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Travel log - Page 6

post #76 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by LARon
I've been using my Blackberry pretty heavily during my travels. Does anyone know if these minutes will be subject to any type of special or roaming charge? It never before crossed my mind because I use it so much at home and haven't previously traveled abroad with it.

For what its worth, I have a fixed rate plan with cingular. I did have to sign up specially for international calling; not sure if/how that affects the internet messaging function.

Thanks.


you are going to have a fucking heart attack when you get back.

before you do anything else - disable the feature that checks mail and logs on automatically. do so only when you specifically want to check or send soemthing.
post #77 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by LARon
Exactly right. They made it very clear that for any order where they take measurements, you have to come back to pick up the shoes. She didn't suggest any type of compromise or accomodation (which suggests that they're really tied in to their distributing agreement).

That's my understanding too. So don't piss at Vass for not shipping overseas. However, I don't think bespoke orders are covered by those agreements. After you pick up your first bespoke order and if they fit, they'll keep your measurements and ship any subsequent orders.
post #78 of 127
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter
you are going to have a fucking heart attack when you get back.

before you do anything else - disable the feature that checks mail and logs on automatically. do so only when you specifically want to check or send soemthing.

Thanks GT. I should have suspected. (The sun just set on my EGs).
post #79 of 127
OK, I'm confused now
How did Andrew and Brian manage to get their Vass orders via mail ?
Or did they simply call in with color, style, last and size # in hand ?
Lastly, how is Vass able to charge for orders in euros ? I thought Hungary was scheduled to switch to € in 2010 ?
post #80 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christofuh
OK, I'm confused now
How did Andrew and Brian manage to get their Vass orders via mail ?
Or did they simply call in with color, style, last and size # in hand ?
Lastly, how is Vass able to charge for orders in euros ? I thought Hungary was scheduled to switch to € in 2010 ?

Andrew and Brian ordered from another retail source, not from the Vass store in Budapest. Hungary postponed its conversion to Euro beyond 2010 not long ago.
post #81 of 127
Might " another retail source " be situated in the Fatherland ?
post #82 of 127
Just have a concierge service at your hotel pick your shoes up and mail it to you.
post #83 of 127
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkzzzz
Just have a concierge service at your hotel pick your shoes up and mail it to you.

Remember, the Vass folks require you to try them on before completing the deal. Frankly, I think they're either very scrupulous business people, or are scared shitless of being sued by Bergdorf and/or their American licensees (which suggests they may have been in an asymetretrical negotiating position when they struck their deal).
post #84 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by LARon
Remember, the Vass folks require you to try them on before completing the deal. Frankly, I think they're either very scrupulous business people, or are scared shitless of being sued by Bergdorf and/or their American licensees (which suggests they may have been in an asymetretrical negotiating position when they struck their deal).


I had a friend pick up mine and send them to me. little note - fedex was about $200 a pair, regular air mail was about $100 a pair. my shoes are not light.
post #85 of 127
Thread Starter 
As a Christmas gift, my ex-wife gave me (in late January) a book titled "1,000 places to visit before you die." Fearing the title may have been an omen, I immediately had my hands and the book tested for toxins. Finding none, I brought it along on this trip. In one section, it refers to Budapest as having once been considered the Paris of the East. On the strength of this reference, I decided to give it the once over again this morning.

While it is indisputably a grand city, having served not only as capital of the once mighty Astro-Hungarian empire (and home of the Hapsburgs) but also as a major commercial center of the Ottoman empire, it has simply fallen into disrepair over decades of neglect and state control. The buildings are still emperial in scale, and the overall image of the city is indeed quite muscular (in much the same way as Chicago), I just can't get past the dingy factor. That said, I struck out in search of the famed Hungarian-turkish baths.

Rather than going to the beautiful but touristy Spa Gellert (which is one of the places my book says you should go before your poisoned by your ex), I took drzzz's advice to check out a "real" Hungarian spa, the Spa Rudas Furdo, which is on the Buda side of town.

Upon arriving, I thought I had read the sign wrong; the place seemed like a hospital, with all the attendants in white, and people sitting around looking either like patients or relatives in a waiting room. But when I inquired, I found that it was indeed the place. For less than the price of the cigar I puffed yesterday I got all the water time I wanted and choice of a 15 or 30 minute massage. (Since I didn't clearly understand the attendant, and thought I had asked for 50 minutes, imagine my dismay when, after 15 minutes, the masseuse tapped me and said "finished." Only then did I realize "fiftee" didn't really mean 50.)

The first thing I marveled at was the one-ply loin-cloth the locker room attendant handed me. I couldn't imagine what this was supposed to cover; evidently, not much. Having stripped and tied it around my waist I proceeded into the shower area, en route to the main bath. Upon entering the main bathing room I noticed that all the bathers were men, wearing one-ply loin-cloths. After getting over the distress of the moment, I noticed four smaller baths/pools in each of the corners with a large main bath in the center, beneath an old dome. The entire structure is made of stone -- very old stone, very dark stone; and no light really gets through. While there are holes in the dome for natural light to penetrate, the holes are painted different colors (resembling a stained glass window), and not a lot of light gets through; but there's enough to see.

It really felt like stepping back into ancient Rome. It was at once a wonderment and an oddity -- truly old school, all us men in loin-cloths; truly communal. Then there was the odor; a faint one to be sure, but pungent enough to notice and consider. It was either the odor of a underground place perpetually filled with water, without natural light or ventilation and grown men frolicking about in one-ply loin-cloths, or the mixture of all these things plus the occasional "leak." But with all the toilets about I concluded that just couldn't be.

