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Top Budapest Horror Story

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  • Top Budapest Horror Story

    A guy who is well connected at the pro level of the sport (whose name I won't divulge here) got to town, his travelling mates were tired and went to bed so he went out to have dinner on his own. Found a nice little traditional Hungarian place and plopped down.

    Part way into his meal, the maître-d came over and said, "I'm sorry sir, there has been a big mistake. This table belongs to our best customer and it was given to you by mistake. Would you terribly mind if we switched your table? Being a typical track person (i.e., nice guy) :-) he said sure, even though they then said, "You'll have to share the table" which isn't uncommon in Europe.

    But it was a big enough table and the threesome of locals minded their own business. They finished eating and left.

    When the hero of our tale finished his meal he was presented with a bill.... for (the equivalent of) $250. He said, "Excuse me, there's been a mistake here." Waiter says "No, that's for you and your friends." He says, "I've never seen them before, they're not my friends." They say, "You have to pay." He says "not a chance and stands up." Two leg-breakers appear and make it clear that he can leave the restaurant in one piece or several.

    He pulls out his cell phone and calls the hotel, explains what has happened and asks them to call the police. Hotel says, "Nah, that wouldn't do any good." When he asks "WTF should I do?" they reply, "Pay them..... oh, but make sure it's cash, not your credit card; you can't imagine they damage they'd do with your credit card number." Sadder but wiser, he paid the 250. Not an uncommon scam, apparently.

    He said the food was pretty good though.

  • #2
    Re: Top Budapest Horror Story

    The Budapest Diet: You're afraid to go anywhere to eat.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Top Budapest Horror Story

      >you can't imagine the damage they'd do with
      >your credit card number."




      Crikey. The amount of times my Dad handed over his credit card in restaurants, etc, in Budapest and then they'd come back to say their computer thing isn't working and could we pay with cash instead.....! This happened several times over the weekend in Budapest, and now I'm quite worried about the consequences....

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Top Budapest Horror Story

        Looks like something that P. J. O'Rourke would have included in his Holidays in Hell book. He thinks Europe is overrated as a travel destination.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Top Budapest Horror Story

          >He thinks Europe is overrated as a travel destination.


          What a gross generalisation! There's so much variety and diversity between each country in Europe, it's impossible to group them all together to say that Europe as a whole is overrated. I wonder if he has visited every country in Europe...

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Top Budapest Horror Story

            >>He thinks Europe is overrated as a travel destination.


            What a gross
            >generalisation! There's so much variety and diversity between each country in
            >Europe, it's impossible to group them all together to say that Europe as a
            >whole is overrated. I wonder if he has visited every country in Europe...

            First of all I am kidding and I am sure he is too but it is funny stuff. Stuff about swinging a cat and crossing several borders, plumbing issues etc.
            Pretty sure he takes shots at most of the countries though.

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            • #7
              Re: Top Budapest Horror Story

              How sad! Hungary used to be a visitor's paradise. While living in Slovakia, we went there a lot and it was safe and fun. The best food and wine.
              "A beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact."
              by Thomas Henry Huxley

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Top Budapest Horror Story

                I havn't been to Budapest since '93, so I'm sure it has changed. Apparently not for the better. I was in Praha in '02, and that city hadn't changed much from '93, except a bit more expensive. But not catastrophically so. I would hope that the restaurant experience was isolated.
                But I am an optimist.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Top Budapest Horror Story

                  Got hit with a similar deal in Cyprus once, only for 800. Paid by CC. Then called the cc company immediately afterwards and filed a complaint. Got the charges dropped, and had the places authorization revoked.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Top Budapest Horror Story

                    Yes, somebody here at the company brighter than I said that paying by credit card was exactly what he should have done. Come to think of it, I think his hotel recommended the place to begin with, so that's where the scam started, which is why they'd give him the no-call advice on police and urge cash.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Top Budapest Horror Story

                      I really don't want to give the impression that Budapest was some kind of hellhole. Far from it.

                      T&FN has never run a tour to a city the size of Budapest (some 2M at this point) without having at least one tourist get ripped off in some fashion. Goes with the territory. Specialty in Budapest is rigged meters on cabs apparently. Never hail one in the street, get a responsible hotel/restaurant to call somebody they know.

                      A far less drab city than when I was last there, in '89, when the commies were in control. Archichture of the classic builings on the hill on the Buda side has to be seen to be believed. Food was spectacular and relatively cheap.

                      I'd unabashedly recommend it as a tourist destination.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Top Budapest Horror Story

                        Garry, Mike, have you ever visited Bratislava? They had a GP II meet there (it's been cancelled, I understand, used to be called P-T-S in the old days). That's my home town.
                        "A beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact."
                        by Thomas Henry Huxley

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Top Budapest Horror Story

                          >Specialty in Budapest is rigged
                          >meters on cabs apparently.



                          Something else that I can attest to! I paid 4,000 forint ($19.50, £10.70) to get from the athletes hotel to my hotel (Grand Hungaria)... the journey lasted about 3 minutes!! Throughout the weekend, we did this journey several times with all different prices ranging from 1,000 forint ($5) upto the 4,000 forint trip. We found out (the hard way) that if you ask first how much it will cost to get from one place to another, then the prices are considerably cheaper.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Top Budapest Horror Story

                            >>Specialty in Budapest is rigged
                            >meters on cabs apparently.



                            Something
                            >else that I can attest to! I paid 4,000 forint ($19.50, £10.70) to get from the
                            >athletes hotel to my hotel (Grand Hungaria)... the journey lasted about 3
                            >minutes!! Throughout the weekend, we did this journey several times with all
                            >different prices ranging from 1,000 forint ($5) upto the 4,000 forint trip. We
                            >found out (the hard way) that if you ask first how much it will cost to get
                            >from one place to another, then the prices are considerably cheaper.


                            Metro was about 50 cents a ride (free if you had a credential), the stop was a two minute walk from the stadium, and ran close to virtually all the hotels.

                            I found all the people there exceedingly friendly, even the half dozen drunks who hovered around me when I was at a cash machine at two in the morning Friday night. They asked me to sing a U2 song with them, which I did, which then promptly scared them away.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Top Budapest Horror Story

                              >How sad! Hungary used to be a visitor's paradise. While living in Slovakia, we
                              went there a lot and it was safe and fun. The best food and wine.<

                              The food and wine were fine--I did some very good eating and drinking over the weekend. But perhaps the best wine I had was one I had with dinner after the meet on Sunday. I ordered it because of its label. It was a Palo Alto Cabernet Sauvignon. I was surprised to find that it was from Chile. Go figure.

                              Comment

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