Friday, July 28, 2006

Hot Enough to Melt a Cow

Though I am still fighting some stomach thing, I had to get out of the house today. Those lying meteorologists, who predicted we would have an unusually cool summer, should be struck up by their barometers over an open pit with blazing coals. I attempted to complete yesterday’s agenda today, despite the consequences of the heat. The strategy was to begin at the Dorottya Gallery at Dorottya utca 8; it is right off of the end of the line of the M1 subway, then work my way up on the M1 to the others. Why the Dorottya Gallery is listed as a museum is beyond my comprehension other than the fact that they are somehow connected to the Ernst Museum. The description states “…a bright and spacious gallery which concentrates on media art, set design and contemporary installations.” As I approached the street, there was a large painted covering over the building while it is being remodeled into an apartment building. I thought the gallery would be closed, but it was next door. The entire front is clear glass windows making entering unnecessary. From the street, I was able to view the entire gallery, which consisted of modern art pieces, presumably for sale. This “spacious gallery” was not much larger than my living room, but I am fortunate to have a large living room. To make sure I was not overlooking something, I did go in, realized that I was not missing a thing, and left again. Though I it eludes me what I expected from the description, what I saw did not struck any cords. From here, I went back to the M1 subway to make my way to the Zoltán Kodály Memorial Museum. The M1 stop is conveniently Kodály körönd. What none of the web sites, Tour Inform, Talking Cities, or the museum’s own site fails to say is that the whole building is under reconstruction. On each corner, one building is numbered 1 - 4, so it is impossible to miss number 1 where the museum is located. The street directly in front of the building is barricaded to both pedestrian and auto traffic, so I could not get close enough to see if there were signs of a museum there or when the anticipated reopening date would be. With this being a washout, the next stop was the György Ráth Museum. The György Ráth Museum is an extension of the Hopp Ferenc Museum. The admission is free and photos are not allowed, therefore no photo tickets either. There were ten employees standing around as I entered and who spread like roaches when the lights come on when they spotted me. The collection is impressive with rooms devoted to Chinese, Japanese, and Indian art that has been collected by Hopp and others. On the first floor, after going up a staircase to enter the museum, there are three good-sized rooms on either side of the entry hall with the cashier’s desk. Why a cash register and cashier are needed for the few items that are for sale is a break from reality. There was only one fan going in the center display room, so once leaving this room, the temperature was unbearable. Everyone was solicitous in making sure I found the English explanations and there were various signs on the wall translated into English. Although I would have spent more time looking at the excellent examples of art work, they ushered me upstairs for more. As physics teaches us, heat rises, so the second floor was an oven. After ten minutes, I thought I would pass out. I was torn between leaving immediately giving the attendant the impression I was not interested in their offerings or staying to show my admiration of the fine pieces. I gave it all of ten minutes more, constantly pulling at my shirt to ventilate my overheated body, then told the man attending to me, the sole visitor, I will return in cooler weather. He pointed to the air conditioner unit and said “Kaput”. Kaput or they cannot afford the electric bill, this is a great find, not to be missed in less than boiling weather conditions. I was going to try to fit in the Transportation Museum, but I wilted out of that option and headed for California Coffee Company for an iced coffee and a bagel sandwich. The one thing I do miss from the States are bagels. I lived on three bagels a day in California and this was the first I would have in Budapest. The iced coffee was full of flavor, though I would hardly call it a latte, but the bagel was less tasty than boiled cardboard. It was a major disappointment, but I did sit outside under an umbrella with a miniscule breeze and finished reading my latest novel.

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