At the airport in Budapest, after our brief and hurried greeting, it was clear that Dad was flustered and was trying to compose himself by focusing his attention on on the task at hand, finding the cabbie. Understandably, a 93 multitasking becomes a challenge. Dad conquered and overcame the cell phone and located the cabbie and we headed back to his flat in Budapest. For the record, the locals, much like the Danube split references to the city as either Buda or Pest. Pest being the low lying east side of the city and the hilly west side Buda. Upon arriving at the flat, exhausted it was only 1:00 pm in the afternoon, local time. Back home we got up at 9:00 am some 22 hours earlier. I guess exhausted was somewhat an understatement. The flat is a modern bachelor pad, in a controlled access condo complex of some six 4 story buildings. The flat consisted of a eat in kitchen, bathroom and a large front room very nicely decorated with furniture. His military background was immediately evident. His shoes are spotless, his shirts and pants are pressed and pleated front and back. His close closet holds shoes, slacks and shirts neatly like ducks in a row.
Dad and Linda are “futzing” in the kitchen trying to communicate while Dad is trying to prepare something for lunch. I’m sitting on the couch looking around the front room, trying to process my surroundings. The first thing I noticed was that it was hot and could not find any evidence of an air conditioner. The second thing that became perplexing was that there was zero evidence of a bedroom, or any signs of any beds. Even hostels have beds!
As I sat there not thinking straight from exhaustion, I said to myself, I got it. The couch is a hide-a-bed. Alright, there it is. Dilemma solved. But wait, the hide-a-bed sleeps two, and there is Linda, me and Dad. That makes 3, right? Immediately I felt less exhausted. In fact the adrenaline started to pick me right up again. I got up and as inconspicuously as possible opened every door in the joint looking for a secret bedroom, walk in closet, Murphy bed or something. No luck! I sat back down, straight up on the couch this time with my face in my hands trying to make sense of the situation.
I know that Linda and me talked about the that fact this was not going to be a typical sightseeing or relaxing holiday but primarily a trip to reconnect with my father and try to get to know him and he to get to know us. What I had not counted on was how close we are about to get so quickly.
As we sat down in the kitchen to have lunch which Linda and Dad slapped together, I started nervously to make small talk and trying to figure out how to broach the subject of our sleeping arrangement.
After two hours of verbal Viennese waltzing, the subject of the sleeping arrangement was brought up. I wasted no time in soliciting details. As it turned out I was correct about the hide-a-bed couch. What I had overlooked was that one of the dressers in the Front room was not a dresser at all but a single Murphy bed that opens horizontally and not vertically. I was instantly relieved. Moving from three in a bed to three in a room is not so bad. Apart from me marveling at how a 93 year old with bum knees can skate around that flat on those hard wood floors nothing eventful happened the rest of the day..
Oh.. did I forget to mention that he is extremely hard of hearing in one ear and can’t hear out of the other. I only bring this up as he has he has a tendency of dropping things now and again and it sounds like little grenades going off, and the same with cupboard doors slamming shut. It took us a while not to jump out of our skins when they went off. Of course it didn’t phase Dad in the least. He can’t hear it.
The next morning I woke up with an incredible neck pain. I pulled a cord in my neck. Must have slept in one position all night from exhaustion.
The agenda for day two was to drive to Dad’s home in Eger, a town of some 50,000 in a well known wine region about 120 km from Budapest. Hang on to your seats and seat belts for this trip.¬