March 4, 2009
I am in a train station as I type this. I am on my way to visit a Folk Art Cooperative in Heves. The train schedule on the internet said I would arrive in Heves at 9:56. I didn't realize I had to change trains....
I boarded the train in Budapest at 8:00am. I was in an old train and in a car alone. It has been a hazy, cold, wet morning and the fog is thick. Maybe I have been reading to many vampire novels but it was a little spooky. As the train speed through the countryside I saw nothing....only thick fog. Then a gentleman (who smelled a little like stale booze) entered my car, sat down and started chatting with me. He had something wrong with his throat so even if I understood Hungarian I would probably have a difficult time understanding him. I kindly said “nem, beszélek magyarul” (I do not speak Hungarian) and he was quiet. About 30 minutes later we pass a station called Kál-Kápolna. As we were leaving the station, I noticed that my ticket says “Kál-Kápolna”. I looked at the smelly man and showed him my ticket. He began to explain that the stop I needed was the one we just left. He gave me very detailed instructions that I need to get off at the next station and take a bus back to Kál-Kápolna. It is amazing we understood each other. (lots of hand jesters and “jo, jo” which is like saying yes or good.) He was very nice and wished me good luck.
I got off at the next stop, went to the bus station. I approached a large group of older ladies and began with my usual...”jo napot kivánok, bocsánat, nem beszelek magyarul....heves?” (good afternoon, sorry, I do not speak Hunagrian...Heves?) The ladies looked at their bus schedules and shrugged....2 1/2 hours and I could take the bus. I am convinced they would have offered to take care of me if I said I would wait. But, I walked back to the train station and explained (in my broken terrible Hungarian) my situation to the women behind the counter. She had me buy another train ticket to head back to Kál-Kápolna.
The train to Kál-Kápolna was good. I asked a man if it was the correct train and he said yes. He said he was going to the same place and to followed him. All went well and I ended up where I am now, in Kál-Kápolna, waiting for the next train to Heves.
While sitting in the train station, the cutest little girl with deep amber colored eyes became fascinated by my computer and terrible typing... She kept asking me questions but unfortunately all I can say is “nem tudom” (I don’t know). I eventually took out a magazine and showed off my Hungarian by pointing to colors and saying the names. (She corrcted me when neccessary:) I taught her 2 words...books and purse. Eventually her parents called her to leave and she kept waving good bye to me. She was precious!
The train to Heves was so interesting. It was the smallest 2 car train I ever saw. I later was told that sometimes the men riding the train will drive the train. I am not sure what this means but it doesn’t sound good.
Three men, one conductor and myself were all that occupied the train. 2 of the men happily poured and toasted until their wine bottle was empty. The other man felt obligated to talk to me. He was saying one of two things...1. He was going to the hospital because he hit his head or 2. he was offering me a job at a whorehouse. He kept saying “korhaz” which means hospital but at first it sounded more like whorehaz or whorehouse. Once we arrived in Heves he made sure I got off the train and waved goodbye. I guess he was saying korhaz :)
A driver was waiting for to take me to the Folk Art Cooperative. My meeting was suppose to be at 10:00-it was now 12:00. Fortunately the ladies were very patient and suggested I take a bus back to Budapest. (There is no transferring and it is direct.) I had a wonderful meeting and am very inspired and excited about the possibilities of working with this organization. They employ 140 people at the co-op and then about another 100 in neighboring villages. They drop off orders to the homes in the villages where the women will embroider and work with felt. It was very interesting! They have the ability to weave, embroider, felt and sew.
After a two hour meeting I headed back to Budapest via bus. I happily took a short nap and woke up at home. It was such a long day. One thing I would like to mention...not once did I feel in danger. Also, the amount of people that tried to help me get to my destination was amazing. Each one was so patient with me as I fumbled through their language. Ironically it was good day.
The bus ride home I could see the country side and it looked lovely. I am anxious to head to the country again soon. Maybe next time with Steve:) One other note worth mentioning...my Hungarian friends will laugh at this but...I have never seen so many people riding bikes! Of all ages! When I was at the co-op, there was a hug line of bicycles lined up that were ridden to work. I wish I had a photo to show.
Below is a short video of the bus ride from Heves to Budapest. Enjoy.