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Budapest Journal, Part Two

[1]

Typical Budapest hostel

4,055 words

Part 1 here [2]

September 4, 2018

I worked this morning at the English used bookstore/café, where I’m having a flirtation with the younger girl who works here. Her female boss, who owns the place, is older, and is cruel and cold with her predominantly tourist clientele, which is understandable. But the younger girl, whose name I can’t pronounce, seems to enjoy the regulars, like me. We joke around. During one visit, I tried to show her something on my phone and tripped over a book and nearly fell into her arms. She said, “There are so many books. Even on the floor!”

At some point in the next week I have to buy a train ticket to Vienna, where I will be staying with an old friend who I have not seen since college, and who now has a wife and kids. He works for the State Department, and she does something for a foreign aid organization. Which brings up the question: When do you tell people who you haven’t seen in twenty years that you’re conservative? “Conservative” is the term I use, when I feel a need to reveal myself in the mildest terms possible. But in almost every case, it is best to not expose yourself at all.

With one woman I dated earlier this summer, I tried to gradually explain myself. The minute she heard the word “race” she said, “I can’t believe you’re a white supremacist.” So then I tried a kinder, gentler approach: “Every ethnic group looks out for their own interests now, identity politics is normal. It is liberals who invented this. Not conservatives. It started in the universities.”

She could handle this. She was still suspicious, but she was willing to let me continue. I proceeded, going slowly, and for a moment convinced her that I was not crazy and that some of these ideas made sense. But then, ten minutes later, she was back to “I can’t believe you’re a white supremacist!” and “Don’t you care about brown people?” I answered, “I do care about them. But I’m not going to give them my country.”

Later, I told her that if things remain divided like they are now, there could be a civil war. She told me that could never happen, not in America. “People are too busy,” she said. “They have work and then they have to go to yoga. They have shows they have to watch.”

But how exciting for this woman to know a real “white supremacist.” None of her friends know one. Such people on Facebook are constantly begging conservatives to reveal themselves. They have so much rage to vent, but they can’t find a single Trump supporter! So this woman was lucky. Her friends probably whispered among themselves, “She knows a white supremacist! A real one! They dated!”

With most women, or men, or casual acquaintances, it’s best to say nothing. It’s hard, though. People say stupid shit and expect you to agree with them. You have to stand there and look into the faces of people who are so dumb that they have been unable to detect or deflect any of the ridiculous and illogical propaganda to which they’ve been subjected. They believe all of it. They have taken all the bait. The idea that any of it is untrue is simply not possible. They even credit themselves with having come up with some of these absurd and contradictory ideas on their own.

So what do I tell this old college friend and his wife when I meet them? They have two small children. Think how frightened they’d be if they were to realize the monster they have in their midst. He doesn’t hate Drumpf! Hide the children!

September 5, 2018

I’ve fallen in love with a Ukrainian girl in my new hostel. Jesus, she must be 20 years old – too young for me, and too tall as well. She’s six feet, at least. I saw her walking around and then made sure to go into the kitchen when she was making soup. She has a strangely round face, like nothing I’ve ever seen before: flat and round, and her eyes are a little too close together. Dirty blonde hair; thin, but strangely elegant in her cheap dress. She can barely speak English. When I first spoke to her, I asked her what she was doing in Budapest and she said, “Vauk . . . vauk . . . How you say . . . ?”

“Vacation?”

“Vacation, yes!”

At night she sits silently in the kitchen, eating her weird sandwiches – a slice of red pepper on a piece of white bread – and reading actual books by the tiny desk lamp there. I talked to her again this morning. She and the crazy British woman were chatting in the kitchen, something about Brexit and the EU. The Brit is an opera singer – and a Leftist, of course, and is totally nuts. I quickly joined them, just to gaze at my beloved’s weird, round face and stand in her statuesque presence. Maybe get a little more info on her circumstances. “Is Ukraine in the EU?” I asked. Of course they aren’t, but I played dumb. She said no, and joked, “They try.” And then, “They want.”

Her name is “Elsa,” or something similar. A lot of women here have names that start with vowels and have some combination of Ls and Ss in them. On Tinder, half of the women have such names. Elsa is so alien, like from another world. She laughs in this nervous way. She is way too nice to everyone. Also, she’s demure and feminine, and cocks her head sometimes when she speaks. I could literally talk to her about anything. I find myself staring into her face which is, like I said, not traditionally beautiful, but sucks me in, anyway. What do people do in Ukraine, anyway? Who knows.

This is why you occasionally stay at hostels, so you are forced to interact with the different peoples of this diverse world. Like Elsa. Or her friend the Screaming Asian, who is a perfectly nice Japanese or Korean woman, but who literally screams when she talks. And then runs the blow dryer in the common space at all hours. And crashes around in the bathroom, shouting at herself. Or can be found touching up her makeup obsessively at 1:30 in the morning on the communal couch.

