Budapest Day 3: More Pest & the Turkish Bath Rave

Molly and I went out to check out more of Pest and ran into Em and her friend. Em stuck around and showed us some of her favorite haunts in Pest which included a coffee shop/ art gallery, some street art statues, a hummus bar and a vintage shop. Em also told us about the Citadel Turkish Bath Rave which would be happening that night. She invited us and Molly and I impulsively accepted.

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Later on, in the privacy of our hostel bathroom, Molly and I faced several moments of panic. We had always planned to go to a Turkish bath during our visit but we were overwhelmed by the prospect of a rave and a Turkish bath combined. While we furiously shaved our legs in the hostel bathtub, we made a pact. We decided that if we saw products of bodily fluids (urine, feces etc.) or the process of producing bodily fluids (peeing, shitting, etc.) in the Turkish bath then we would leave immediately and never speak of it again. If we saw things that could have been attached to a body (tampon, condom, dentures etc.) then we would conference about it.

As with most things, we were late to meet up with Em for the bath rave, so our tickets were M.I.A. When we lined up outside the bath I went in search of a way to procure tickets. I was told that would be impossible so I was in the process of schmoozing an official looking guy at the front into helping me when a platoon of people start approaching me saying “Megan, your friend Molly is looking for you.” And that sentence should probably be the theme of the night. I brushed them off and finally, probably out of annoyance, the official looking man brought a friend over who sold me two tickets for the night.

The bath rave was… a paradox of emotions. I was happy but I was afraid. It was beautiful but it was disgusting. I was alone but surrounded by “friends.” The turkish baths are outside in this huge plaza. Steam was rising off of the heated pools, strobe and colored lights were flashing, fire dancers were waltzing around the perimeter like medieval security guards.  We arrived perfectly sober and shivering like newborn babies. We approached the pools and a sea of masculinity was waiting to accept us into the steamy waters. The ratio was definitely in our favor at this shindig; we were boiling in a giant, meaty man stew.

Molly and I immediately lost each other and this would begin our game of cat and mouse that persisted throughout the night. Although we were both the mice and we were surrounded by testosterone-filled cats. Molly and I are pretty short and we were just short enough that we had to bob up and down in the water to stay afloat. This meant that a couple of interesting behaviors were adopted that night: the Koala-hold, and the piggy-back passenger. The Koala hold is where your conversation partner places you on his (let’s be honest) hip to keep you afloat. This is convenient because you are now at eye-level with the person you’re talking to and it is sexy.

Also it would have been impossible for Molly and I to ever find each other over the thick fog of the steam without aid from a tall friend. Luckily, we both had many tall friends who were willing to let us ride shotgun on their backs while swimming through the baths.

Later on, when the gang was all together, I saw a familiar face through the mist. I turned to Molly and said “We know that guy,” but neither of us could place him. Finally, it hit me, it was the giant Spanish oaf from the plane! I had enough liquid courage in me to punch his arm and sure enough, he recognized us. Turns out he is a rather handsy fellow as well as an entitled passenger. We are not friends.

We returned home, exhausted, enlightened and exfoliated. Only to remember that we had to check out the next morning to face a day of Hungarian homelessness… bummer.

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