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Welcome to The Lotus Position, an intermittent collection of extempore navel gazings, ponderings, whinges, whines, pontifications and diatribes.

Everything is based on a Sample of One: these are my views, my experiences... caveat lector... read the Disclaimer

The Budapest Office - Castro Bisztro, Madach ter

The Budapest Office - Castro Bisztro, Madach ter
Ponder, Scribble, Ponder (Photo Erdotahi Aron)

Guest Nutter/Kindred Soul: Bill Bailey


Wednesday, 18 July 2007


Expecting something exotic, erudite or eldritch?

Sorry, just wanted to say that it's effing hot here in Budapest at the moment... the little Vista weather gadget says it's currently 38C (well, at the weather station at Ferihegy airport as of 17:30 local time). Doesn't seem that hot to me, but I'm inside and the building is in the shade.

I was however woken up at 6am this morning (yes, I know what a.m. means, the emphasis was on this and I'm not going back just to edit out "am" now that I've made the point) by the heat of the sun shining on my right foot.

That's hot.

I'm hoping there will be a thunderstorm to clear the air soon, though thunderstorms here can be a little... excessive at times.

August 20th last year - a national day of some sort and the day of the Red Bull Air Race - it was also rather hot. Hot enough that only fools stood in the sun. We watched the air race and retreated from the furnace heat to the apartment to return to the banks of the Danube/Duna early in the evening to settle in for the fireworks show at 8pm.

We were as I recall (and the blurred picture attests... where's it gone?) wearing as little as possible - think T-shirt to keep off the sun, shorts and sandals, but in my case carrying rucksack with all the optical gear... 35mm camera, lenses, video camera. Who would have thought...

There were clouds and little flashes of lightning in the distance, Buda side.

Aha! Fireworks and lightning! That would be cool, I rashly opined. I love fireworks (school chemistry lab lost a bit of various nitrates to my home pyrotechnic experiments) and lightning (though I have learned I should be careful where I point my finger...) so it seemed a delightful, if improbable prospect.

The fireworks began on time. There was a gust of wind. Then there was a slightly stronger gust. Then it began precipitating. It might have been rain, but it seemed to sting rather too much.

Then it began to sting a lot - then it really began to hurt, and finally the doors to the chamber of winds blew open and voila - instant Force 9 gale. At the same precise moment the precipitation definitely became rain - and lots of it. We are not just talking Cats and Dogs, we are talking Lions, Tigers, Pumas, Great Danes, Rottweilers and Irish Wolfhounds, not cute kittens and happy spaniels.

Wind and rain demolished the catering stalls - the heavy vinyl not being quite up to a tempest; fortunately the demise of one gave us somewhere to shelter while the waters rose... as rise they did, even on the banks.

Eventually we had to get away (along with many tens of thousands of others), so we scrambled up the embankment, clambered through railings and trudged home. Happily we live not too far away, but it was a long wade home. We were lucky: sightseeing boats collided on the river, a couple were thrown overboard (don't know if they were ever found), falling trees killed two or three people; it was a dark and stormy night.

They didn't stop the fireworks: they didn't want to cause a panic - apparently overlooking the fact that there was already quite a lot of panicking going on... (which reminds me, must learn the Hungarian for "Help!")

But, that was the Great Storm (a vihar) of 2006. I think it was a Sunday.

But today's Wednesday, so that's OK.