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The good and bad from Budapest

Bad things:
Middle seats
Middle seats in economy class
Trying to sleep on overnight flights in middle seats in economy class
Lost luggage
$36 dollar a day wireless access

Good things:
Duck-liver paté
St. Stephen’s Basilica
Sports on European cable TV – rally driving! water polo! motorcycle racing!
Walking at night in an unfamiliar city
The view of Buda across the river from Pest

I’m in Budapest for roughly 48 hours, giving a talk at the Open Society Archives and Central Europe University about blogging and politics, and participating in an Open Society Institute board meeting. Then an OSI colleague of mine and I head to Tunis, via Paris, for WSIS. I’m helping Rebecca (who’s flying in from China) lead a workshop called “Expression Under Repression” and hoping to catch up with lots of ICT4D friends during the 72 hours of insanity that surround the conference. I’m leaving on the early side – midday Friday – so I can get a day at home before heading back down to NYC for a few more meetings with OSI.

I’ve got high hopes of writing something insightful from Tunis, but I worry that there’s really no “there” there. So you may have to settle for my accounts of meeting some great bloggers, like “MMM”, the blogger behind Subzero Blue. Should be a good time.

In the meantime, all I have to say is that watching “Pimp My Ride” in German is a very strange experience.

5 thoughts on “The good and bad from Budapest”

  1. Overall I hope you come away from Budapest with positive feelings :) I love this town with all its little Hungarian annoying sides too ;)
    I’m sorry we did not had a chance to meet, but looking forward for the next occasion :)

  2. Amnesty International has published a report on human rights abuses in the runup to the ISIS:


    “The aim of the WSIS is to promote equitable access globally to information and communication technologies in order that their potential as tools for sharing information and knowledge and promoting development and quality of life should be available to all, irrespective of national borders. Consequently, the choice of Tunisia as the country to host the major part of the Summit was and continues to be highly controversial. As both Tunisian and international human rights organizations have pointed out, the Tunisian government’s record on freedom of expression and access to information is a poor one, and those who speak out in favour of reform and greater protection of human rights are subjected to persecution and harassment by the state authorities. Currently, the Tunisian government maintains strict controls on free speech and use of the Internet, refuses to allow the free operation of domestic human rights groups and holds hundreds of political prisoners, including some who have been jailed for the peaceful expression of their beliefs and are considered by Amnesty International to be prisoners of conscience.”

  3. I left Budapest apparently just as you were getting in, so let me add to your list:

    Bad Things:
    – Not being able to decipher any part of the language because it doesn’t even remotely relate to any of the ones I speak already.
    – Drunken people yelling at the wall at any hour of the night.
    – “Unicum” liquor / decongestant / battery acid.

    Good Things:
    – A rogue AP everywhere (including the airport) where T-Mobile was, providing free access vs. their 36$ access.
    – The efficient, cheap tram – 170 forint / ticket.
    – Budapest University of Techonology and Economics, Parliament, Museums.
    – Boating on the Danube.

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