Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Paprika is King

We sailed on to Kalocsa in Hungary and were not subjected to the face to face inspection.  The hotel manager of the ship was able to talk the Customs personnel at Mohacs into inspecting the crew only.  It saved the 125 passengers from getting out of bed in the early hours of the morning.

After breakfast we had a good discussion with the three program directors about what they know, remember or were told about life under communism.  One is Romanian, one a Croatian and the other a Serbian.  All three countries had different experiences.  Sorin is a very intelligent and funny young man who is a delight.  He spoke of the textbooks that to this day are wrong and very slanted toward socialism and against the "evil empire " that is the west.

He said they were not really taught much about the west.  What he learned came from Dallas on TV so he knew we all drove our Mercedes convertibles up to the gates of our property, drove another 20 miles to the front door, went inside to pour a drink and everyone screwed everyone else's wife!  He was disappointed when a friend came home from a trip to California and announced everyone didn't spend  the day at the beach like Baywatch but actually had jobs they went to every day!

It was an honest but light hearted discussion and very informative.  Only the Serbian admitted concern for the Ukraine situation playing out right now.  We finished up with our disembarkation info and then went to lunch.

In the afternoon we took a tour into Kalocsa.  Our first stop was a ranch of sorts where we learned DNA has proven the Hungarians are descendents of Mongolians.  Their prime beef stock are gray oxen that are huge.  Their protein type is not digestible by humans so they are work animals.  Their beautiful horses are Arabian and Mongolian.  We were treated to an amazing horse show.  

From there we attended a Hungarian folk dance demonstration and an embroidery demonstration.  If you have ever seen a modern embroidery set up with computers making thousands of stitches you can have an idea of watching these women doing the same thing using a non electric Singer sewing with a treadle being rocked by their feet.  Absolutely gorgeous items were produced.

Our last stop was the Paprika Museum.  This area apparently supplies a good percentage of the world's paprika.  This one small item is the savior of this small village.  I didn't know paprika is made from chilis and other than sprinkling it on top of deviled eggs, don't use it often.  There were samples to try but I didn't eat any.

Last night after dinner the crew presented a comedy show.  I didn't stay for the whole thing mainly because I couldn't see.  Two women chose to sit on the arms of the couches in the third row.  That made them head and shoulders above anyone else and blocked the view of all behind them.  It amazes me when people are so indifferent to those around them.  

Today we are in Budapest and I am excited to see this lovely city. 


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