watching them than I did from the square itself.  I saw a lot of them on this trip, and they always had a few things in common:  They always travel in large tour groups of like 30-40, they have umbrellas and huge hats to protect them from the sun, and they wear a lot of really colorful clothing that looks like they found it on clearance at Ross.

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This dude on the right in the yellow hat is scopin’ out the hoes

And of course there’s the pictures they take; all tourists take photos, but these guys take it to another level.  They take shot after shot, and most of the time its just of one person.

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Ok hold still honey I’m just gonna take 36 more, just in case

Also, nobody has adopted selfie sticks like old Asian women.  They fucking love it.  They would stand in one spot for 20-30 minutes just taking selfies from every possible angle.

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Can they tell how big my hat is?

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Get out of my selfie bitch

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My name is Inigo Montoya

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EXPECTO…PATRONUM!!!!

Later on that night, I met up with the British girls for the bar crawl, which was really just an exquisite exchange of culture; I think we both learned a lot from one another, and both came back more enlightened and refined.

Sian and Allison hadn’t met many Americans before, so I think it was pretty exciting for them to encounter one in the wild.  Which was great for me, because I got to basically set their entire perception of what Americans are like.  A real opportunity to positively portray Americans, at an unsteady time in our relations with our European allies.  It seems like a lot of the foreign perception of Americans is of us being loud, hyper-patriotic, overconfident douches who play a lot of drinking games like beer pong and flip cup.

So of course I represented my country well, and confirmed every single one of these stereotypes to the utmost of my ability.

The bar crawl started with a big game of flip cup, which I guess is only really played a lot in the US, and all these inexperienced foreigners were fucking up their flips over and over like a bunch of first-year GDIs.  So when I nailed it on the first try and downed my inch of beer in a half second – par for the course at any frat house in the colonies – I was like this drinking game messiah, sent from the New World to show everyone how we party in the greatest country on earth.  Then I started chanting USA! USA! and Allison looked simultaneously mortified and kind of starstruck – right before her eyes was a real live American, fist pumping and aggressively chanting the initials of his country, just like they do on TV.

Europeans also love red solo cups; apparently they don’t have those in Europe, but they’re in all the movies, so if they’re at a party then its like a real novel, fun thing.  They asked me if we actually drank out of red solo cups at parties.

Uh yeah, only all the fuckin’ time.

In return, I got to learn a ton of great British words and phrases.  There’s cracking, which means like, “great”, as in “I’ll be at the bar crawl in 10 minutes,” “Cracking.”  They also say gutted, which means sad, like “My phone died before I could finish the snapchat of that American chugging his beer, absolutely gutted.”  Or when I told them I had a travel blog, they said I better not “slate” them in it, which means I guess to talk shit about, so an example of slating would be “The British girls were cool, but were straight up garbage when it came to flip cup and chanting USA.”

Taking a piss, in British, means to like be kidding around.  Also they say trousers instead of pants, and pants means underwear!  And they don’t say panties; these girls thought panties was a really gross word, like moist, or phlegm, or succulent.

They also got a real kick out of American dollar bills.  Sian waved a one dollar bill around and said “It just feels meant to be given to a stripper.”

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This excellent selfie is the only memento of our cross-cultural exchange

The bar crawl was a lot of fun, though after the first couple bars its a bit of a blur.  On my way home, I was walking down the narrow streets that surround the bars on the Pest side of the city, and this woman on a corner grabbed my wrist and said “Hey – hey – you like sex?”  Which, I gotta say, excellent salesmanship on her part.  Get them saying yes right off the bat.  I politely declined and kept walking, and about 50 feet past my watch almost fell off my wrist.  The buckle had been almost completely taken off – the hooker tried to steal my watch!  She almost succeeded too; it was pretty impressive.   She must be good with her hands.

So that’s it for this post, and for Budapest!  Next stop, meeting up with some big Scottish girl and her British boyfriend in Slovenia!

Thanks for reading, and hey if you have some thoughts on the blog so far, please leave a comment; I’d love to hear your honest opinions!  Only positive ones, though; if you’ve got something negative to say, go ahead and shove it up your fuckin ass, I don’t wanna hear that shit.

 

 

 

 

Budapest Day 1

BOOM What’s up motherfuckers!!!  Welcome back for the start of my EPIC 3-week Eurotrip, a whirlwind of culture, cities, sights, people, whale mats, bus rides, bunk beds, and, most importantly, gettin’ fucked up WOOOO!!!

Note: This all takes place back in early July.

