The Visit (2)

We’re still talking. But I’m knackered. His mother told me that he was too like me for comfort and now I’m finally getting a glimpse of what she means.

What would you like for dinner? Doesn’t bother me.
What do you want to do today? I don’t mind.
You hungry? Not really.

I hadn’t realised how challenging it is to have live with someone who is so non-committal but am now realising why I’m living on my own. Man, it’s an effort. And I keep forgetting he’s there. I walk off the tram and have to check to make sure that he’s behind me. I cross the road and double check, too. I leave the supermarket and again, I’m checking bags and boy. Hats off to ye mums and particluarly to ye working mums  and mums of more than one… I don’t know how ye do it.


Yesterday, we went to the zoo. I’d never been before. It was quite the experience. We went to see the koalas but they were hiding. We saw lumps of fur in a tree and the rest was left to our imagination. We had a minor hiccup and we were all but drafting a letter to whomever is in charge of animals worldwide to tell them how the seals in Budapest Zoo were being abused, living as they do in some shallow inches of water. But after the third check-up when the pool was being refilled, we realised that it had only been drained so that the seals could get their annual check-up. Whew.

Nothing in my lifetime’s education so far has prepared me to combat the earnest intensity of a naive mind.  What comeback is there ‘I’m so sad that the animals are caged up, that the seals have to live in such conditions, that the hippos’ water is so dirty.’ Is it okay for me to be sad, too, or should I be distributing pearls of wisdom and gems of insight? Never was I so happy to see a gopher – to relish the simplicity of a menace whose life’s amibition is to screw up a lawn. Simple stuff. They were happy. Uncomplicatedly happy.

We’ve been rating Budapest’s finest bars and cafés on the quality of their hazi limonadé (house lemonade) and five litres in, The Goat Herder café is still on top. I keep forgetting that kids have to eat and eat properly, a sad reflection on my own ‘eat when I’m hungry’ habit. We’ve decided to conquer the world, one cuisine at a time, and last night ate at a fab Vietnamese restaurant on the No. 5 bus route over in Buda. He had squid (and yes, I heard my mother’s voice echo in my head as I mentally thought – ‘Tis far from squid you were reared’). But hey – it’s a different generation.

Today, we went to see the moving statue, a phenomenon I’ve shown to many an adult visitor who were as awed as I was. Him? No. ‘Ah, yes. It moves. But that’s because it’s cut into the stone.’ Ye gods – do kids today know everything?



Later we went to Miniversum– a fabulously creative, interactive mini-universe. You push variously coloured buttons to activate lights and motion and then get to spot said same lights and motion. It could be the lights of a cop car flashing on and off or an medic giving CPR or an old lady beating her carpet. All in miniature. Amazing stuff. It was hard to know who was the bigger child – me or him. We spent more than an hour touring the miniature towns in Hungary, Austria, and Germany, trying to outdo each other in unravelling the clues. Well worth ever forint. A must see for anyone who hasn’t yet been. And we’re already planning to go back – again.

Then we went to watch a fencing class. I have a feeling it’s going to be the next ‘thing to do’ and mom and dad, it’ll be expensive – I’m sorry. But not really. I think I’m going to take it up myself in September. I had a few lessons years and years and years ago, long before the gear came with electric extensions and the lights lit up – but I’m seriously considering reconnecting.

Then it was dinner with some younger men – his own age – homemade pasta with a secret family recipe (conquering the world, one cuisine at a time) and home to marinade the cajun chicken he’s cooking for dinner tomorrow night. Those are the perks. Did I say I was knackered?


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