Travel has a way of producing the weirdest days, out of seemingly normal situations. On Friday last week I saved a man’s life. I’d made my way out of Belgrade after hiring a van, and arrived at the crack of dawn in Budapest. Groggy, after having slept in a van the whole night, I was supposed to meet a friend of mine, who’d offered me his couch to stay in, for the day or so I’d be there. Gladly I agreed, problem was finding his address. This proved doubly difficult as it later turned out that I had written the wrong address number.
This error lead me to enter a large apartment building. Nobody minded me, as there was nobody to mind me at 4:30 in the bloody morning. I thus made my way to the supposed apartment that my friend was staying at. It looked an awful lot like a doctor’s office, so I was slightly confused. I knocked nonetheless. I figured as there’d been no answer, after some insistent knocking, that I was in the wrong floor.
I decided to scout the area first, maybe it was somehow misnumbered, so I started climbing up the stairs. All of a sudden, I heard a loud crash, I looked up and saw a body hanging from a steel beam. Quite frankly, I thought he’d just successfully committed suicide, as he wasn’t moving or making any noise, for that matter. He was just hanging there, from a steel beam. Out of a sense of morbid curiosity, I decided to come closer and see exactly what had happened.
Turns out that he was very much alive, and as soon as he saw me, he asked me for help in a slurred, Aussie accent. As I got closer, I managed to piece together what had happened as I was assailed by the pungent smell of beer emanating from him and saw that he hung from a steel beam as if he was some sort of spider-monkey. He likely originated from the hostel that was two floors above, and he’d drunkenly fallen down the open elevator shaft, that was surrounded by the stairs I was on. Then, at the last second, this idiot had managed to grab onto a beam and thus he survived.
In either case, I helped him up, and seeing as he was fine I went on my way once again. I quite frankly don’t know how I ought to have reacted in this situation, but I somehow think there should’ve been more emotion in the whole thing, more drama. I should’ve felt nervous, or something. That’s Hollywood for ya kids, making ya think that everything in life ought to be dramatic. Sometimes life just happens and you move on.
Either way, I eventually managed to meet my friend and I passed out on his couch for a few hours. We then had lunch, and I went looking for one of the thermal baths I have yet to visit in Budapest. I think it is with good reason that in the Summer I can easily say that my favourite city on Earth is Budapest. I wandered past the elegant buildings, and made my way to Rudas thermal baths, after scarfing down some delicious slices of cake at the central marketplace. I highly recommend you go there with an empty stomach, because cakes are incredibly cheap and amazing.
I arrived at the baths, and I was surprised by the odd structure of the building seemed to be quite modern to supposedly have been built in 1550 by the Ottomans. Either way, I bought a ticket, and seeing as I wasn’t paying for accommodation, I thought I might as well get a massage as well. That said, as I entered the baths, I found it to be quite bizarre. I started noticing a distinct lack of women, and people started being naked, or had these odd garments around them that covered their penis, but not their ass, the deeper in the baths you got.
I don’t think it’s all that surprising that when you Google “Rudas” it helpfully tries to complete your search with the word “gay”. My research later revealed that unsurprisingly this sex exclusionary bath is, to a certain extent, used as a gay cruising location. So at times you did get a flirtatious glance or two, which threw me off the loop. Nevertheless, the building surrounding it might’ve been new, but the premises were still very much medieval Turkish. It looked as if I’d been sent back in time, I almost expected the sultan to be sitting at the baths, pondering his next political move.
An hour or two passed wherein I learned what my oatmeal feels after being left too long in the bowl of milk. After a while, you just want to stay there and enjoy the sensations of the hot liquid. My massage was to happen soon, so I made my way through the baths and find my massager – a strong mustachioed man, who was just finishing massaging a butt naked, morbidly obese man. It was then that I started wondering what the hell was up with my day, when one of the guys who’d been looking at me for the last thirty minutes goes pass me, smiling and waving me goodbye as he kept looking at me.
To make this whole thing even more homoerotic, I think my massage might count as foreplay to a prison rape. I was told to strip naked, and lie down. Much to my surprise, he started with a butt massage, and I can quite frankly say that I’ve been in fights that hurt less. He kept rubbing and kneading as if he had a grudge against me, it was getting extremely painful. It came to the point where I had to tell him to calm down, as I was getting sore (jeez, this is sounding more and more like gay fanfiction). I might not have found it all that pleasurable to get my butt massaged by a brawny gentleman, but whilst my massager seemed to have no perspective on pressure control, I learned a move or two. Ever since I travelled in the Yucatan Peninsula, and took a couple of massage classes, I’ve been keeping my eyes out for new moves, as they’re often quite successful with the ladies, and it’s great when you teach girls to do it on you.
