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Foreign Perspectives: Phil from Portugal

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 7, 2008 in Foreign Perspectives

Phil spoke English with an American deadpan. But don’t mention that to him.

This Portuguese native who was living and working in Hungary when we met him in Budapest told me his English came from U.S. media our country pushes out into the world.

“Conflicting” messages, he told me. One of the many reasons the world is conflicted about the United States.

Watch my interview with Phil below.

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Hungarian cooking lessons in Budapest

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 6, 2008 in Experiences

Enjoying a meal in Budapest, Hungary on Oct. 21, 2008.

Enjoying a meal in Budapest, Hungary on Oct. 21, 2008.

Sometimes, when you use Couchsurfing, you really connect with your host. In time, conversation and interests. Such is how things went for me and my host Bálint in Budapest, Hungary.

I stayed with him two nights. From our first conversation - over a garlic and eggplant dip of his mother’s creation and some Hungarian beers of my purchase - I knew he was a good, fun guy, interested in the world and excited to try out his English - the jokes came faster the better we got to know each other.

So, I was excited to hear his offer to cook a traditional Hungarian stew if we bought the ingredients.

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Foreign Perspectives: Thomas from Belgium

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 3, 2008 in Foreign Perspectives

Hostels aren’t just for kids.

You can come across people of all ages. We met Thomas and his wife - from Flemish-dominated northern Belgium - in the Aboriginal Hostel in Budapest, Hungary.

He was smart and engaging. Once he found out we were Americans he was eager to talk to us about politics. He is a big supporter of Ron Paul in the upcoming U.S. presidential election and loved talking global politics and economics.

Watch Sean’s interview with him below.

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Ep. 6 Accommodations. Stockholm, Sweeden.

Posted by Sean Blanda on Nov 2, 2008 in Podcast

Unfortunately, because of Internet problems Episode Six currently exists in two parts.  In this episode Sean and Chris discuss the differences between getting a hotel, hostel, or couchsurfing with advice on all three.

Part One

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Part Two

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Foreign Perspectives: Bharath from Bangalore, India

Posted by Christopher Wink on Oct 27, 2008 in Foreign Perspectives

We came across Bharath in a hostel in Budapest, Hungary. We spoke to him early one morning in the Aboringal Hostel’s common room. He compared what he was taught about the United States and the Americans he has met during his travels.

Watch our interview below.

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Welcomed by the children

Posted by Christopher Wink on Oct 26, 2008 in Experiences

He liked the movement of the mouse cursor on my computer screen. So I pried his hands from the keys and opened up Microsoft Paint. With a few interruptions to change color and tool, a four-year-old who stumbled upon me in a park in Budapest, Hungary drew me a computer-generated painting.

Children don’t likely understand the concept of language. I certainly don’t remember when I learned of the six billion people in the world, most don’t speak like me. The little boy with the dirty sweatsuit, dirt on his brown-olive skin, and sand in his bushy, black hair spoke on to me, in a language I couldn’t understand.

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Preconceived Notions: Budapest, Hungary

Posted by Sean Blanda on Oct 19, 2008 in Preconceived Notions

Budapest
Budapest used to be split into Buda and Pest.  They have only existed as a single city since 1873.  Hopefully, St. Paul and Minneapolis can just get it over with and do the same one day.

We arrived in Budapest yesterday.

It may be slightly unfair to write any preconceived notions on the Hungarian capital.  My youngest brother was assigned to Hungary when he signed up to be an exchange student, and has been residing in the country for the past several months.

One thing I am told by everyone who has visited there is that the city is simply jaw-droppingly beautiful.  Most acknowledge that the hot springs are it’s most unique characteristic.  Apparently, you can sit half naked next to total strangers in naturally warm water for relaxation.  According hot spring aficionado Tim Wu, they are a can’t miss.

Predictably, the residents of Hungary speak Hungarian.  Hungarian, however is one of the most unique languages in the world and because of this is often heavily studied by linguists and is difficult to learn.  Nouns can have up to 238 forms each.

Other than the hot springs, Budapest is just a big question mark and that’s what makes visiting it so exciting.  In the States we don’t hear much about the happenings in Budapest, so keep an eye out for WDSTL’s take when we release our Budapest episode.  Lord knows you wont see anything about this gem on American television.

Budapest courtesy of Flickr user zsoolt

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Budapest, Hungary you have no idea

Posted by Christopher Wink on Oct 18, 2008 in Plans

The central Budapest train station on Oct. 18, 2008. Photo by Sean Blanda.

The central Budapest train station on Oct. 18, 2008. Photo by Sean Blanda.

We got to Budapest, Hungary this afternoon and the Eastern Europe bloc is real. Having done nothing but taken a tram from the central station to Pest - the more modern portion of the city - my first reaction is that the Soviet-era part of this historic city is a jewel that could use some polishing.

We walked out of the train station above, which one can immediately tell was sight to be had during its 1950s height. Today, the paint is peeling, the cracks are growing and its age is showing.

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