Pickling My Way Around the World

I made several plans before I started this adventure, to give myself ways to stay grounded and feel at home regardless of place. One of those plans involves pickles, and the strangest item in my luggage: a glass pickle weight (thanks, mom!).

I decided that every time I stayed in one place for long enough, I would make a small batch of lacto-fermented (aka naturally fermented, without adding vinegar) pickled vegetables. I experimented before I left with a few batches of pickled green beans, carrots, and cauliflower (including one miserable failure and one smashing success). I also tried an experimental batch of sauerkraut, but it didn’t go well – partly because I made it too salty, but mostly because I remembered that I don’t like sauerkraut. Oops. Continue reading “Pickling My Way Around the World”

Grocery update

Since I’m doing my best to be a proper local in each new place I live, however short-term, I’ve been exploring the local shops to find my groceries. As usual, grocery shopping is simultaneously the most stressful aspect of living in a different country, and one of the most engaging.

It’s difficult not knowing where (or what) anything is, particularly when you’re hungry and you need toilet paper and you have to work in half an hour. But it’s also endlessly interesting to try to guess what various items might be. You get to use all your logical reasoning abilities but you probably won’t know for sure what you wound up with until you get home and try to put it on a sandwich.

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Public Transit

You can learn a lot about a place from the public transit. You can tell what the city/state prioritizes, what areas have better funding, and how important tourism is vs how many locals rely on public transit.

Areas with a lot of tourism and an emphasis on that will have signs in multiple languages, or at least in the local language and English. There will be some sort of ‘tourist card’ or day/multi-day pass for sale. The main tourist lines will connect the primary sights and skip past the neighborhoods where people actually live; or they’ll start/end in those neighborhoods and serve tourists for only part of the route. The stops will be clearly announced, sometimes in multiple languages, and there will be signage. Measures will be in place to make the system legible to outsiders.

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Welcome to Budapest!

07 March, 2018: I landed at 2am, on a magenta plane from Morocco.

I don’t even remember passport control, so it must have been easy, and then I stopped at the ATM to withdraw local currency.

The exchange rate is confusing — my primary reference point is that 5,000 Hungarian forints equals approx $20 USD, so for anything less than that, I don’t worry about it too much. At the ATM at 2:30am, I had this in the back of my mind, but I saw that the largest amount I could withdraw, in forints, was 250. “Oh no,” I thought fuzzily, “that’s not nearly enough, I’ll have to do multiple transactions!”

Continue reading “Welcome to Budapest!”