My adventure to Szarvas Camp is almost over. My train had to arrive to Bekescsaba (Hungary) at 6:30 in the morning, but it was 6:45 and there was no sign of the tickets lady around. Normally the tickets lady brings your tickets back right before your station. I opened Google Maps and saw that we are really close to my station. I ran to the restaurant wagon to see if she’s around. She was there, having a coffee. I asked for my tickets and she remembered I was gonna get off very soon. We both ran back to her compartment – that’s when I took this photo. I got my tickets back and the next second the train stopped. I was a minute away from getting off the train without my tickets, which would have been bad. The 50 years old man that was with me in the compartment helped my with my 3 bags. Really cool guy. He is getting off in Budapest.
In Bekescsaba train station nobody knows english. I started asking every younger person I’d spot about the bus to Szarvas city. All I got was: “Nem tudom”… (“I don’t know” in hungarian). I opened my Google Maps again on 3G roaming and found out the bus station was right in front of me. I went to the information desk and asked for Szarvas. Same answer: “Nem tudom”. GOD! Then I spot a bus. Szarvas is written on the front of the bus. I get there to find out it’s leaving at 7:10. I had exactly 9 minutes to find a way to get on the bus. I had my credit card, romanian money and about 200 forints – that’s a really small amount of hungarian money. Again, I spot a young guy that’s getting on my Szarvas bus. I ask: “Bankomat? ATM?”. He answers in english, to my surprise: “I don’t know…” And then he seems to be looking for solutions to help me.
I open Google Maps again, simply write “ATM” and, magic, 150 meters away there should be an ATM. I ask him to watch my 2 huge bags and tell him that I’m gonna run to the ATM. He seems to understand and says “No problem”. I run like crazy with my eyes in Google Maps. I’m asking myself WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING leaving bags with important stuff behind and running around. I don’t spot the ATM, but I come across and old lady. I say: “Bankomat?”. She looks me in the eyes and says nothing. I repeat. She just seems to not understand my great hungarian. Time is 7:06. I’m thinking of going back to the bus station… But out of the blue the old lady says: “Aaaa, bankomaaat! Igen!” and shows me a direction. I say thanks in hungarian with my best accent and run to the direction she was showing. Sure thing, an ATM was there. Fast, Ariel, your PIN number. Ok, I get money and start running like crazy again. A water bottle falls from my backpack. I leave it behind.
I spot the bus. It’s still there. The hungarian guy and my bags? Still there. I thank him in 4 languages and start throwing my bags in the trunk of the bus. All set, now all I have to do is pay for my ticket. I enter the bus, the driver greets me, I say “Szarvas”, he says something, I take out the 5000 forints bill the ATM gave me … And he says: “No, no, no. Small!”. Then he shows me a 1000 forints bill. I try and explain that’s all I have. I was actually willing to give him all 5k for the 50km trip to Szarvas. But he didn’t accept. “NEM TUDOM!” I look in the bus and spot the guy that watched my bags. With anger I kinda yell: “Can anyone change a 5000 bill? Please?!”
I swear, out of the 15 people on the bus no one moved. They all looked at me as if I was an alien, and not because of my dreadlocks. Then a guy in the front rows screams happily in bad english: “I help you!” And changes my 5k bill to five 1k bills. I thank him and pay the idiot driver. The ticket was 940 forints. I’m on the bus now. 7:47. Took me a while to write this. Remember: It’s not about the destination… :)