22 December 2005


Ferihegy Terminal 2aI’m bored. I arrived at Budapest’s Ferihegy Airport this morning before 8:00 and now I have to wait until 17:55 for my flight to Germany. I guess I could have went into town, but it’s a 12 Euro round trip, the weather is not the best, and I’ll be back here for a few days next week; so I’m cooling my heels here at the airport. Thankfully, they have free wireless Internet—the only reason I’m writing this post.

Skipping around a bit/hitting the highlights: The Serdon Christmas party was enjoyable last night; after a failed attempt to leave, I snuck out at midnight to pack and try to get 4 hours of sleep. As expected—but still jarring—my alarm clock awakened me from my slumber at 4:00. I got up, took a shower, dressed, closed my bags, and by 4:30 I was out on the deserted streets of Sofia looking for a taxi. I arrived at the airport only to learn the flight had been delay 1¼ hours; that extra hour of sleep would have been sweet!

I arrived at Ferihegy Terminal 1, where I saw no mention of Air Berlin. I confirmed—as suspected—that Air Berlin leave from Terminal 2, and that I would have to pay 500 Forints to catch a shuttle bus to the other terminal. Of course that meant I had to get some Hungarian Forints first; the ATM machine presented 6 options: 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 15000, and 20000; which one would you choose if you hadn’t research the exchange rates in advance (as I should have done?)

Just wondering: Why, in America—for airport security screening—do we have to put up with the indignity of taking off our shoes and the inconvenience of removing our laptop from our bags, when—in the rest of the civilized world—this is not necessary? In my mind, there seems to be only three possibilities: 1) the rest of the world has a cavalier attitude toward the safety of the flying public—doubtful, 2) the TSA is significantly less competent at screening, thus requiring this extra help—hopefully not, or 3) America has such a paranoia about hijackings since 9/11, that no cost/benefit analysis is considered when implementing these extraordinary procedures.

departure board at Ferihegy terminal 2bOn a lighter note: If you go to “preferences” in Google, you will notice that you can change the “interface language” to any one of a few dozen languages including “Elmer Fudd,” which basically just throws in strategically placed W’s. Well, apparently the departure board here in Budapest is set on this as well; check out how Tel Aviv is rendered (below Warsaw.)

Since I’m in another country, let me wish you a Merry Christmas in yet another language: Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket
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