When I say the place is made entirely of stone, I mean real old stone. Think Roman Pantheon -- which is exactly what it resembled. As I stood beholding the sight, and recalling its Turkish origins I immediately recalled the scene from Lawrence of Arabis where Lawrence (Peter O'toole) was taken into custody and questioned/beaten by the Turks. Specifically, the part where the commanding officer, obviously taken by Lawrence's golden hair and fine features walks over and pinches one of his nipples. I combined that image with the Eastern European dietary preference for pig knuckle and thought "the first rube who even thinks about the old nipple pinch is gonna taste the American version of said knuckle sandwich!" In the words of the immortal Homey the Clown: "Homey don't play that!"

After that moment of trepidation passed I waded into the main bath, which was nice and warm. I eventually sampled the smaller pools, but they each contained water of different cooler degrees. The men hang about in groups of varying sizes, with few solos, but there were some. Many assume a kind of stooped position, resting their hands on their knees, as if bending to . . . (well, that's where the fleeting thought of leakage originated).

After enjoying the waters, I took some steam and, at my appointed time, went for the massage. There are massage tables throughout the spa, some in private rooms, some in a public area. Mine was in a room with three tables. When you lie down the masseuse pours hot water all over you then begins to soap you down. Where in the states the masseuses use oils, at the spas here they use good old Ivory soap. My guy had very strong hands and gave an excellent massage. I was totally bummed it was only "fitee" minutes.

After he rinsed off the soap with a warm water hose, I left and grabbed a one-ply towel (same fabric as the loin-cloth, and definitely not "thirsty") and went to one of several relaxation rooms. It was heaven; great way to relax.

After my spa experience concluded, I walked back across the bridge to Pest for morning coffee and cake at one of their most famous (according to the "before you die" book) confectioners, Gerbeaud -- which is literally just steps away from the Sofitel. Very elegant place with a couple of cute freuleins/fraus.

Now, after lunch, I'm heading off to the museum and look forward to evening, for tonight there is tango! I'll probably hit Castle Hill (another place to see before you die, as VR seems to agree) tommorrow.
post #86 of 127
Thread Starter 
No, this is not a delayed report from my Amsterdam leg, there is a special exhibit of 40 Van Gogh works here in Budapest, and the Musuem of Fine Arts. I walked the approximately 3 miles musuem from my hotel to the museum; actually, strolled is more like it. I traveled along a long, bustling avenue, which housed several embassies, most notably the Russian and Turkish (Hungary's two most recent rulers) as well as the South Korean.

Along the way I stopped for a goulash and stuffed cabbage lunch at a place called the Wall Street cafe (didn't notice the sign until I was seated). It looked quite authentic from the outside, and the food was definitely Hungarian -- and very good -- but inside, they had a black and white mural above the bar featuring likenesses of Louie Armstrong and his band, and also acknowledging Billie Holiday. Cool place.

After enjoying lunch, I continued my stroll and passed all manner of everyday Hungarian going to and fro. Upon arriving at the museum, a great classical structure that sits directly across from another lovely art building, on either side of an imposing square featuring a victory column of some sort, I entered with the crowd and made my way to the Van Gogh exhibit.

Interestingly, in the introductory printed comments giving a biography of VG's life, it notes that in 1881 (he was born in '53 and died in '90) his relation with his parents became strained because of his religious extremism, so he left home. A year later (in '82) he took up with an already pregnant alcoholic prostitute named Clasina Maria Hornik -- called Sien. (Exposing, yet again, the hypocrisy of the righteous! Cross reference to the "Hookers" thread.) He left Sien in '83.

The exhibit only reinforced my love for this guy's work. What an artist. If I could buy work like his these days, I'd give up besp . . . nah, let me know even finish that lie. But I would try to collect more.

After walking the exhibit I spent about another 45 minutes perusing the permanent collections and ultimately took the return stroll to Sofitel on the Danube. I snapped a few more photos today, of the lovely old buildings up and down embassy row, as well as another one along the Danube.

I'm now heading off for dinner then on to tango. They start and end really early here, 7:30 until 10:45. I hope its not fully of blue hairs!
post #87 of 127
I enjoyed the log, even though the edited posts got me a little PO'd.
post #88 of 127
Thread Starter 
double post
post #89 of 127
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vanity
I enjoyed the log, even though the edited posts got me a little PO'd.

You, my friend, are a freak (and I dont mean that in a bad way, and Id be more than happy to share in a PM exchange if you like). Ill also give you details on Rio, if you like.
post #90 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by LARon
While it is indisputably a grand city, having served not only as capital of the once mighty Astro-Hungarian empire (and home of the Hapsburgs) but also as a major commercial center of the Ottoman empire, it has simply fallen into disrepair over decades of neglect and state control. The buildings are still emperial in scale, and the overall image of the city is indeed quite muscular (in much the same way as Chicago), I just can't get past the dingy factor. That said, I struck out in search of the famed Hungarian-turkish baths.

Did you mean Hungarians were from outer space or the empire extended to other planets in the solar system? Sorry, pal, I can't resist.

I really enjoyed strolling along the broad boulevards and the quiet side streets. Budapest is full of grand old elegant buildings desperately in need of restoration. Even if they're in disrepair, somehow I still found them charming, their decay poetic. You should check out the Gresham Palace Four Seasons Hotel, a grand Imperial building spectacularly restored.

Looking forward to your next report.
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