Thursday, October 19, 2006

Prague 2 until now

The symphony was nice, but the concert hall was nicer. It was the Rudolfinum if you want to look it up online. We did a little more shopping...there is always time for shopping. And actually, at the concert, there were two couples behind us with strong northern accents. We asked them where they were from, and sure enough, NY was their home! lol. They guessed I was from the south only because I used "y'all", but they said I didn't sound very Southern. Sometimes I take that as a compliment. lol. But I'm ALWAYS proud of my southern heritage...actually more now than ever.

The next morning we just prepared to head back to Budapest by train. We, once again, were wayyyy close to the smoking section of the train and tried to preserve our lives by covering our mouth to breathe. One kid got on and rolled his own. I thought my lungs were on fire. I've never been so affected by second-hand nastiness in my life. But great story.

We arrived in Budapest around 7 pm, and Dr. Samu was waiting to take us to our home-away-from-home, Hotel Ibis. We ate at this amazing Chinese restaurant called Buda cafe. lol. It almost changed my life. I'm telling you, the food here is amazing. Even though we're walking all over, there has definitely been no weight loss to date. lol. I don't foresee any in the near future. The next morning we went to G Management office, where Dr. Samu works, to plan our travel to Lithuania. After much debate and emailing, we settled on a ticket to see Casey tomorrow! It was a little more expensive than we were hoping for, but for me, it's definitely worth it to see a homie in HIS home.

After we nailed down travel plans, we decided to head across the Danube and see Buda, since so far we've only explored Pest. Buda has the hills, so we worked pretty hard on Tuesday. We only saw the Citadella and the pretty buildings at night. We made sure to stay over there until it got dark so we could walk across the bridge at night to see Parliament and the Castle lit up so pretty. OH! And once again, the food, we ate at a restaurant that has the Guiness World Record for the largest menu. lol. It's crazy! I took a pic, so you can see it later.

The next morning, wayyyyy early, we headed out on a train to Pesc, the city with the newest pharmacy school. It's a very neat city, and we were greeted at the train station and shown around by Timur, one of the Hungarian pharmacists who visited Memphis this year! Lan and I enjoyed the city, but we were very tired...fell asleep in the car. I love the architecture here. In Pecs, there is a mix of old world and Turkish features. The town is one of the larger ones in Hungary. It also boasts Europe's oldest pharmacy, which we visited to see the museum there.

We met Gabor Takacs, a pharmacist/researcher, at the university and he has been our main host. He took us out with a group of his friends and fellow colleagues, and Lan and I learned a ton more about the situation of healthcare in this country. There is a vast chasm between what the people want and what the government wants here. The doctors struggle to make enough money for survival. The pharmacists aren't in a much better position. Clinical pharmacy is almost unheard of. For many, pharmacy is a family business and the pharmacies are owned and passed down through family members. The hospitals are near-broke because healthcare is socialized, which means everyone has the same insurance and it's government-regulated. So they decide how much they'll pay for a certain med or procedure, then that's it. The patient can't pay, so the medical groups bear the burden. It provides absolutely no foundation for progress. It's very sad. Our peers and colleagues see it for the truth, and they're caught in a tough place since there's no way around the Socialist "dictators" in power. The minister of health is absurd, and the pharmacists and doctors are involved in protests regularly to show their disgust for the present circumstances. "Democracy" is only a theory here. It makes me angry but thankful.

We've met many nice people here as well, Gabor's girlfriend Edit, his friend Ferenc, Chubby, Attila, and more. We leave this afternoon to return to Budapest. Then we head to Lithuania tomorrow!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So glad you're getting to see Casey.Tell him we say "Hi", if you get this before you leave him.You're getting to see so much, it's unbelievable!
Love you lots & miss you