The Circus has left town!!!
This is the last blog on my One- Person Circus blog and it will be active again when I am on another extended travel.
This is my travel blog on Life on the run, Design, Culture, Nature, Art and other odditites along the way. It will be a major component in my "International Artist in Residency" program in Budapest, Hungary. My travel dates are as followed: April 15th- 30th Taiwan May 16th- June 13 Hungary June 13- June 17 Austria more information on my lectures, art and design work please visit: http://benjaminpage.net (art) http://studiofunctions.com (Architecture and design)
I decided to stay on the left bank today and not going to downtown- oldtown area. I have heard great things about a castle and palace near by so I took the street car there and I didnt know what I would expect to find.
What came in front of me is this wonderful brige leads to a me a medieval gate and tall tower very much like what you will find in story books. Once inside the gate is a beautiful medieval town with everything intact and orginal. the streets snake through the hill above. Its very different than the oldtown in Budapest or Bratislava. This is pure medieval and very gothic. The town doesnt seem to be affected by wars and is well kept. Tourist everywhere but it is so beautiful the pouring rain didnt affect much. My shoes are soked and the little umbralla didnt sheild me from the wind or the rain. the buildings are beautiful and much taller than ones in Budapests oldtown and totally differnt in style. I wonder why its in such perstine condition.
pic: Benjamin Page is not a Hustler
This is special edition of my blog that is dedicated to the hard working men and woman of Budapest.
I didn't come to Budapest to meet hustlers, nor was I interested in talking to them but for some strange reasons I find them fascinating!
If you have read my earlier blog you know that I had encountered a male hustler while walking on the bank of the Danube. He had some interesting conversations about his life and why he is doing this for work. (see day 13). I never saw him again.
This is the second time Andreas and I went to the the river for the spectacular sunset and the city light that will follow the dramatic sunset. We sat quietly for about 30 mins and young man come over to us and started a conversation. He is 20 and well dressed and nothing strange came to mind but as soon as he told us he is an escort things changed. His name is Steve and he is savvy, boyish and good looking hustler. He asked us for 100 euros each for sex and we refused and it was discounted for 2 of us together for 100 euros. We laughed and told him we just do not do this. He than tried to con us to buy him a beer and said no. We talked a bit more and he went away to look for other possible clients. At 20 he was slick and worldly and his innocence was long lost.
The next evening I had an unexpected trip to Deak Frenec area and just a 2 blocks from the Danube and I said why not. I went for another sunset at my favorite spot of the corso. I meditated and did some yoga and Steve appeared. This time he was more pleasant and less pushy, we had a long conversation about his life in the orphanage and how he got sucked into this business of hustling. He is not gay nor bisexual and just doing this for the money. He told me he had met a 17 year old girl walking her dog just a few mins before he saw me and they are going on a date tomorrow.
He than started to ask me about my life but I didn't feel like revealing myself very much. He than ask me if I would ever have sex with a girl and I told him no. He was shocked and didn't understand why I would say that... He than said what if someone has a gun on your head, would you than? I said maybe than I will think about it!
Our conversation covered many aspects of our lives and He compartmented on the quality of my clothes and ask me if he can have some. He wanted to us to go to the hotel and pick them up immediately. I said no because I needed them....but for a moment I did feel bad enough to want to help out. A few moments later he brought up hiring him for another discounted price of 50 USD my sympathy dissipated once again.
Like the night wind sweeping the river he got up arbropetly and disappeared into the night, I thought maybe he saw another possible client.
I watched the lights for another 30 mins and decided to go check out a club he had mentioned just 4 blocks away. Half way there he emerged from the darkness once more...
He said he saw a really beautiful woman so he ran over to talk to her and he had just walk her home. I was amazed how he he can maximized his time working as a male hustler and finding dates with women at the same.
I told him he can come with me to the club and I offered to buy him 2 drinks in exchanged for the time we spent together. We really had a good time together!
I didn't come to Budapest to write about hustlers and I have never encountered people like this in the States. Budapest forced people of all classes together, tourist or not; the hustlers exist quietly under the shadow of the Danube and the international tourist that came to the river for it's beautiful sunset. On the other hand American hustlers live parallel lives on the Internet and erotic services ads on the back pages of the weekly paper.
I hope Steve's date with the girl went well today and he will finally find happiness.
After some breakfast and a lot of laziness, Andreas and I finally got out of the room. It's strange how two of us end up hanging out together but with the others. I guess because we share a room and we are actually very similar; I see a lot of my younger self in him. I can understand him.
This residency is a bit different than the last, this group of artists are fairly independent from one another. Even though Andreas and I have two other suites- mates, Gregory and Howard we don't rally hang out together. Howard is a middle- age photographer with the hormones of a 19 year old college student, so he is always out and about trying to find beautiful Hungarian women to photograph. Gregory... It doesn't seem like he's even this the residency at all. We don't see him other than right before bedtime, he only likes to hang out with his formal student; a Hungarian high school exchange student in the US, now 18. I don't know if he even likes us. The girls are in their girlie world and we can't seem to penetrate. It's all ok because I enjoy hanging out with Andreas.
We went to the castle district, a wonderful collection of Museums and other culture institutions in the old palace castle and old town area on the Buda side. We spent 5 hours walking and sight seeing none stop and there were just so much to see and just the architecture and the views of the city were enough to blew me all the back to America. I love how the old city was laid out and the Palace is just amazing and it offers the best view of the city, naturally.
The highlight of the trip which is also the one of the highlights of my Budapest residency is the Labyrinth under the Buda's old town. I expected caves, mazes and a little spook but it was a out of this world experience. Bizarre is the only word to decribed it. A system of old tunnels used for military, storage, shelter and other purposes since the 1600's and now made into an art, Alien, ghostly, poetic and even per-historic experiences with strange and anything goes art (loosely) installation.
Sounds of a beating heart from a caged wells, red wine flows though fountains in almost complete darkness; half of a huge had sculpture in the middle of the large cave.... spooky army like stone sculpture guarding every corner. This is just too much fun.