Healthy waters

Hévíz has long been on my list of places to go in Hungary. The lake there is supposedly the world’s largest (or second-largest – depending on what you read) biologically active natural medicinal lake. Water spews forth at a rate of 410 litres per second and at a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius (104 F), keeps the lake rather temperate. In effect, this means that the lake water changes every three days (or daily; again, depending on what you read!).

IMG_4521 (800x600)The city itself was a hotbed of blue-haired honeys so it was no surprise that most of those in the water that day were slightly older than yours truly. Known for its restorative powers, Hévíz lake is where the masses come to be cured. Mind you, there is a rather extensive list on the outer walls of ailments not covered by the cure. And should you have one of those, you’re advised to stay well away without your doctor’s approval.

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It is thought that the Romans knew of the curative effect of the lake, given the ancient coins found there in the early 1980s. Its development as a spa began in the mid-eighteenth century when Earl György (I.) Festetics built a wooden bathing house on a float but it wasn’t until March 1868, when his son György (II.) Festetics started the building project in earnest.

At the turn of the twentieth century,  brewery magnate Vencel Reischl wrought his commercial magic and turned the place into a success. Replacing the old buildings with more modern hotels and restaurants  and landscaping the grounds paid off.  Figuring there was money to be made were he to partner with the right doctors, Reischl brought the first one in, in 1906. One of its later doctors, Dr Moll Károly, was the first to use subaquean traction treatment. This involves hanging from your neck or arms in water…. depending on what part of you needs sorting out: cervical, dorsal or lumbar spine, hip, knee, or ankle.  The mind boggles.

IMG_4523 (800x595)Like most other places in Hungary, the war saw a change of fate. Between 1944 and 1946 the buildings were used by the Germans as a hospital and then by the Russians.  In 1948, the state took charge and the State Medicinal Bath was established by the Ministry of Health in 1952.Today, it’s a happening place, year round.

When trying to find out more about the lake, I came across the term ‘health tourist’ and it made me laugh … and then stop and think. While I like the odd dip, I’m not a dedicated spa fan. And the thoughts of travelling the world in search of the ideal spa or bath or healing water seems rather ludicrous. That might change though, were I desperate to find a cure for whatever ailed me. I’ve been dubbed a ‘cemetery tourist’ but even then, I’ve never specifically gone anywhere to see a cemetery, preferring to stumble on them wherever I happened be. But each to their own. Hévíz is definitely a popular spot with Russians and Bavarians alike – with the odd Hungarian thrown in for good measure. Worth stopping by, if you’re in the neighbourhood.



Mistaken identity

There are days when I wake up and wonder who I am. What I’m doing here. It usually takes just a couple of seconds for my life to come flooding back and for that sense of contentment that I’m enjoying lately to flood through my veins. On good days, when everything is going to plan (even though I didn’t have a plan to begin with), life is better than good – it’s great. And on days like these, I don’t have an identity crisis. I know my name, where I live, and although still not too clear on my purpose in life, I know who I am.
So when I get an email that starts off with:
Jo napot, Jiang Yi vagyok Yuan, a befektetesi menedzser dolgozik egy neves bank Hong Kongban. en vagyok a kapcsolatot, az uzleti tranzakciok tekinteteben azt akarjak vegrehajtani, azt illetoen, hogy egy alvo szamla, amely osszege tizenegy millio otszazezer dollar tartozo nehai ugyfelnek. Meg kell felelniuk a meglevo ultimatumot a bank, hogy egy csaladtagja, es minden olyan erofeszitest, hogy keresse meg a mar bizonyitott sikerrel. Szeretnem bemutatni onnek, mint a tъlelo csaladtag lehetove teszi hogy egy allitas, hogy az alapok. Kerjuk szives jelezze erdeklodeset tovabbi informacioert azaltal, hogy valaszol az en privat e-mail cim: [email protected] Koszonom, Jiang Yuan Yi
… I start to wonder. I know one person in Hong Kong and it’s not Jiang Yuan Li. I am wary of anything that has to do with banks or business transactions with strangers and I detest ultimatums. But I know I’m not Hungarian and I know that my Hungarian isn’t up to a correct translation. So I read on. And, as if sensing that I might be confused about my identity, Jiang Yuan Yi tries out my German.
Hallo,Ich bin Jiang Yi Yuan, Investment Manager, die fuer eine seriose Bank in Hong Kong. Ich kontaktiere Sie in Bezug auf Geschaeftsgang Ich mochte, dass wir ausfuehren, ist es in Bezug auf ein ruhendes Konto, die elf Millionen, fuenfhunderttausend Dollar Zugehorigkeit zu meinem verstorbenen Kunden Mengen. Ich habe eine bestehende Ultimatum von der Bank treffen, um ein Mitglied seiner Familie und allen Bemuehungen zum Auffinden jeder bewaehrt hat erfolglos sind. Ich mochte Ihnen als ueberlebende Familienmitglied praesentieren, damit Sie stellen einen Anspruch auf die Mittel. Wir bitten Sie zeigen Ihr Interesse fuer weitere Informationen durch die Reaktion auf meine private E-Mail-Adresse: [email protected] Danke, Jiang Yi Yuan
No better. However much Hungarian I might have gleaned over the last few years, my German could be written on the back of a postage stamp. Yet for whatever reason, Jiang Yi Yuan seems to think that if I am not Hungarian, I might be German  – why else would I be living in Hungary. This is where it gets interesting – this email was sent to an old UK hotmail account. And just in case I wasn’t German, my new friend Jiang Yi Yuan decided to be sure that I’d get the message.
Good Day, I am Jiang Yi Yuan, an Investment Manager working for a reputable Bank in Hong Kong. I am contacting you with regards to business transaction I want us to execute, it is in respect to a dormant account which amounts to Eleven Million, Five Hundred Thousand Dollars belonging to my late client.
I have to meet an existing ultimatum from the Bank to provide a member of his family and all efforts to locate any has been proven unsuccessful. I want to present you as a surviving family member to enable you put a claim to the funds. Please kindly indicate your interest for more information by responding to my private email address: [email protected] Thank you, Jiang Yi Yuan
I’ve had lots of these but never one in three languages. Does anyone ever really fall for them? Are there people in the world who would actually believe Jiang Yi Yuan? Thank God I know who I am – and that I am in no danger of mistaking myself for a gullible, senseless, trilingual cretin who fails to notice that it’s not possible to be reputable while at the same time asking complete strangers to impersonate a relative of a dead man. What is the world coming to eh?