Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Eastern European Nights

We had finished off the richest snazzy dinner next to the Opera house. Courtesy of the folks who happened to be in Budapest at the same time, with their rambling drunken ex-varsity mates.

The two of us were now off to the “Piaf CafĂ©” in a nearby street and some of the men were trying to join us, to the amused glare downs of their sensible wives…. Well, all but my mom who too was cheering away with a “Let’s go see EDITH!!” and my dad gently reminding her they had a 5am flight.

So off the pensioners tour trouped home. And off we went to find some dive of a club where apparently a drunken woman takes to the stage nearly every midnight to gurgle out Edith’s songs.

The club definitely was a dive, they were charging entrance, and no one could promise Edith songs on a Monday night, so we skipped it and had a few pints at an even skankier bar - where the other six boozers never stopped staring at us (the place couldn’t even have held more patrons) and where I got screamed at in thick Hungarian by the dreadlocked barlady when I forgot to turn off the toilet light.

Good freaky travelling times.

Eventually off we strolled to find one last beer in one last atmosphered spot.

And man, did we do well in finding it!

SIN CITY’s entrance was decked out just like its movie title – blacked out windows, lumo lights, and big scary bouncers outside. As we walked past pondering it they ushered us in with kindness.

Well, hey, why not!, We said, as I searched around for any mention of an entrance fee. Nada.

As soon as we were in through the hallway, SIN CITY made a whole lot more sense! With its pole on a stage to the right and rows of cinema chairs facing the stage, filled with the occasional men, to the left.

Ha ha! Well, why not! Ha ha ha ha! Never have I been one to be deterred by being the only non-working girl in a club. Or by a good old strip club! Let’s take this relationship to a whole new level of intimacy! Ha ha!

Chuckle chuckle, find a booth. Are you cool with this? Yeah sure, are you? Yup. And we settled in to the many curious bemused stared of the patrons, bouncers, working girls and barmen.

It was when we opened the menu we got a hint of trouble we’d be in. Fuck me, but you want HOW MUCH for a drink? That’s more money for a glass of wine than for my overpriced veal pasta earlier!!!

We decided one beer in this place just for a laugh and then we’d move on. And during the hoppy froth we watched some of the worst stripping ever attempted. Some girls never even took their dresses past their shoulders. One drunken chick stumbled on, pulled her top below her breasts and just kinda stood there until she was boo’d off. Some girls got a little nekid and did a little bit of pole twirling. Only one girl stripped it all off and humped the metal rod.

A lovely stripper approached us, sat down next to me and started to chat. And we chatted back waiting for the punch line… no stripper is keen just to know your life tales. Sure enough, she soon was trying to convince us to buy rounds of whiskey with our “euros”. To which we had to go on a five minute explanation that we are broke Africans, we could buy a nice first house for the prices of these Scottish malts! Thanks, but no thanks.

Then the only stripper who actually ever got naked came up for a chat. Her dress leaving nothing to our joint now-tainted imaginations. Less of a chat than, “sooooooo….. (yes?)….how about we go upstairs to the private room…. I dance for you? (HA HA HA. No.) Both of you?” (Ha ha) “No no, you will like. You can touch!” (HA HA HA. NO!) “Aaah, *smile * I promise you will like. We will touch. Us three, we will have fun. Lots of FUN there” (Ha…no…ha…NO…ha… thanks very much, look its not you, it’s us, we would love to, but no…No! Stop that pleading eye thing.) “You will like! We have lots of fun. You can touch! *Smile * Ah well, ok, ….then ….how about a round of whiskey…. No? Ooookaaaay”.

Good freaky travelling times.

Beer was done. Fun was had. Let’s get the bill and get out of here before another offer. … and that was when this whole screwed up freaky experience became much more apparent.

Bill arrives and apparently there had been an entrance fee. Apparently there had been a fee for any and everything.
Just walking in to SIN CITY equated to R500!!
And there were added costs to the drinks that we couldn’t work out.
Our bill for two beers and some laughs equalled up to about R2 000!

How do you argue your way out of this to scary Eastern European bouncers in their dingy establishment in a town where the only people you know are your parents/ your girlfriend’s parents and their reputable friends who are fast asleep in a non-seedy part of town!!


But argue we would! And while my guy hunted down the manager I imagined the very real possibility of red-dressed me having to work off the bill on the skanky pole to the skanky cinema testosterone crowd.

The owner had a strong chat back to my guy about how he actually had been lenient with us. Look at what is written (in fine print) on the menu about the cost of a first drink etc. etc. etc. and finally said, “go and talk to your wife about this and see what you can sort out”.

So we did some money shuffling and I pulled out a $10 bill that a mate of a mate had once randomly given me in Jo’burg saying, “you’ll need this one day in some strange place, when you’re stuck in a foreign airport wanting a coffee or something like that”…. Thankgod for intuitive folk! We hid the rest of our cash and my guy sent me off to the owner with all the feminine charm I could muster…

Tap tap his shoulder, CHARM!, sorry I hear we have a problem, ooze that smile out with dumb chickness charm, this is all we have, charm, gently hand over an equivalent of R200 & the $10 bill, eyelash flutter, silently praying to not end up on the metal pole or have a bouncer check my boy’s pockets to see how honest we were being (we were not at all!), Chaaaaaarrrrrrrrmm.

The owner looked at the scene. Laughed his head off at my dumb bravado, tossed the cash sideways, and told me to “Fine, just go”.

Another Eastern European city down, another strip pole avoided!


DaveRich said...

Brilliant story! Woe to the person looking for a "decent" place on a Monday nightin Eastern Europe. Its so true!!! Sheisters!!!

Anonymous said...

Man. I'm so jealous. I could spitinyereye. But am delighted you had such a cool horriday!

and that pic for Peas? Priceless!

6000 said...

Budapest is wonderful.

Sadly, I managed to catch a Roxette concert when I was there once, but other than that, it's fantastic. Hungary has actually got a huge amount to offer, not least the Danube Bend and the stunning Lake Balaton.


Champagne Heathen said...

Dave - were you warned about these during your travels? It seems others are well aware of these, but us! And it also seems most of my family members have their own version of this story! HA HA!

Dolce - :)

6000 - We missed the free Santana concert by FIVE MINUTES!!!! Apparently every summer the city gives their people a free concert. I think I heard mention of Roxette once being that band. My best were the "ad hoc" summer backyard bars/ clubs!