I’ve since then tried the moves on girls, and I can say that they’re quite successful. The guy knew his stuff, he just had no idea on how to balance it. Soon enough, with oil up my ass, I made my way to the nap room at the baths, and had a much deserved nap. I awoke, and went to meet my friend back at his home, we met for dinner and a short while later we went out with another friend of his.
The man had confidence and swagger up the ass, and he regaled us with stories of his recent conquests and adventures in Cancun. Nightgame, and the party scene have never been a strong-suit. Until relatively recently, I’d never set foot in a nightclub, and until the last year I’d never actually even tried to flirt with someone at a club. As such, my friends were trading war stories about this one time when they succeeded with two sisters at the same time and similar stories. I just listened, as I had few stories to share on the subject, and thus gulped on my redbull and vodka which my new acquaintance was popping into existence at even the faintest sign of an empty glass.
We decided we’d go clubbing, and I agreed as I was curious to earn my spurs in that field. I want to master social interactions, as they used to be such a mystery to me, and clubs still pretty much baffle me. I ended up getting more than I bargained for though, as we entered the VIP area, as our new acquaintance knew every bouncer and barman in sight. Slightly in awe at the whole thing, I continued sipping the vodkas and redbull.
Nightclubs are weird environments, they’re where people go to hook up, but you can barely say a word. Plus, because half the guys are drunkenly approaching, and making a mess of things, girls have to be extra protective and they can often tell you to fuck off, even after only a single word’s been said. My main selling point, my ability to talk knowledgeably and funnily about almost any topic, is nullified in such an environment. I tried to make the most of it, dancing and having fun with my friends.
Nevertheless, the alcohol kept flowing and I kept drinking. Due to my height and build, it’s very difficult for me to get drunk, and even then I’ve never actually lost control – I just slur my words, and might not hold my balance, but all in all I’m still fully there. However, as I’d never done it before I wanted to see what the sort of drunken nightclub experience was like.
Turns out I still have about the same social acuity whilst drunk. Despite having no approach anxiety whilst on the streets, when I see a cute girl and decide to talk to her whilst stone cold sober; in this environment I don’t fully understand how to start an interaction. People are always in groups, so it always seemed like a dick move to essentially interrupt their evening and implicitly say “Listen, guys, I know you’re having a good time, but I want to put my dick in this fine lady, so don’t mind me joining your social circle”.
I tried a bit and failed. I drunkenly danced a while with one girl. We were having a good time, she was getting close and besides fondling each other a bit, nothing much came of it really. Finally, after probably 75% of a large bottle of vodka, I started feeling rather dizzy and I decide to sit down. Everything was moving, and if I closed my eyes it only got worse. I realize that this was likely the most drunk I’d ever been in my life, so it would probably be wise to start drinking water to avoid getting a hangover. I thus pour a glass of melted ice, make myself drink it, and do it again a couple of times. By that point, the dizziness was getting worse, so I had to look at a point on the floor and keep my eyes on it, just to not lose my dinner.
As said before, I am usually fully conscious when drunk. I knew my limits, stopped drinking, despite likely not even able to string a sentence or walk properly, I knew I had to drink water. After an hour or two of staring at the floor, I sobered up and looked up to see the friend I was staying with, making out with a plump girl he’d rejected earlier. I burst out laughing like a hyena, because this is a man who usually scoffs at getting near girls who are anything slightly lower than a model. I laughed and laughed, because it was completely out of character. His standards are usually legendarily high, so it just seemed like he’d been possessed by a horny teenager.
Shortly thereafter, he also sobered up and reacted similar to how the scientists at the Manhattan project must’ve done when they realized what evil they’d unleashed on humanity with the atomic bomb. I had a blast seeing him go through a semi existential crisis once he realized whom he’d been kissing. Ahhh alcohol…
This is why I love travel. Travel brings out the most random experiences, and you can swing from one adventure to the next. Yes, it might not always be the sort of thing you’ll tell your mother about, but I will say this, you won’t be forgetting any of them any time soon.