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2006 Called And They Want Their Eurotrip Back

Day 2 of my quest to make it back to idealic Scandinavian territories and I am back at Budapest airport today, sitting, waiting, wishing. The flights were all canceled yesterday and we are waiting word on todays flights. Dont they know how important I am and I MUST make it back today. Yes.

I think for every story of woe to come out of the ash cloud, there will be atleast 2 more of people having fantastic adventures and doing things they never would have tried before. Thats awesome. Unless someone is going to die if you don’t make it home, do you really need to get home so quickly? I say this as I anxiously reload the Helsinki airport page and I look across from me and I see a well dressed middle aged man doing the same thing on his laptop.

Even though I still keep a hectic schedule of travel, its mostly around the Nordics where, almost religiously, stuff works and runs to time, that’s your 50% tax kronor at work. I was starting to think travel in Europe is a bit dull, kind of been there done that but being stuck here has relit the Eurotrip2006 flame inside of me, thousands of people all over the continent, all trying to make it somewhere, all helping each other anyway they can. Last night I was helped by two Finnish friends of Pirjo who also happened to be stuck in Budapest. Not only did they graciously let me stay in their apartment, we went out to some mega trendy Budapest bars and had a great night. Never would have happened otherwise. Today I was lost for a way to get to the airport and not get ripped off by taxi drivers, so I went for a coffee in a small cafe and asked the owner. Turns out he knows a taxi driver and called him right away, got me to the airport for way less than any other taxi would have. Thats cool and the spirit of Eurotrip, random connections leading to new adventures. love it.

It can never quite be like the old days though as the internet has changed anything. There’s not really a need for me to be at the airport, I could just be checking the status page on the web but I feel better here, like Im doing something. Or how about my fancy Finnish mobile phone which I have 3G internet, anywhere I am I can load up Hostelworld, find a place to stay, book it and then use the built in GPS to direct me right to the door. Shit, you can never be lost and its a far cry from 3 Australian boofheads who used to drive around a town for hours, not having anywhere to stay only to end up sleeping in the back of their large white Volvo. Also the network of friends across Europe is much larger than it was in the old days so now, there is always someone you know not too far away and if theres not, put the word out on facebook and you’ll get a sweet hook up.

So who knows whats next? If I dont make it out tonight Ill call Daniel and it will be another night on the town in Budapest. This is a really cool city, very cosmopolitan, got a central europe, Vienna vibe. I hope this ash clouds produces a slew of travel books and blogs from people who will tell of their adventures and the random friends they made along the way. Maybe the planes will never fly again? I dont think Ill mind too much, Ill just prep the Volvo for a drive back to Australia one day.

Hungarian Dentist

So Ive been working in Debrecen, Hungary for the last week and a half, its a nice place, good people and we have good garage parties but a few days ago my tooth started to hurt. This kind of happens sometimes and it goes away within a few days but this one was a little more painful than usual so, thinking I should do the sensible thing, I found a Hungarian Dentist. She comes very highly recommended.

I start by entering the surgery where I have to wait, along with 4 other people with nothing but a small TV to amuse us. Oh good, Hungarian "Deal or no deal" is on and the guy just won 1,000,00 HUF which is like 3,800 EUR. Good on you. There seems to be an odd game of musical chairs going on here as the patients go in and then they come back out and then they go back in again.

Then it comes my time to go in, a nice lady and her younger assistant. She presents me with a needle and points it toward my mouth. I attempt a break for the door but shes got me pinned down. I hate needles. I hate needles in my mouth even more. She inserts the need and it breaks my gum. I scream a muffed, mouth open scream. She injects the fluid and I scream more. I believe I am heard across the neighborhood.

She she informs me Ill wait 10 minutes and then she will attend to me again. This is where I learn that this lady likes to talk. and talk and talk. the other guy is waiting on the table but she talks. something about America. who knows. all I know is that my mouth has reached its maximum level of numbness and now.. slowly but surely, it is becoming less numb. 45 minutes later, I am back on the table, with feeling back in my mouth.

I make her promise there will be no more needles. She agrees. I breath a short lived sigh of relief as she goes for a large blunt metal object instead and aims it as my mouth. As I learn, in between more muffled screams, is that this tool is to somehow push the tooth around and back into place. excellent idea. if my mouth my still numb, which is it now not. the neighbor is reminded once again I am at the table.

Finally some gauze is inserted into my mouth and she prods it in, bit by bit, each prod accompanied by another yelp from me. I have proven the little girl I really am. She informs me that I will have to come back tomorrow morning at 9am to get this removed. sweet jesus. I leave, having lost any respect the dentists and other patience possible could have had for me.

As I go the Dentist has one final parting word of advice for me

"Cognac or vodka, that will help"

Words of wisdom from my Hungarian dentist. I shuffle home, my jacket not quite done by properly and shaking from what just occurred which gives me a walk like the Rain Man.

I dont feel like drinking now, I dont feel like eating either even though I am hungry. I am considering asking room service to put a club sandwich in a blender for me.

Next time, I think Ill keep taking the aspirin and ride the tooth ache out.

Debrecen Hungary

While the rest of Europe is covered in clouds of ash, I have been safely tucked away in Debrecen, Hungary and I havnt seen sight or sound of it, its been gorgeous blue sky today and its been great to just chill in this town, which depending on who you talk to, could be the second biggest in Hungary. Ive been here twice before, both for work also but only for 5 days so I didnt get any free time here plus it was the middle of the European winter. Now spring has arrived and I can hardly believe it, the coldest friggin winter in 30 years and basically survived, with only a short interlude to America along the way. I seriously thought this would never come, 5 months of winter is not an easy thing for an aussie to take.

Despite Debrecen being a bitch to get to cause its a 2 hour flight to Budapest and then another 2 hours in the car, I like to come here a) because I like getting paid but b) because the collegues I work with here are really cool and they always have me over for a typical Hungarian garage party. What is a garage party? a party in a garage stupid! Except now its spring we have garage party outside. so its not in a garage anymore. but its still a party and its still called garage party. get it?

Typical Hungarian garage party where we drink Ukrainian beer and vodka. why Ukraine? Again you ask too many questions.

Bringing the Estonian comedy tour together has been a lot of work but I wouldnt say its been painful, in fact its been a lot of fun. I think organising comedy shows is easier than organising theatre, you dont have to worry about scripts and costumes and lighting designs and crap like that, just that you herd the actors to the stage at the right time and then push them infront of the spot light. What has made the comed tour come together is having good people to work with, both in Tartu and Tallinn Ive got super cool guys who have worked really hard on the ground to make the shows happen. When you have good people shit just works. In between myself, Joe, Phil and now the Estonian crew we have a pretty good network going on for comedy in Scandinavia.

Ive spent the weekend writing stuff for the Estonian shows. I started by going back through wow, who was this idiot who used to write, such crazy, honest stuff. I am hoping to find a few nuggest of gold in here which I can turn into material. Now I must keep on digging..

First Open Mic at M

Our comedy shows in Estonia are really starting to gather steam, last night the guys in Tartu hosted the first Open Mic there in a small bar "Möku". I love the strategy they used, a small venue, no publicity and keep the hype low so people hear about it through word of mouth. A chilled, low pressure evening and by all accounts it was a fantastic success, the small bar at Möku was packed and punters had a really good time.

Check out the website for the Tartu Comedy Festival at