I would have liked to be able to say that this post is late because I am still recuperating from the 1st Annual Budapest Beer Festival, yet it is not so. Not that I wish it weren’t. We had an overwhelming build-up of anticipation when they had first announced it last year. It was to be held down the block from us. We arrived that day, but the festival had not. Cancelled!
When we arrived at the fair square, the throngs of people looked more like a Lady Gaga concert than a simple street fest. We plunged, pushed, squeezed, plowed, and inched through the crowds until the light bulb went on and dismay, despair, and disgust crept through our still sober consciousness. The crowds we were trying to slither through was not an idle crowd of spectators, sampling brew, but hopefuls standing in line at the next booth to purchase their next round.
Yes, gentle readers, the sad fact is that the line was longer than a Tarantella contest in Naples. It was quickly apparent that this would have been more successful as a team sport. One member of the team stands in line at a different booth and buys a round for the group. Eventually, we would all see each other again; the key word is eventually.
Our usual compatriots were off in other lands, abandoning us at our time of need and desperate for a cohesive force. This left our little team of two to battle it alone. I stood in one line, Ron went to another. We had a meeting point as if it would have been possible to identify it through the masses. Little did we realize we may not even have recognized each other. How innocent we still were in those early hours, there was so much yet to learn about a festival of this sort.
If it were not for may smartphone, I would not have lasted. Patience is not my virtue, but standing in lines is on my all time number 1 HATE list. Being able to read e-mail, the news, and War and Peace made the time pass faster. I had not realized that my next birthday had come and gone, but still the only thing in my hands was a phone and not a beer.
Ron finally returned. His luck was better than mine. He had two beers in hand. If his line was so short, what did it say about the beer? Taking little sips savoring this brew like one would the last drips of a canteen that once held water, while crossing the desert, we micro-inched closer to the beer taps in the far distance. A couple of times, just to feel like progress were being made, I climbed on the backs of the two guys ahead of me. It brought me a skin closer my goal, but they were not sympathetic to my desperation as they beat me off like embarrassing dandruff.
When I had finally scored beer number two, we had all good intentions of immediately getting in line for beer number three at a different booth. When we approached what looked like an unappreciated brew master, we actually discovered those waiting were deceptively arranged. To join this queue, we would have needed to take the metro about 3 stops.
Overcome with mood swings ranging from despondent to disheartened to discouraged, we raised our white flag and undulated through the crowd to head home. Next year, we will know better; we’ll be there at 10am when they open.