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.)


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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