Monday, June 28, 2010

USA vs. Ghana

USA played well this round of World Cup. Hats off to them!

But... :-(

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Jaanipä Budapest!

We celebrated Jaanipäev on the eve of this important Estonian midsummer holiday. Our Canadian friend Bill got us an invitation to a Jaanipäev event at the Estonian Embassy in Budapest. The Ambassador of Estonian, H.E. Mr. Miko Haljas & Mrs. Marika Haljas, were generous hosts. There was delicious food, drinks and entertainment. Later last year the Ambassador had opened a new location for the embassy in a tree-lined neighborhood in Buda.

The entertainment was best! But not just any entertainment. Lauri Saatpalu and Peeter Rebane of the rather famous Estonian band Dagö was performing. This was an amazing feat! How the Ambassador got Dagö to visit Hungary on Jaanipäev is unbelievable. Diane and I got to talk with Lauri and Peeter. They were humorous about the fact they were in Budapest performing for people that knew nothing about them--save a small group of us that very much appreciated their performance.

Steven met a colleague at the party—an Estonian! We stayed late into the night sitting near a tiny Jaanipäev fire…but it was still nice to be by a fire on a cool summer night drinking a beer and talking with friends.

The night ended when the Ambassador kindly asking us to leave. He was very nice about it and seemed a little sad that he had to close the party down before dusk and dawn cross-over which is a symbolic time during Jaanipäev.

Lauri Saatpalu and Peeter Rebane from the band, Dagö.

Our Jaanipäev fire.
(photo taken from our mobile phone)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Starbucks in Budapest!

Starbucks is here! After several years of rumors, demands and false starts... The photo below would have you believe that Hungary has no quality coffee which isn't true. It will be nostalgic to see the shop...nice reminder of Seattle. We just a Starbucks coffee cup that says "Budapest" on it!

McDonalds 1998 in Budapest (top photo)
Starbucks 2010 in Budapest (bottom photo)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dreams do come true!

OK, the title of this post is melodramatic...but we now have a Nespresso sitting in our kitchen and the novelty is exciting. For those of you unaware of Nespresso, it is a coffee machine that uses a variety coffee pods to produce wonderful espresso. The consistency and quality are impressive given this is an automatic, pod-coffee machine which are usually uneventful. Nespresso cannot replace well-drawn coffee from an espresso machine, but it is close to the real-thing...and very convenient.

Steven was in Brussels a couple of weeks for a conference where our friends, David & Eva, sold their Nespresso machine to him. They had graduated to a traditional espresso machine that produces amazing coffee albeit it takes some time and there is art-science to making a good cup.

Steven then had to pack the somewhat large and heavy coffee machine in his luggage and drag it to Warsaw where he had another conference to attend. So this coffee machine is well travelled.

Once the machine made in Budapest, Diane stopped by the Nespresso boutique to buy the coffee pods. Yes...that is right...there is a "coffee pod" boutique. This goes to prove that you can market about anything these days. Diane bought a few boxes and registered with Nespresso's loyalty program. It is the frequent flyer program of coffee drinking!

A US Peace Corps friend of Steven's--Dan Migden--was in town and helped us inaugurate the first use. The machine is dangerous because it takes just a few minutes to enjoy a tasty espresso. We'll have to be careful how much we drink.

Our pride and joy!