Saturday, February 3, 2007

Newbies Travel Experience

So today we decided to get up at the crack of dawn to see some cities around Hungary. Me, Eric, as well as the new CIEE lads: Laura, Jeff, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Mary went to Tata and Gyor.

Tata is this small town about an hour northwest of Budapest. Check out the pictures in the links. Our train left at 6:45 because we were hoping to avoid the train strike that was due to start at 8 am. We got to Tata in the bright morning light at 7:45 and moved on to the stunning castle. The castle used to be a hunting residence for the Kings in the middle ages. Now it stands over a lake that welcomes swimmers in the summer. We were enjoying a nice view of the lake when a deer attacked us. Ok so it didn't so much attack us as swim in the water in front of us. Still it was quite a surprise.

Then we toured around the town a bit, and found a little cafe for hot chocolate. We ordered foro csokolade (hot chocolate) but ended up having cold chocolate and not paying for it (she somehow undercharged us).

After Tata we headed to Gyor. We had lots of good humor along the way. For instance, Eric was quite struck by the fact that I was tutoring a Hungarian boy. The fact that I would "tackle" him or "wrestle" with him really got Eric going.

Also interesting was the dirty talk Eric had on the train with Mary and Elizabeth. The rest of us were going on about some boring topic, but they had moved on to inappropriate sexual topics. I was surprised how quickly Eric was able to corrupt these gentle young Americans. Damn Irish humor.

We made it to Gyor and asked the tourist office where to get some food. We found a really good restaurant a little off the beaten path and ate lunch for a good two hours.

Gyor is a really sweet old town. Napoleon even thought so and stayed for a night in 1809 before trying to kick the crap out of Russia. It's also a German town that still publishes a German newspaper. Here's Eric taking a picture of Napoleon's House.We also saw this cathedral where supposedly a mural of Mary bursted out crying with blood for tears. Eric was excited because this had been brought from Ireland by an Irish saint. This didn't happen for us.

We finished off our tour in Gyor and caught an unveventful train home. This was probably my easiest time I've had with transportation. It sounds so boring. Maybe the whole language thing is coming around.

One odd thing about the whole day was the contrast between wealth and poverty. On the train we would pass these shanty towns that were just walls with garbage spread all around. This one town Tatabanya had been conquered by communism and was so ugly. But then Tata just down the road was beautiful and thrived on tourism. It was kind of a sad contrast.

So on the whole the trip wasn't that eventful, but it was actually really enjoyable. Good company, good sights, rabid deer - all in a day's work.

While on the train, I was toying with some ideas for the blog. I decided this is how I think the candidates compare for 2008 regardless if they said they are running for prez or not. Hope this provides some good debates.

1) Mark Warner (D) - former governor of Virginia, unfortunately not running
2) Barack Obama (D) - if it were Osama he would definitely get elected in Afghanistan
3) Rudy Guliani (R) - Charismatic enough to pull in the right wingers and the moderates - some questions about his personal life and political past
4) Bill Richardson (D) - Latino, Democratic governor with huge foreign policy experience
5) Mike Huckabee (R) - Former Governor who can win the base - maybe the moderates
6) Hillary Clinton (D) - Republicans hate her, but Dems and Indpendents might be convinced by the vestiges of the best political spin machine ever - led by her husband
7) John McCain (R) - Might poll strong at first, but has alienated the base too much
9) John Edwards (D) - Has a lot of name recognition going for him, but what has he really done
8) Mitt Romney (R) - Good credentials as governor of Mass, but his Mormon faith will alienate too many supporters
9) Evan Bayh (D) - Impeccable candidate from a red state, but he's not running and lacks charisma
10) Chirs Dodd (D) - good candidate and good record as senator from Conn, but not enough name recognition to fight off the top figures
11) Sam Brownback (R) - might win a primary or two, but way too conservative for the country right now
12) Joe Biden (D) - Democratic senator from Delaware - talks way too much
13) Al Gore (D) - boring
35) Tom Vilsack (D) - effectively he's running for VP so he can deliver the purple midwest
987) Dennis Kucinich (D) - what an idiot

The Dems do highlight the top of the list but with Iraq looking the way it is and the recent sweep in congress, I'd say the Democrats have the upper hand. We'll see how this list looks in a year and half.


Unknown said...

Guliani made number three. You have to be joking.

Unknown said...

Guliani made number three. You have to be joking.

Okobojicat said...

Kucinch not an idiot. Perceived as perhaps because of his huge fricken ears.

Richardson is running for secretary of state, to become vp second term, to be the next president.

Vilsack for Sect of Education!

Right now, McCain has no, read, no shot. He has sig less shot than Huckabee, people don't like who/how he has coddled. No longer the maverick, and many think way too old.

Also, where did you includ yourself in their kid, or does your run not start until 2024.

greg said...

This is not very user friendly. i just lost my first post.

where is the update?

I hate to agree with Matt, but McCain has no shot! He is not well liked by the base, he has coddled the Hawks, and he has not discernable policy ideas.

Guliani has even less of a shot. He is pro-choice, pro-gay rights, and pro wall street. His personal life makes Bill Clinton look like a choir boy. I can't think the conservative base would go for him, and that is who picks the candidates.

Clinton has problems with the left, but she will raise enough money.

Obama is untested, but his instincts to silence Biden for a dumb compliment shows he has the right instincts. Not very seasoned, but he was raised in Cook County Politics, so he not above a cheap trick. That could be important.

Edwards is short, but he has a lot momentum in Iowa, so he could do very well. He is a tireless campaigner that is really for the small guy. That might play well with a lot of different constitutiencies.

Kucinch is not an idiot but he plays one on the campaign trail.

Richardson has a real shot. He is loved at home, can win the western vote (unlike Bush,he can ride a horse) and he is Latino.

My favorite of course is Gore. some left win bloggers think he may announce when he is on stage at the Oscars picking up his statue for Inconvient Truth.

Romny and Hucklebee are liked a lot by my Repbulican friends. That is who i think will win in Iowa.

Vilsack? Anything but education chief.

im-azn said...

you should probably find some space in that list for the governator . . . maybe ahead of warner at #.762 . . . i don't care if he's austrian