Matt Forney
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Brief Thoughts on Living in Budapest, Hungary

Last Thursday, after navigating the twin threats of American land-based public transportation and surly Russian airport employees, I arrived in Budapest, Hungary. It might just be the fact that I was elated to get out of the deteriorating cesspits known as Chicago and New York, but it’s wonderful here and I don’t want to leave.

Here are some of my observations on what I’ve seen so far.

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1. Budapest works the way large cities in the U.S. are supposed to work.

I was admittedly somewhat nervous about the move, considering that I wasn’t as familiar with Hungarian culture as I was with Philippine culture when I moved there. The fact that I’d lost my ATM card at a duty-free shop in Moscow—a fact I didn’t discover until I went to get money at the Budapest airport—didn’t help my mood. These fears literally evaporated when I got on the bus to downtown.

As it turns out, Budapest is so pleasant that not even losing access to my bank account could ruin my mood.

Unlike Americans, Hungarians can keep the basic infrastructure a city needs to operate running. The Metro here runs on time, without the horrendous delays that the New York City Subway, Washington Metro and Chicago L have. The elevators and stairways are clean and don’t smell like piss, and railways don’t smell like diarrhea (as Penn Station did when I arrived there last Tuesday). Buses and trams are clean, pleasant and safe. Despite supposedly being a “second-world” country, Budapest’s infrastructure is just as well-developed and maintained as any Western city.

Moreover, the city’s lack of ethnic diversity makes it more welcoming and safe than American cities. Riding the public transportation system down to where I was staying, I counted exactly two non-whites: a pair of fat black girls outside a hostel. There are no black guys trying to hustle you for bus fare, no gangs of Mexicans leering at you and your girlfriend on the sidewalk, and no bums passed out in front of train stations with needles still jammed in their arms. While District VIII (where I was staying) supposedly has a bad rep due to its Gypsy population, I felt perfectly safe walking around there at night.

Unlike in the U.S., racial minorities don’t get to cry “racism” or “bigotry” when they get caught committing crimes, so they behave themselves.

The cost of living is also far more reasonable than anywhere in the West. A “comfort class” (midway between economy and business) Aeroflot ticket to Hungary cost me only $750. In Budapest, a one-bedroom apartment will run you about $300 a month. Eating out at a decent restaurant is $5-6. A beer is $1. A one-way Metro ticket is $1.20. Absent the raft of leftist regulations that are choking business in the U.S., Budapest’s standard of living is where it should be, where everyone can afford a decent lifestyle. While I’ve yet to explore some parts of the city, I have yet to see the stark poverty that defined the Philippines, or the deepening gulf between rich and poor that defines America’s major cities.

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2. The people are welcoming and pleasant.

Perhaps it’s just my eastern European genes coming to the forefront, but I feel more welcome in Hungary then I did in the Philippines. For that matter, I feel more welcome here then I did in California. While Hungarians have a rep for being distrustful of foreigners, I’ve been treated with politeness and respect by everyone here, aside from one supermarket security guard who accused me and my friend of stealing because we had a bag full of groceries from another store.

The obsequiousness that defines Filipinos’ (and southeast Asians in general) attitude towards foreigners doesn’t exist here.

The locals also don’t have a predatory attitude towards foreigners, so I don’t have to spend my mental energy fending off hookers and grifters. For example, before I left, my friend, Arktos CEO Daniel Friberg, warned me not to ride with any taxi drivers in the Budapest airport lobby, because they were likely to cheat me. I fully expected that as soon as I stepped in the door, I’d be assailed by eight million hustlers trying to get my money. Instead, I was all-but ignored in the lobby, aside from one driver who asked me if I needed a ride. On the way to where I was staying, I didn’t have to deal with a single beggar, shoe-shine boy or ugly fat girl offering me “boom-boom” for 5,000 forint.

The pleasantness of Hungarians extends to how they interact with each other. In Budapest, people still have normal social lives. While smartphones are ubiquitous here, Hungarians don’t hover over them constantly like Americans do. In public, you’ll see men holding hands with their girlfriends and daughters holding hands with their mothers. The social dysfunction of major American cities is nowhere to be found.

3. The women are gorgeous.

In four days here, I’ve yet to see a girl between the ages of 18 and 35 that I would not sleep with. Feminism and social justice are all-but nonexistent in Hungary. I’ve seen exactly two girls with cotton candy-colored hair: a pair of lesbians I saw at the mall. I’ve seen one guy with ear gauges. While there are a fair number of tattoo parlors, almost no one openly displays tattoos or piercings aside from earrings. While some girls are chubby, almost no one is obese.

Trigglypuff-style freaks simply can’t be found here, and there are no flaming homos either.

Additionally, Hungarian women tend to be more conservative than Western women. Girls who openly sleep around are punished for it.

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4. For all of Eastern Europe’s supposed “fascism,” I feel freer here than in the U.S.

When I boarded my flight in NYC to Moscow, I had to take off my shoes and belt and disassemble my laptop bag in order to go through the TSA checkpoint. After I got zapped with their cancer-inducing radiation scanner, I got a patdown from a black agent because there was a nonexistent “anomaly” on my lower back.

When I reboarded my flight to Budapest in Moscow, I merely had to put my wallet and phone into a bin, stick my bag in the scanner, and walk through a simple metal detector. The lady running the scanner asked to look at my microphone, but when she was done confirming that it wasn’t a bomb or a gun, she actually helped put my bag back together.

This was in Russia, a country that leftists claim is literally Hitler.

When I actually arrived in Hungary, I didn’t have to fill out any immigration forms or answer any questions: the customs officer just looked at my passport, stamped it, and handed it back. Again, this is a country that responded to the migrant crisis by building a border wall and telling the E.U. to get fucked, and they didn’t feel the need to put me through the rigamarole that the “liberal democracies” of Canada and the U.S. do.

I’m planning to spend most of the next year living in Europe, possibly returning to the U.S. around November. If you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by and say hi.

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