Stop 1 of the trip was Budapest, the capital of Hungary, known for being really old, not very expensive, cool looking, stew, wine apparently, and having a totally sick nightlife.

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Cool looking, can confirm.  Jury still out on stew

I landed and exchanged $50 for like 40,000 Hungarian florins, and hopped on the bus to the city.  I helped a lost-looking Polish girl figure out which bus to get on, and ended up chatting to her on the way into the city (fuckin’ world-wise ladykiller, you know me guys, this is classic Steve).  However, this ended up getting me into a little bit more than I bargained for.

The Polish girl, who we’ll call Olga, told me she was visiting Budapest for a week as part of an organization called WorldVentures DreamTrips (mouthful) that sets up “dream vacations” for their members.  She had been a part of WorldVentures for 3 years, and she loved it; she got to go on dream vacations to tons of different places, and had friends now “all over the world”.  And these dream trips were, believe it or not, cheaper than regular trips!  Membership in the WorldVentures, though, was invite-only; they only wanted to travel with people that were fun to travel with (obvi).  She worked in banking, but her true passion was travel, and she wanted to work with WorldVentures full-time someday.  She handed me a business card with her name on it, and on the other side it just said “Follow Your Dreams.”

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I found this on Google Images but its actually really close to what her card looked like

Alright so this was all real fuckin’ weird, but you know what, there was a language barrier, and I didn’t get to talk to her too much about it, so I didn’t read too much into it right then.  We friended each other on Facebook, and she invited me to check out the city with her and her friend the next morning.  Hell yeah, just arrived and already made a friend with a foreign stranger, fucking CRUSHING this single traveling adventure.

So the next morning I met up with Olga and her friend, who turned out to be like, 40, and also didn’t speak a word of English, to go on one of those Hop On/Hop Off double-decker bus tours you see in every major city.

Travel pro tip – never go on one of these fucking things.  Stupidest way to see a city ever. It’s full of fat tourists and their fat kids who got on the bus because for them it’s easier than karting their families through the metro or down busy city streets, and they just want to sit for a while and see the sights with as little effort as possible, because traveling with children is exhausting and miserable.  You put on these garbage airplane headphones with the scratchy ass black earpieces and listen to a pre-recorded voice drone about everything as you pass by.  It cost like $35 and it’s just the least authentic, most un-immersive drive-by way to see a foreign city ever conceived.

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Some shitty picture of I guess a horror clown circus freak show that I took from the bus window; not pictured, dozens of sweaty English-speakers and their children all not giving a fuck about Budapest

Of course I didn’t really realize this at the time, and I was happy to have travel companions, so I bought myself a ticket and hopped on.  We stayed on the bus for maybe 1.5 hours, and I did get to see most of the main sights of Budapest, and got a pretty good lay of the land.  But mainly stewed and formed the opinion of hop on/hop off bus tours that was expressed in the previous paragraph.

We finally got off that double-decker, spilt-ice-cream-cone and I ❤ Budapest t-shirt nightmare family vacation wagon at Gellért Hill, a big ass hill on the West side of the river that overlooks the whole city and has some dope views.

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View From the Top ft. Random Asian Guy

At the first main viewing point, Olga and her friend unrolled a blue and white sign that said “You should be here” and asked me to take a picture.  I guess “You should be here” is the totally fuckin obnoxious slogan of WorldVentures, that just very kindly gets straight to the whole bullshit my-life-is-amazing god-I-love-traveling look-at-me social media photo bragging that everyone loves to engage in nowadays, anytime they leave their zip code (hate people like that, nobody cares about your travel adventures, idk how people can be so self-unaware).

Alright I feel like I should say I do feel a little bad being as critical of this day as I am, because Olga was very nice and friendly, and I’m sure she’d feel bad if she read this, but she probably won’t, and hey you know what else, I’m not here to censor myself because then what’s the fuckin’ point, right!?  I’m just up here spouting bullshit!?  You come here cuz you know its gonna be REAL, and if I’m not gonna tell it like it is, then I might as well roll out a “You Should Be Here” sign myself for a Valencia-filtered Instagram shot of me shoving a baguette up my ass at the Eiffel Tower with the caption “Take Me Back #WanderLust”.

On the way to the top of the hill were a bunch of stands selling little touristy knick-knacks and a couple fun, authentic, Budapest-specific historical activities you can only do there, like shooting a bow and arrow.

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Preparing to defend their virginity

At the top of Gellért Hill is the Liberty Statue, Hungary’s shitty ripoff of the our much larger and more impressively named Statue of Liberty.

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Sorry, is it behind that little garden fixture?