September 6, 2018

Earlier this morning, I was reading about how a number of Alt Right figures have foreign wives. A female journalist at The New York Times reported that Andrew Anglin, Richard Spencer, and Mike Cernovich are all married to Asians. Of course, the predictable nag follows. (Can you imagine being married to a female writer from The New York Times?)

Right now, I’m at the same café again, where the female barista and I have our little thing going on. It’s a little weird that I end up sitting here for hours at a time. During those stretches, we ignore each other. She does her work, I do mine. But occasionally, out of the corner of my eye, I follow her movements. I like watching her bus tables, or make espresso drinks, or sweep up. She smiles a lot. She is happy. She is, I am sure, a positive presence, wherever she might be.

Best of all, she likes me. Or at least she notices me. It doesn’t take much to stand out in the Budapest expat crowd. Kind of an anemic bunch. There are a few regulars you see here. One is an autistic Brit (fortyish) with coke-bottle glasses. I’ve heard him having intellectual discussions with people. I will need to introduce myself to him at some point. Become part of the afternoon conversation hour . . .

Also, there’s all these books here! Stacks of them on the floor. Picked up Justine by Laurence Durrell the other day. I read those books when I was in Morocco, years ago. And a biography of Alexander Solzhenitsyn I hadn’t seen before. And earlier tonight, since I was sitting next to the travel section, I wasted thirty minutes reading Lonely Planet Denmark 2004.

September 7, 2018

I’ve extended my stay another four days. I just moved into the Avenue Hostel, which is even tighter quarters than Activity Hostel. I don’t mind. I don’t want to leave. I feel safe in the Kingdom of Orbán – who, incidentally, just proposed a ban on Gender Studies in state-funded universities. How amazing is that! He explained his reasoning: Gender Studies is not a science, it is an ideology. It does not lead to legitimate careers or a positive contribution to society. So true. All Gender Studies does is create a need for Gender Studies jobs – which means more HR workers, more campus diversity departments, and more immigration so that these people will have something to do. This country is a bastion of societal health and well-being. The more you feel what it’s like here, the less you ever want to ever go back to shithole Third World America.

Every morning, when I turn on my phone, I get the news feed, which is an aggregate of all the publications I hate: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, New York Magazine, Slate, Salon, HuffPo. Every day they tell me I am evil, that my President is evil, that my country is evil, and that my Western culture must be destroyed and remade by foreigners. Also, they remind me on a daily basis that I am forbidden to defend myself against these charges, lest I be charged with hate crimes, racism, and xenophobia, ad infinitum. The most terrible thought, when faced with my “news feed,” is how many people believe this shit.

Hitting a wall after one week. I have run out of gas. I literally need to sleep half the day to keep my energy up. That fun rush of excitement and appreciation for a new place has faded. I did have some nice moments yesterday afternoon. After working in the morning, rode the bus up to the castle and walked around. Nice views. The air is a little crisper at the top of the hill. Then I walked down through the forest on an old stone path, which was in disrepair – because this is still Hungary, and not Germany.

The fun part was the tram stop at the bottom of the hill. I sat on a wood bench, about thirty feet from the platform, and waited for the tram to come. When it did, I was enjoying my bench so much – the afternoon Sun, the shady trees, the leaves beginning to turn – I stayed where I was. It had rained for a few days, so the air was clean and fresh. And it smelled nice, there among the stone path and tree branches. Why are things which are made of stone so much more pleasing to the senses? So I let the next tram leave without me, and the one after that. Then I moved across the tram tracks and sat like a teenager on the stone wall next to the bike path promenade. I just sat there, watching the bicycles flow past, the trams come and go, the locals walking home from work. A nearly perfect hour. Stones and trees and the green river, in gorgeous, epic Europe, which was built to last forever . . .

This morning I had a nice, four-hour work session in the nice, comfy café. The girl working this morning – not my secret love, another girl – pays no attention to me whatsoever. She’s like the boss. Fuck the tourists. My coffee was definitely not made with love, but I drank it anyway. People came and went. I felt out of sorts. The autistic Brit was there. He’s always hanging out. I should probably befriend him, but didn’t have the energy today. Also, the fucking Brits can be extremely touchy at times. You go up to them and say something funny or unusual, and they take it as an affront and want to fucking murder you for your insolence.

I e-mailed a friend yesterday, telling her about my new project. She can’t understand my reservations. This is a common phenomenon in America, among left-of-center normies who are utterly oblivious to the culture war raging all around them. What does she think happened to all the men who got fired because they were on the “Shitty Men in Media” list? Does she think those guys are all back at their desks, working? No. They’re still fired. The same is true of women I date, who have not the slightest inkling of the male predicament right now: “Why would you be worried about #metoo?” they innocently ask.

