Thursday, December 15, 2005

Some last observations of Budapest

When I was in Spain for a weekend, there were huge crowds gathered around a troupe of Native Americans in traditional Native American garb and playing traditional Native American music. (Since I go to Swarthmore I am compelled to point out that none of this may in face be traditional. But it seemed that way.) Today, I walked by the same thing at a market by my apartment. It seems odd to me that this is so popular in Europe, but I guess it's not much different than, say, non-Irish celebrating St. Patrick's Day.

I frequent a Chinese buffet down the street. From what I can tell it is run by a mother and her two children, they are the only people I ever see working there. And they are there daily: the buffet is open for 10 hours and there must be another 3-4 involved in food preparation and cleaning. So each works perhaps 14 hours a day, every day of the week. Such is the cost of building capital, it requires total commitment and a little ambition. Where do you see the same sort of thing in the United States? Is it solely a feature of developing economies?

Two finals down, two to go. Out of Hungary on Saturday, into America on Sunday (with 12 hours in London in between. Ugh.)

4 Comments:

Anonymous dick said...

14 hours a day 7 days a week... I seem to recall your grandfather doing quite the same thing... for maybe 50 years..

The restaurant business is demanding for sure.

6:28 PM  
Anonymous Battlepanda said...

Funnily enough, when I lived in London I watched a TV program called "risking it all", about ordinary people who take all their savings and put their house in hock to start a business. The restauranteurs always have the hardest time. They usually start with visions of sugar plums and rapidly disintegrate into a nightmare of spiralling despair as they chase the elusive 'break even' point. Many of them do end up working the kind of hours you note, though not by design.

My 2 cents: don't go into the restaurant business. Start a shop selling any kind of crap you like and you'll have a better time of it.

11:56 PM  
Blogger Isaac said...

Henry: if you do one thing go into London! I don't care how tired, jet-lagged, or head-achy you are. It will make those twelve hours actually interesting. Pick one random place to visit and go directly there and then wander around a bit in the vicinity. Stop and get coffee/sweets or maybe even a real meal. There is something very refreshing about getting out of the transit tunnel. I went into Paris when I had maybe a six hour lay-over and it was wonderful. And Heathrow is a lot closer to London than de Gaulle is to Paris (the bus takes an hour). Sure it is a bit expensive and a bit of a hassle, but it is well worth it. Plus, you get to say you visited London and you get an English stamp in your passport.

May I suggest going to the City, or the British Museum, or the Tate Modern (you can also see St. Paul's Cathedral and walk down the river to the National...).

11:29 AM  
Blogger henry said...

Unfortunately my layover is from 9pm to 9am, so...

1:01 PM  

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