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May 12, 2002
European Playboys, paparazzi descend on Budapest

By Alejandro Antonio Dominguez y Rios
from the live like a noble dept .
BUDAPEST, Hungary (JNS) _ The paparazzi quickly heard the Count and Algerian chess champion Gibran Hadj-Chikh were headed to this cosmopolitan central European hideaway.

After learning at the Kalmar Bed and Breakfast ($60, next to the stylish Hotel Gellert) that Gibran had not yet checked in, and knowing the media would be on his tail, El Conde stashed his bag in the spacious two bedroom apartment, admired the stone tiled bathroom and complete kitchen with range, dishwasher, an in-cabinet refrigerator, and the massive carved armoir in the living room. He then decided to leave the paparazzi in his wake, and hike to the top of the nearby Citadella, where he viewed the city, the Danube and its bridges in the fading late afternoon sunlight from the ancient hilltop castle.

After chatting amiably in Spanish with the pleasant woman in the giftshop, he purchased a Hungarian cookbook and a Russian soldier's wool winter hat ($25) and hiked down to meet Gibran before the media made it to the top. After showering, the two strolled into town and ate at the Pertu Restaurant Bar, on the touristy Vaci Ulca strip and watched the lovely Hungarian women stroll by.

The meal, 5,000 forint, or $20 each, was pleasant _ goose liver pate with raspberries and mulberries with toast, noodle soup and broiled pork tenderloin on top of a red pepper sauce. The pate was served with a peach liquor slightly stronger than wine and the pork was served with white wine. Espresso and ice cream followed, and El Conde had a Cuban cigar afterward.

After attempting to order in Hungarian, the waiter mercifully said he also spoke Spanish, explaining that Budapest draws a fair number of Italians and Spaniards.

Budapest is reminiscent of some Spanish cities, pleasing El Conde, and the language has some similarity to Gallego, his native dialect. The word for son, Fiu, sounds exactly the same in Gallego, as does the word for door, porta.

After a post-prandial stroll, the European playboys decided to sightsee some more on Monday and partake in the spectacular hot baths at the Hotel Gellert before leaving for Gyor on Tuesday to visit with local dignitary Andor `Paul' Farkas.

Posted by Alex at May 12, 2002 01:35 PM
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