September 8, 2018

Had my first serious political discussion tonight. I was mouthing off to the Hungarian guys at my AA meeting. I was saying how great Orbán’s speeches are (I’d been watching them on YouTube), and pronouncing his name “Or-ban!”, in a celebratory way. (The correct pronunciation is with the accent on the first syllable, like all Hungarian names and words.) This was after the AA meeting, standing in the street outside.

I asked the movie-star guy what he thought of Orbán, and he didn’t like him at all. Lol. Of course not, he’s a cool dude in the city! Are there any cool young men in Brooklyn who support Trump? No. (Of course there are, but you know what I mean – not out loud.)

Anyway, this guy proceeded to give me an excellent synopsis of Hungarian history since the Second World War. He described how, immediately after the war, the Russians infiltrated their Parliament with their own people, eventually taking it over. Once in power, the Soviet-backed guys maintained it by killing anyone who might challenge them. When they eventually got killed themselves, new people came and killed their opponents all over again. I asked, “How was there anyone left?” I really meant this, too. How many people do you have to kill before you start to notice the lack of people? At another point I said, “So the only way to survive was to be a peasant, in the middle of nowhere, minding your own business?” But he said they killed them, too. Everybody got killed. There was no escape. He described the Communist-era Hungarian government as a Death Machine.

But here’s the problem. If the Communists made Hungary a Death Machine, why does this intelligent guy hate Orbán? It doesn’t make sense. Whose side does he think Orbán is on? Do people not have ears? If you didn’t like the Death Machine, why do you want the Left flooding your country with hostile foreigners? Isn’t that also a fairly obvious Death Machine scenario?

He didn’t think so. Instead, he listed the various repressions of Orbán’s administration. They discriminated against the gays, he said, and allowed people to harass them. (I had noticed that there were no rainbows anywhere.) Government officials were corrupt. They stole people’s property and took bribes. And they also silence people, just like the Communists did. “They are acting just like the Communists,” he said repeatedly.

I didn’t know what to say to that. His logic seemed flawed to me, but it was his country and his problem. I wasn’t going to argue with him about it. Besides, it was I who had brought up politics in an AA context – which is seriously one of the worst things you can do. So I left it at that.

September 9, 2018

Went to Memento Park today. This is where they put all the Communist-era statues after Communism fell in 1989 – all the criminals, basically, the murderers who got statues made of them after they were themselves murdered by their psychopathic comrades. All those statues had to go somewhere. So they made Memento Park.

I went with Mike, who is a history buff from my AA meeting. There wasn’t a lot there. I was imagining there’d be a huge pile of statues, like a junk yard, with Lenin’s arm sticking out, part of Stalin’s head . . . But no, these old plaques and statues were spread out over a small park, presented with dignity, as an important part of Hungarian history, thus proving that every people loves their history, no matter how awful. The plaques and statues were arranged in chronological order, more or less. You walked around in a big circle. Some of them were not of people, but of events or general concepts: “Hungarian Workers Unite,” “The Russian Soldier Wishes Peace,” or “Our Fallen Heroes.” But most of them were individual people (murderers). All I could think was, what if they destroyed my country and put up statues of the weasels who did it? Put these statues right in your face. Every day. These are the people who conquered you, rule over you, and mock you by making you read their lies. I wouldn’t like that.

Afterward, Steve and I sat on a bench by the exit and reflected. Steve, being older than me, worried that there were literally no conservatives anymore. No young people were patriotic. Who would fight against this stuff in the future? I tried to explain to him that there were such people; they were just not visible to him. I told him not to worry. They were there. And there were a lot of them.

September 12, 2018

Woke up this morning, packed up, and headed to the train station to go to Vienna. I had the usual anxiety about getting to the station, deciphering the schedule board, finding the right train, and figuring out where I was allowed to sit. All of this is in Hungarian, of which I literally do not know a single word.

Waiting for the train to leave, I got kicked out of my seat a couple of times. They were reserved, it turned out. The good news was that, since the train was Austrian, it was super high-tech and had all these amazing features, like online tracking of your route and your progress, and a complex computer system that told everyone where to sit. I finally figured that out – thanks to an Austrian businessman, who addressed me like I was retarded – and could relax.

The Austrians are on a different level of politeness, urbanity, and sophistication than the Hungarians. In contrast, the Hungarians look like the crude peasants they are. The old babushka lady sitting across from me, clutching her meal of carrots, radishes, and bread . . .

