Chain Bridge, Budapest

Sunday, January 17, 2010

How 'Bout Them.... er.. Cowboys!

Yesterday I had woken up at 11 a.m., my normal time on a non-school day, so I thought I had overcome jet lag. I was wrong. Last night I went to bed at 3 a.m. and woke up at 3 p.m. By the time I rolled out of bed it was already dark outside... again. I had thought that today would be best spent shopping for groceries and other apartment essentials, such as toilet paper and laundry detergent. But there was really only one thing on my mind after I finished my chocolate-nougat-filled cereal: find a place in Budapest to watch the Dallas Cowboys take on the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL playoffs. I had searched online last night for possible viewing locations, but had come up short. It was hard to get the English language Google website since the Hungarian one automatically comes up when you enter here. The search was made more complicated since the results kept talking about the Budapest Cowboys American Football team.

Wait a minute, the Budapest Cowboys American Football team? Yes. I also found the official website of the Hungarian American Football League which has about twelve teams scattered throughout Hungary, including at least two in Budapest. I know what you're thinking: Dude, you should go to a Cowboy's game in Budapest. This is what I thought, too. The 2009 schedule ran from April to October, and I couldn't find a 2010 schedule since the website was entirely in Hungarian. Google translate helped a little, but not what I needed. I was able to read a blurb about a team from the league that had made it to the European American Football Championship game, but -- get this -- had to forfeit the championship because the team waited too long to apply for their visas to the foreign country where it was being held. I'll inquire about this later.

This afternoon, I finally found a place that was showing the game: Champ's Sports Bar on Dohany Street. Mike contacted Bridget and Brittany from yesterday and they agreed to meet us there at 7pm to watch the game. I tried to call my friend Christy, who is on the BSM program and goes to the University of Texas, but we were limited to Facebook messaging since her phone wasn't working. A funny moment was when she suggested I call her friend's phone, but the number she gave me was my Hungarian landlord's phone instead. Some confusion there. I'm still not sure how Christy has my landlord's number, since she lives in another part of town. Whatever, her and her roommate, Sarah, met us at Champs to watch the game anyway.

In order to get to Champs, Mike and I took the subway to the Astoria stop, which is a block away from the bar. Walking to the bar, we passed the Dohany Synagogue, my first time seeing it. It's very impressive. It was lit up from floodlights and took up nearly the whole block. Its the second-largest synagogue in the world, and the largest in Europe. Its the capstone of the well of Jewish history and tradition that once and still exists in Budapest. It looks like our school and many of the BSM students live in the Jewish Quarter of Budapest. I plan on exploring it extensively when I get the chance, and maybe when it gets a little warmer.

Champs was perfect place for the occasion. They had a projector set up with the game and there were several dozen Americans there watching it, most of whom were Viking fans. A few people wore T-shirts that said "Budapest Wolves," which I think is another American football team. Mike, myself, Bridget, Brittany, Christy and Sarah ate and drank, though it seemed that only I tried to watch the game. Christy ordered Unicum, which is a brand of Hungarian liqueur and is very similar to Jagermeister. By itself I think its a little too medicine-tasting, like Jager, but should be good mixed with things. Of course, Dallas ended up loosing the game, 33-3. Pathetic. At least this year we made it past the first round. Jerry Jones wouldn't agree with me, but baby steps. Next year the Superbowl will be in Dallas, so we are just getting ready for the Fall.

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