Friday, November 09, 2007


One of the tour companies in Budapest wanted to give me a free tour since I included them in my tour book. Although, it may seem you should experience everything you include in a tour guide, it is really impossible due to time constraints. In this case, it was not only time, but the fact that I have lived here for six years and have been on 7 different tours already. I had my doubts that this tour company, regardless of their claims of uniqueness, could have shown me anything new and different. However, when they insisted they show me their talents as a thanks for being included, I gave in. The arrangement was for me to meet their guide at the TourInform office at 10:00 am today. I was there by 9:40 with the intentions of grabbing some maps, brochures and other things for our guest supplies. Having written the book does not mean you remember that the offices do no open until 10:00 am. When the magic hour rolled around the clock, I waited not wanting to miss my guide while I was submerged in maps, pamphlets, advertisements, and other new offerings. I forgot to mention that it was cold and raining today, the chill working its way into my bones like termites into a luscious ceiling beam. By 10:30, I succumbed and went into the TourInform, just to relieve some numbness that was working its way to hypothermia. But, when I left, still no sign of a late arrived tour guide with apologies on his lips. Since I was close by, I decided to investigate the Black Tulip, a new "men's only" salon where they do facials, manicures, and body fat reducing treatments. I had read about it, but never knew exactly where it was. Not recalling the exact address, I wandered streets until I discovered the small sign that said "Ferfi" with a black tulip logo. Their display window looks like a gay S & M establishment, reminding me of the Black Tulip in Amsterdam, which is just that. Covered in black gauzy material, there is an over sized television screen showing feminine hands preparing a young man's face for facial treatments. Amongst the draped gauze where what else, but black tulips, and the products that they sell. The young man in the video could not have been more than 22 years old, was dreamily handsome, not a speck of complexion problems visible, and with the quick little smiles changing his lip contortions, were definitely self-conscious about being video taped. As I am freezing watching all of the procedures these disembodied hands are providing for this youthful model quality face, I am wondering how could anything they do improve on what nature has already created. The proof of their magic would be to have a the before, during, and after pictures of someone my age. Those stages if they worked at all, would definitely be dramatic and telling of their talents or magic. The door has a glass window, but this too is covered in black gauze preventing any view inside, thus intimidating me from entering. My fantasies remain on entering this magic kingdom only to finally make my exit looking 10 years younger. I dawdled home going this way and that, realizing I had not been on these streets since I finished the book and wanted to make sure nothing I wrote about had closed. As I was on the tram at 11:20, my phone was alerting me of a call. It was the tour guide with apologies. We have rescheduled for next week. We shall see.

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