September 13, 2018

Big headlines today:

Viktor Orbán Denounces the EU’s Blackmail

 “Let us speak plainly: You want to denounce Hungary because the Hungarian people have decided that our homeland will not become an immigrant country.”

This will not be reported in the US, of course.

The fact that Orbán’s message is so reasonable makes you think: Hungary is the size of Indiana. Do you think Indiana would welcome a half million refugees? Oh, the church ladies might want to. And the Cultural Studies majors. But no sane, normal person wants that. It would change your entire state. Sure, it’s racist. But it’s also the truth. Just ask any real estate agent.

Shock of the day: Walking around, I think the Hungarian women are better-looking than the Austrian ones. This is despite Austria having more wealth, more fashion, more technology, more everything. The Hungarian women want capable men to date, marry, and have children with, so they dress to attract, and conduct themselves in a pleasing way. Theirs is a healthy society. Hungary is on the rise. In contrast, the Austrian women look drab, defeated, disinterested, depressed, and not attractive at all; indeed, repulsive. Besides, like all Western women, it would demean them to demonstrate a need or desire to have a good man in their lives. They don’t need no man!

September 14, 2018

Tonight, my friends made a nice dinner, and we ate with a neighbor from their apartment building. He was originally from Beirut. He was in his 50s, and was very handsome, rich, and apparently had a 24-year-old girlfriend. He was a lot of fun. I suspect he was toying with my friends in a friendly, good-natured way. No offense to them, but they are classic American liberals. You know before they speak every word they are going to say. This Middle Eastern guy, though, he was more complicated. He claimed, among other things, to have had his family farm confiscated by the Israelis during “the war.” Interestingly, he showed no signs of bitterness. I didn’t quite understand, so I stopped his story to ask him: “But how did you feel about losing your farm to the Israelis?” He shrugged. Apparently, it was no big deal. Later, though, when my friend explained that Vienna was crawling with spies, I decided that’s what the Middle Eastern guy was: a spy. Living in the apartment building favored by American diplomats. Getting to know them. Hanging out. It all made sense. The girlfriend was real, though. My college buddy had met her. “She’s definitely hot,” he told me.

September 15, 2018

My hosts are keeping me out of my own head, with their cute children, their conversation, their dinner guests, and their good food. The kids are super-cute and funny. Hence I have not had a chance to mull over the destruction of Europe for a full twenty-four hours – and am probably better off for it.

But today we went to the UN, and that was the end of my tranquility. A group of us went. I was nervous. I suspected I would not like it there, and I didn’t. But I put on a happy face. The kids were with us. That’s what the UN is really for: amusing children. It’s like a Disneyland for The New World Order. At the main entrance was a big display, a wall of giant, colored squares with important UN goals printed on them, things like “Increasing Justice” or “Solving Poverty.” It was literally global politics for 8-year-olds.

We walked around and then had drinks at the in-house bar, inside the complex. We talked to some UN people. They strongly disapprove of Trump: Everything is in disarray because of him, there’s confusion in the ranks, and people are getting laid off! (Does that mean the “increase” in “justice” will be reduced?)

I talked to an American woman. She had had a stressful childhood, went to elite schools, and then obtained multiple advanced degrees. After this she wandered the globe, looking for a purpose, and ended up marrying a foreign bureaucrat of some kind. They have no kids, they divorce, and she ends up working for the UN, where she writes reports about agricultural statistics for her boss.

As we left the bar, I looked around at the other people there. There was every ethnicity and every imaginable balding pattern. All these people were working on different projects, writing reports, and pushing paper back and forth among themselves. And what does any of it amount to? Diversity. Inclusion. International Cooperation. “Increasing Justice.” And how do you uproot this kind of bureaucracy? Think how many people have jobs like this; all the NGO workers back in the US. There are thousands of people who can’t rebel against progressivism because it is literally paying their rent.

The next morning, we went to a farmer’s market with my friend’s family. There were two areas. The first was the Austrian one, where white farmers who looked like J.Crew models displayed their goods. Everything there was beautifully presented, hand-crafted, organic, curated, selected, and was of course insanely expensive. And then there was the Turkish area, which was dirty, chaotic, and cheap.

My hosts wanted to show me the authentic Turkish section, so I endured a walk through it. It was not fun. My friend’s wife wanted me to try this doughy Turkish pastry, so I waited in the line, paid my fifty cents, and ate a few bites. Afterwards, safely returned to the Austrian side, we had coffees, and my hosts actually mentioned that the Austrians were getting a little impatient with the noticeable rise in the immigrant population. They just mentioned it in passing. But you suspect this is happening now: Kind-hearted white liberals like themselves are reaching a point where they begin to whisper such things to each other. The solution for the natives will be to move to the suburbs. And of course, my friends will eventually get transferred somewhere else.