Saturday, October 07, 2006

Gyogyszereszek Jubileumi Kongresszusa

The fifteenth annual Hungarian Pharmacy Congressional conference started on Thursday. And we were driven in from Budapest just in time. We were greeted by and have been since hosted by a young pharmacist named Peter. He knows English incredibly well and has gone to great lengths to show us a good time. It started with him driving us around in his bombin' BMW that actually showed TV shows on the screen when it can pick up a signal. We took a ferry across Lake Balaton (the second largest lake in Europe) to a church way up on a hill (pictures to come later). Peter took us to two different places to make sure we had some adequate desserts, which Lan and I had no problem with. Later Thursday night, we met back at the conference center to greet Dr. L.B. Brown, one of our professors who has a long-standing relationship with the pharmacy association as well as with the Hungarian minister of health. We went along with a few other invited guests to a boat tour for dinner. We met two other professors from Debrecen, another pharmacy school in the country. We all sat together during dinner and the live entertainment, which included an older gentleman singing rock music. So much fun.

Friday was our big day. We got up in time to take in the exhibition, which is a lot of vendors selling their wares to the pharmacists who visit...much like TPA or APhA on a little bit smaller scale. Then we had lunch at the VIP table in the dining room. And let me add that we haven't been allowed to pour our own drink, open our own door, or pay for anything since we've been here. The Hungarian men are amazing at chivalry. But be careful with your dispensation of smiles. Sidebar: on our drive to Siofok from Budapest, I met eyes with a gentleman beside us at a stoplight probably of 45 years of age, and you know the story-he smiled, I smiled back, and then much to my surprise, homie's hanging his business card out the window. I about died! lol. I turned away and made Lan confirm that it was actually happening. Stopped in traffic is evidently no obstacle to love.

Okay, so back to the boatride, if you can imagine having your professors, bosses, whoever, around you, asking you questions about your future plans, hobbies, interests, what have you. Picture this on top of them drilling me and Lan as to why we don't drink and already planning our demise. lol. Evidently we were quite a let-down in this area from the students of the past. lol. Hungarians don't play when it comes to drinking. They all do...and they do it well. We still get it offered every meal, every day, never fails.

Ok, back to Friday...we are following a pharmacist from Germany and preceeding L. B., which is extremely intimidating. We remembered to speak slowly so that the interpreter could catch what we were saying. I think it went well. Everyone was very complimentary, no big bobbles or flops. I felt great about it.

Then we decided to walk back to our hotel instead of getting a driver. We needed exercise and there hadn't been that many turns. After getting directions and promising Peter we wouldn't, we got lost. We walked around for an hour and a half before giving up, returning to the conference, and then getting a ride back to our hotel. Hilarious.

Friday night was the BEST!!! After dinner, there was entertainment of an old rocker and a group of dancers. We walked in late, took our VIP seats, and enjoyed the show. At one point, the man stuck the mic in my face to sing, only to realize I didn't speak the language. Then he made fun of me the rest of the show. Typical. After that show, we went upstairs to enjoy the singing of Hungary's Megastar winner, much like our American Idol. She was awesome. She even sang some Aretha. THEN the fun really started. Hungarians love to we did. L.B. didn't hesitate, and I didn't either. Lan, however, refused to join us on the floor. We danced up a sweat until the karaoke started. L.B. kicked it off with some Elvis. SOOOOO much fun. Then I went to check out his English collection, and sure enough, there it FUGEES. So without hesitation, the dj let me go next and I sang Killing Me Softly with all my heart and with about 10 people singing behind me. L. B. was impressed with my ghetto-ness and of course, asked where I grew up. lol. Typical. Lan and I left around 12-something and got ragged by all of our elders who ended up closing the place around 3:30. These people are fun.

Today we did the tourist-y trek to a fortress and watched a medieval re-enactment with horses, swords, and colorful flags. The men would compete and win a flower, and I had no idea what they were doing with it when a guy on a horse dipped down and handed it to me. I was extremely embarassed. I was handed one more, then Lan, and another girl with us received one as well.

Tonight was another big dinner party, chance to dance, pressured to drink, questions about our future, and so much catering to us. It's been an amazing experience. Lan and I still can't believe how hospitable everyone is. Now we're tired. We head back to Budapest tomorrow.

Thanks for reading. Sorry it's so long. Too much fun to try to sum up.


Anonymous said...

You better be glad I wasn't there to 'break it down'....I would have stolen your thunder!!! I'm just kidding. Glad you are having a great time...since I am being forced to watch your Vols play, they are drilling Georgia. Take care and keep having fun.

Daron said...

So...when do you start working? ;) Haha. I'm messing with you, of course. It sounds like you're having an awesome time; I'm thankful for that! I love you!

Anonymous said...

it sounds like you are having tons of fun!! did you have a back up dancer though while you were belting it out?

Anonymous said...

hey lady...sounds like fun almost makes me wish i chose hungary!! i wish i could have seen you and LB breaking down and singing karaoke..CLASSIC!! continue representing the US with all your singing and dancing!! so dont hesitate to bring back one of the chivalrist guys...have fun!!

Anonymous said...

where are you? i tried calling your phone and it wouldn't work. i have an interview at UoM today and i don't know what to wear. i showed up at your apt. and you weren't there either. if your in the area drop by.