We had a good journey out. Checked in and through Security in under 20 minutes and we were sat on the plane ready to take off bang on time. That’s when the problems began. We were flying Jet2 (yeah, I know, living the dream) and the poor stewardess was having a problem with an overhead locker. It wouldn’t close. For some reason Jet2 label all their overhead lockers after places they fly to. Malaga was shut fine. Ibiza was closed like a clam. However Barcelona was having none of it. The poor woman slammed it, smashed it, tweaked bits of it and still it wouldn’t shut. She was getting flustered and the 10 rows of passengers around her were all thinking the same thing: “she better get that shut or we won’t be able to take off”.
After a minute or so she took the only course of action she could. She left it, presumably in the hope that someone else would have a go. They didn’t. She came back a few minutes and had another go. At last success! You could almost feel the sigh of relief from the plane. With a little grin on her face, she trundled of to clatter some doors and count sugar sachets or whatever it is that stewards and stewardesses do before takeoff. Then 10 seconds later, bang on cue, the passenger who was sat directly below the locker, who had the prime seat for the door closing shenanigans, stood up, opened the locker and got her phone out to switch it off. Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! This time it took the collective brains and brawn of 3 rows of passengers to get Barcelona shut again.
When we arrived in Hungary I experienced something which I hadn’t seen in a long time. A really long queue for passport control. It was bedlam. We joined the throng as soon as we could but inadvertently ended up in the “All Passports” not the “EU” queue. But it all seemed fine. When we were about 6 people from the front of the queue, an official came along and began trying to chase all EU passport holders into the other queue. We stood firm with our American colleagues. We have waited in this queue long enough. We ain’t going to the back of another one!
I was the last of the 4 of us to go through passport control and something happened to me for the first time ever. The officer looked at my passport, then at me. Back to the passport, back to me. He then held the passport up so that he could see my face and my passport photo side by side! He didn’t look convinced and I was getting worried. I think what made it all the more worrying was the size of the peak on his cap. I have a theory about the size of peaks on caps. The nastier the regime, the bigger the peak. Let’s not forget, Hungary was still a communist country until 25 years ago. Whilst they may now have more McDonoalds, Burger Kings and Tescos as the west (I kid you not, we have seen 6 branches of Tesco today and we’ve only been here 4 hours!), they still like their big peaks on their caps. I was unsure to what the problem was. My passport picture is only 8 years old. Had I put on weight? Probably? Had a lost more hair? Highly likely. Am I greyer now? Most definitely. But was I really that unrecognisable? Then it dawned on me…my mo! I stood there and stroked my mo. He looked at me again and I could see the realisation dawning on his face that this was the difference. Once he was satisfied that it was actually me, he waved me on and we went to pick up the bags.
We had spent so long queuing that ours were the last case on the conveyor belt and the belt even stopped as it the was end of its cycle. We got the bus and metro to our hotel and have been acquainting ourselves with Budapest. My observations so far are:
It’s quite pretty
It’s quite cheap
It’s very cold
People keep tying to sell me iPhones in the street
They have more book shops than any city I have ever been to
The cakeation has started well with the traditional Hungary Esterhazy torta (quite hazelnutty but very nice).
Tonight, who knows. Must dash though as I’m starving. In fact you could say I’m….not going to make that pun.