That's right, you can be famous for playing the harmonica, but more on that later. First, I have a very important announcement. The grocery store at the mall sells PIG FEET at the meat counter. I'm starting to get into the whole eating feet thing. There's a bumper sticker for you, I Eat Feet. I wonder what other sorts of animal limbs I'll be able to find.
Last night I went to a music bar. I was told about it by another American here in town named Joe. I was told about him by people saying, "You're an American? You should call Joe, he's an American too and here's his phone number." Seems logical, I guess. He's been here for 12 years, and therefore he knew that a famous harmonica player would be playing at this place. The guy's originally from here in Békéscsaba, but now he lives in Budapest to make it easier to travel around Europe so people can hear his harmonica skills. I admit my ear isn't trained to the quality of harmonicas, but it really sounded the same as they always do. I was, however, very impressed by his case of at least 10 different harmonicas which he took great care looking through to pick the perfect one for each song. And someone less ignorant than me recognizes his talent, because he's sponsored by a harmonica company. I guess the field has gone a long way from cowboys sitting around campfires.
I was given lots of good advice about life here. Joe told me good bars to go to, bars to be careful of because I'll see my students there, and warned me never to mess with a security guard because they're all members of a local Thai Kick Boxing gym.
Guide books and my Hungarian culture classes have warned me about the Hungarians. They are notorious for forcing food and drinks upon you until you explode and die of alcohol poisoning. Last night I experienced a text book example. Just as Joe arrived at the bar and introduced himself, he saw another man he knows. A quick introduction was made and the man didn't ask who I was or why I was there, but instead asked if I'd like a drink. I showed him the giant bottle of beer in my hand and politely said I didn't need another. He said, "no, not something like that, a real drink, something strong," and then he insisted I come to the bar with them. The third time he asked if I wanted a drink (in a 30 second period), I accepted thinking it was the only way to stop him. Don't get me wrong, I was appreciative, and I very much enjoyed my Scotch on the rock. Plus it demonstrated that Hungary seems to also subscribe to the European belief that ice is evil, and shouldn't be used to get in the way of a drink that was kept in an unplugged refrigerator.
The rest of the music was great. After Mr. Harmonica (who's name I can't remember, just like all the other 250 Hungarians I've met in the last three weeks) a band of teenagers took the stage. My expectations were low, but their talent was high. Two guitarists, a bass guitar, a keyboard, a drummer, and a few of them singing made for some good listening. Occasionally a member of the audience would pull an instrument out of nowhere (not something small, a real instrument like a saxophone) and run up on the stage to contribute to a song they were enjoying.
I was told that Békéscsaba is the "biggest village in the world". Everyone is connected to each other in one way or another. Even though it is small, it has churned out multiple Olympians, and countless other talented people, such as the musicians I saw last night. I believe it has something to do with the amount of feet consumed.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to the harmonica store to complete the first step in my path to fortune and glory.