I had to miss the last day of the Babilon intensive language program for Fulbright orientation today; alas. The hour of intro Hungarian by immersion at the Fulbright orientation was easy, though; I actually know some Hungarian now.

The orientation consists of some sightseeing (later), a bunch of somewhat entertaining but forgettable lectures on Hungary, and a bit of practical information, like residence permit applications and the same scam that everyone warns about (I guess it’s a good sign that they think there are no other scams worth mentioning): women in their twenties pretend to be interested in a male tourist, convince him to buy them drinks whose prices aren’t clearly posted, and then reveal ridiculous prices, which they’ll escort the tourist to an ATM to withdraw the money to pay. This orientation actually posted addresses of places known to do this, and mentioned that they’d used to post their names, too, but had stopped doing so. I thought that was odd, and apparently so did someone else, who googled the addresses, finally explaining how people would fall for the scam. You can guess what establishments those people operate from.

Also, we took a trip up the main hill near the center of Budapest, Gellért Hegy. I’d climbed it two years ago at the International Math Competition; disappointingly, today we were taken up by bus. It has excellent views:

and a monument with some fairly hard Hungarian that I got to show off my Babilon knowledge by reading:

(Roughly “To the memory of all those who sacrificed their lives for Hungary’s independence, freedom, and pursuit of happiness.”)

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