At the top, which offered some great views of the city, and which I’d really recommend visiting, we ran into 3 dudes who were also part of WorldVentures.  Apparently there was some sort of big event this weekend, and a bunch of WorldVentures people were in town.  Olga asked me if I wanted to go – she said there would be around 7,000 people there.  I said “What kind of event is it?  Is it a party?” And she said “Um, well, it is sort of like a party,” which is a really disconcerting way to describe anything.

Apparently these other dudes are pretty big deals in WorldVentures, real higher up types.  Olga and her friend were very impressed by their status level.  It was 3 older men, in like their late 30s or 40s.   And this is when I finally really got tipped off as to what WorldVentures is all about.

I witnessed the highest-up WorldVentures big fish take a video of himself on his phone that went like this, as best I can remember: “What’s up everyone, I’m here at the Liberty Statue in Budapest, Hungary, and I’ve got just a beautiful view of the city from up here, truly amazing.  The Liberty Statue up there, you can see it behind me – Liberty, what’s that mean?  It means freedom – the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want.  That’s real freedom.  But most people out there, they never get that.   They’re tied down by this system in a 40 hour a week, 9 to 5 job that they hate, and they never get to do what they truly want to do.  But you can be just like me.  You just have to get out and do it.  With WorldVentures, we travel around to all these incredible places all over the world, and wherever we go we run into friends!” here he puts in the Polish girls in the frame, and they wave and go “Heeeeyyy!”

So now I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of exactly what WorldVentures is all about.  I do some quick Googling on my phone and find a variety of sites confirming my suspicions.

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How do I sign up??

Turns out that WorldVentures is a classic example of a multi-level marketing company, also called an MLM, which is basically the modern version of a pyramid scheme, but with enough steps in between to technically be legal.  It checks all the boxes for a typical MLM: too-good-too-be-true sales pitch: the promise of leaving behind your 9-to-5 job and fulling living your life, being a self-starting entrepreneur, etc.

You pay $55/month plus a $250 signup fee (total $910 for first year) to get access to their travel packages, which are purportedly at discounted prices; however, the discounts for any given trip is like maybe an $80 value, so you need to travel and spend a ton of money for it to really be worth it.  But, you can get your monthly fees waived for a given year by recruiting 4 other people to Dream Trips.

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You can read more about Dream Trips here. There’s also a great This American Life podcast about MLMs in general, which I’d heard before this trip and is what really clued me in, that does a great job illustrating how these companies prey on people who are unsatisfied with their lives, and the kind of damage they can do.

So now I know that these Polish girls are completely taken in by this scam, and I’m thinking, 1 – I need to get the fuck out of here, and 2 – should I tell them?  I go through scenarios in my mind of how I can try to explain to this poor girl that not only has she been taken in as a sucker for the past 3 years and probably lost thousands of dollars with WorldVentures, but also that her dream of leaving behind her unfulfilling life as a banker and achieving self-actualization by traveling full time is almost certainly doomed to fail.

Between the language barrier, the fact that we just met, and the level to which she has probably already had to delude herself to reach this point, I couldn’t imagine that conversation being successful.  So I decide to cut my losses and bail.

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I stick with them for another meandering 2 hours while they try to navigate using solely the hop on/hop off bus system (which is a fuckin’ dumb ass way to try to get around) and while I cast about for some plausible excuse to ditch them.

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I’m trapped, please send help

Finally I go with “I’m tired and am gonna go back to the hostel and nap, hopefully we can meet up later?” (classic) and bounce.  We did not meet up later.

Instead I made the absolute most of my time on my own, with the freedom to do what I wanted to do: I walked around taking pictures of the city at night, hiked back up Gellert Hill and got sorta lost on the way, made a great Snapchat story, decided to wait it out a few hours until sunrise so I could snag a sick sunrise shot, tried to sleep on a bench using a trash bag for warmth, gave up after an hour, and walked back to the hostel without seeing the sunrise.

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When u post ur snapchat story again on ur blog

Right so that’s Budapest Day 1!  What a great time!  If you want to have experiences like this and travel the world like me – check out WorldVentures DreamTrips!  The more you travel, the more you travel!

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P.S. I felt bad after I wrote this and sent Olga a message on Facebook telling her in the nicest terms I could that she might be the victim of a predatory pyramid scheme that is scamming her out of all her money with the empty promise of a more fulfilling life, along with a few helpful links.  She hasn’t responded.  Also don’t worry I set my Facebook post on this blog so that she wouldn’t see it, so, hopefully that function works properly.