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We have lived in Romania for 16 years now. We have 6 kids. The top photo of our family is the day we met the twins, just before their 4th birthday. We were granted custody of them on their 5th birthday.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

our trip to Budapest

Just remember when reading this it never sounds as funny as it really was! We took a little vacation to Budapest, Hungary for two days. We met another family, the Sheltons, who live in Vienna there. They also have 4 sons. So we had 8 boys running around the zoo ages 9 1/2, 8 1/2, 8, 6, 5, 4, 2, 1 1/2...I think we were the zoo. Needless to say we got quite a few stares through out the day as we ran from animal to animal. The boys had so much fun and the weather was just perfect. We stayed on the 7th floor with no air which could have been miserable in July but God granted us overcast weather and only in the 70's. It was just perfect.
So, we take all 8 of our kids on public transportation. That was fun, the escalators down to the subway are very steep and very fast. We did the best we could buying our tickets since none of us knew the language and there isn't anything really listed in English to know what to buy. We have taken public transportation many times before and never had problems. Well, after a great day at the zoo we were heading back on the subway. Each adult had our single tickets which we thought meant we were good from one destination until our final destination and some guys even checked our tickets when we switched lines and said we were okay. We get to the end of our ride and some more guys are checking our tickets and they call us over and tell us we cheated and took two subways with only one ticket and demand we each pay 6,000forinth which is about $30 or $40! We were just a flabber gasted!! We told him the other guys checked us (there was a young man here translating for us) and said we were okay and he said oh they were just security they don't know about the tickets. Well, finally he says he is going to call the police and the fine will go up etc etc and I opened Baron's wallet to show him...we only have this much cash on us...we can't pay on the spot (we had 6,000 forinth on us) he grabbed that money wrote us out a stupid little receit...then Stan showed him what he had...only 3,000 on him and he just finally (after a very long discussion with him of why we didn't think it was right we had to pay this fine) said just go and waved us on! We were looking at paying an $80 fine for Baron and I we ended up paying $40 which was bad enough especially since we completely thought we were okay and other Hungarians had checked our tickets (how were we to know they were just security officers and didn't know whether our tickets were ok or not, if they had stopped us and said oh wait you can't get on with these tickets you need to go buy another one we would have).
So, we tried not to fume and fuss too much about this steep fine that was completely un just (we assume they target foreigners b/c they carry cash on them and they can demand they pay on the spot).
We get to TGI Friday's thinking of how we wished we had that $40 back when the waitress tells us kids under 6 eat free plus we get free refills on drinks (ok I know for many of you this seems trivial but as many times as we have gone to eat at TGI Friday's in Budapest we have never gotten free refills on our cokes and our kids have never eaten for free). So, we were kind of pumped about this. We had one 6 year old with us so we decided to ask...is that for under 6 or 6 and under. She said well its supposed to be under 6 but we'll give it to the 6 year old too. So, we start to order and I say ok we have 2 over 6 and 2 under 6 and she says, "lets just make this easy on everyone...all the kids will eat free tonight." Well, you can imagine our excitement (I mean 2 missionary families living on a tight budget with a total of 8 kids can you imagine how estatic we were :) ). So, it kind of helped us forget about the unjust fine we had to pay.
The kids did great considering how tired they were...until the very end...my wonderful cute little Nate hit the point of no return and began to pitch a ROYAL fit and boy do I mean ROYAL!! I didn't know what in the world to do...I am in the middle of this big mall and my child is screaming his lungs out! We had a little "chat" and he settled down a little bit...the lady at the restaurant once again saved the day by giving him a balloon which pacified him until we could get our bills paid and get out of there!!
What an adventure...oh another funny story ( I wish we could have caught this on video) The 6 biggest boys were running from animal to animal...they always got to the next animal before we did. They got to the gorilla cage and boy were those things huge. So all 6 boys are pressed against the glass and the big male gorilla just comes up out of no where and puts his face against the glass right in their faces...we caught them as they were all running away screaming! It elicited tears from one of the boys even...it was hilarious to see them all scream and run from the gorilla.
I posted some pictures of our trip on facebook. I got the pictures that Grace took since my camera is out of commission...the good news...we got a new one even better then our old one and it is on its way to Romania!!
Pray for camp next week. We take our first load of kids including Zach and Spencer. Zach went last year and loved it. This will be Spence's first year and he is not so excited :)


erin said...

I've had the same experience on Hungarian transportation, only they weren't so kind to me. I tried to explain to them that the English on the back of the ticket said it was good for streetcar AND subway, and if I owed them money then they needed to change it to say it was good for streetcar OR subway, but they wouldn't even listen. It made me so mad, after paying the huge fine I walked the rest of the day because I didn't want to shell out any more money for more tickets. I've never been in any other city that was quite so big on checking your ticket at every single station. It's bad during the year and worse during tourist season. I would suggest next time going to the window where they have a lady to help you, and buying either day passes for everyone, or several books full of tickets. I always keep extra tickets in my wallet because I never want to get stuck in Budapest without a ticket again!

Jackie said...

I've had the meltdown delimma myself a time or two...how in the world to you get a 2 year old to quit crying? Much less TWO two year olds...?! I spank them for disobeying, but that makes it worse, so now I just scoop and run!!

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