Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bombs over Baghdad?

Or Budapest? Just kidding...nothing that severe. Lan and I said bye to Casey when he took us to the bus station. I was sad not to get to say goodbye to all the people we met from LCC, but time did not allow. And I even teared up when the bus was rolling out! lol. Lan and I had such a good time. I was glad she got to meet Casey. And I was way excited to get to see Casey and his life there.

We had no problems getting into Vilnius, finding the right bus, and making it to the airport. We had no problems getting back to Budapest at all. On our drive into the city, we saw a sea of flashing lights down one of the roads and realized that's where all these cops racing past us were ending up.

Yesterday was a national holiday marking the 50th anniversary of the revolution Hungarians effected from the Communistic occupation of the Soviets. Laypeople faught long and hard to get them out of their city and won for almost two weeks before the army came back hard and resolutely. The Hungarians are a very passionate and patriotic people. They wanted to celebrate their heroes that gave their lives 50 years ago. However, if you know anything about the current political climate here, you know that the prime minister has been caught on tape admitting that he and his party lied about the economy to get re-elected. People are still furious, but there's no Constitutional allowance that can force him out of office. Parliament's all his party people, the Socialists, so they're not getting him out either. He knows the people hate him, so in order to protect himself, he police-barricaded the formal ceremony commemorating the holiday from the public. Only he and the other international offices who came to visit were allowed at the ceremony. So the protesters got mad...threw things, yelled things, set up their own barricades. And the police threw tear gas and shot people with rubber bullets.

Lan and I returned around 6:30 p.m. or so. We saw the reports on BBC and figured we could just head to the outskirts to shop and eat and stuff. So we get on the subway...and the stop we chose to get off was shut down. We were confused, but we just decided the next stop would work. Well, evidently the party wasn't over. We walk up the steps to see all these people just standing around with Hungarian flags. There are people of all ages and none of them seem extreme, so we just kinda warily walk towards the street. Then we hear, "BANG, BANG, BANG!" And Lan even said she heard some women screaming, so we immediately grabbed hands and RAN down the steps back to the subway. Being from Huntingdon, TN, I knew what guns sounded like, and that was them. It may have been only rubber bullets, but we weren't staying around to find out. So we headed on down to the next stop and had no problems. The stop that was shut down was evidently the middle of the crossfire, and reports said the conflict went on late into the night. Thankfully, our hotel is not super-central, so we were not in any danger. But what an experience! We almost wanted to take pictures, but I valued my life too much to be conspicuous.

So that's the closest near-death experience we've had since we've been here. And it was only rubber bullets. lol. Today we caught a train to Szeged, a beautiful little city in southern Hungary. The last pharmacy school is here, and we get to tour it tomorrow. But Szeged is beautiful! It's one of the neatest, cutest towns I've seen in Hungary. The government has put money back into reconstruction and the city just makes you happy seeing all the beautiful colors and architecture. The university is beautiful as well. We only walked into one of the main courtyards, but looking around, I could so live somewhere like this. You can walk anywhere and the city center has everything you could possibly need. The little square being sprinkled with little cafes and dessert shops. We walked in one today, and I thought just looking around would give me diabetes.

More news on Szeged to come. Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't scare us like that! You know we were paranoid about that kind of stuff(bombs) going on while you were there.Dad said it was in the paper today but I didn't know anything about it until I read BOMBS OVER BAGHDAD!Just stay safe.
Sounds like you had a great visit with Casey. It's neat that you got to see his "world".
Ready for you to be home-love you