Budapest

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Budapest

When I went to Budapest I was not sure what to expect. What I did know is that they were famous for their Hot Springs, thermal baths and bridges. That’s all I need to know to spend an extra day there in the spa! Trisha and I had quite the experiences there. It was our midway point of a six-week backpacking trip. So we were using Budapest as our relaxation point where we could just spend all day in the thermal baths at different locations in the city to recharge for the rest of the trip. We ended up spending two whole days at the Hot Springs. It was amazing. The mineral baths were therapeutic, relaxing and just what the doctor ordered.

When we first arrived in Budapest we checked into our hostel – which was five star hotel converted into a hostel.It was called wombatz hostel. It was huge. There were young adults there from all over the world. It was the best place to meet people….. Although, I am still trying to decide for myself if there is a real difference in the definitions between hostel and brothel! It was definitely a hook up spot for random people! We learned that very quickly! Although, I must say that I did not join in the festivities. After we dropped our bags off, we went down the street to look for some food. On the way to the restaurant we saw this Mexican place. When we walked by there was a man through the open window who made eye contact with us. As we walked past the door the guy came out after us. He came up to me and said, quote you look very happy, I would like to give you a massage. Not the sexy massage but the relaxation kind. I would like to do this for you in my apartment right next-door hardly a price.” I looked at Trisha with the eyes of, “is this real life?” The guy was serious. We thanked him and walked away. He did not speak great English. I was in shock that actually happened. It was hilarious. We spent the rest of that evening at the train station mall. It was a four-story mall. We caught up on all of our shopping there for the rest of the trip. Budapest was really inexpensive!

The next day, we went to Gellert spa. We spent all day to different thermal baths that went up to 40°C and then the 19°C pools. It was much needed relaxation day. We followed that up with an hour massage at the spa. Later that evening, after a full day of relaxation, we met up with a couch surfing friend that I met online. His name was Ramin. He gave us directions to his house to meet him and two French girls and two Italian girls who were also strangers from the couch-surfing website as well as his roommates at his apartment before they went out for the night. It was late at night. We made it off of the subway to the stop that he told us. When we got to his home, we rang and rang and knocked and knocked. There was no answer. We decided after standing in the dark street for 10 minutes that maybe this was not a good idea. We figured that they had left without us or it was a set up.

We then decided to sit on the curb near the apartment. We opened up a bottle of wine and began to drink it on the street side just like everybody else did in that town. People were walking by and we still had no response by phone from the contact we were meeting up with. We decided to make the best of it. A younger guy walked past us and Tricia asked him if he wanted a drink because we have plenty. He smiled and said no thank you and walked on by. I looked and down the street and said, “wait where you going. ” He said that he was going to meet up with his friends to go out. I said, “perfect let’s join you” He felt a little bit uncomfortable but said yeah I guess so…. We got up from the street corner and walked with him. When he went to unlock his door it was the same building that the guy we were supposed to meet lives in. I then told him the story about how we were meeting this guy named Ramin to go out with him and his roommates and friends and that I hadn’t heard back from him. The guy stopped and looked at me. He said, “no way”! As we walked into the building. She said, “that is my roommate”! As we walked up the stairs Ramin started walking down. He said, Rachel, hello! I apologize, I was in the shower and I did not have my phone with me.” We all stopped and laughed. We told him the story about how we gave up on him and decided to join another person for his night out and he turned out to be going to the same place we were. That is why again, I will always say, talk to everyone. You never know who you are going to meet.

When we got to his house, there were two girls from France and two girls from Italy. One guy from Argentina. There was also one other guy from Finland and his roommate from Italy. It was quite the interesting bunch to go out. Nobody knew each other. It made for great conversations and an excellent night out.
Ramin was from Iran but lived in Budapest. He reminded me of Borat. There were certain things that were lost in translation. When Trisha and I started laughing at something he said, he would ask us “why we were laughing on him”. The poor conjugation made us laugh even more. He told us about how his favorite animal was a meerkat. He even had a photo of one on the back of his phone screen. He took us to a ruin bar. Two of them actually. A ruin bar is an abandoned building that the city turned into a bar to use the space. Everything is raw. It is an open space with a lot of eclectic things. It would be considered very hipster. The first one we went to was the third best in the world.

The next day after that, we went to a spa in another location in the city. That was another relaxation day. After that day at the thermal baths we walked through town. This time we stopped at an Asian massage place. It was a lot better than the first place I made a reservation at which was called the princesses of massage. That was not the type of massage we were looking for. This was the most awkward massage I’ve ever had. They made us take off our shoes downstairs and put on their sandals. Then we walked upstairs to a dark place. There were curtains separating the rooms. When I got to my curtained off room, there was a mat on the floor. She told me to take off all my clothes and lay facedown on the mat. When she came in to do the massage, she sat down next to me and began. Halfway through she was sitting on top of me to do the massage….. I felt very uncomfortable. I was definitely not expecting that. When Trisha was finished with her massage next-door, I asked her what her experience was like. She said that she kept her clothes on and that it was not the same….. Weird! We then went on a walking tour of the city. The first thing that our tour guide told us is to learn the language of Budapest by picking up a Hungarian lover for a couple of years and settle down with him until you learn the language and then move on. One thing that I noticed about Budapest is that they referred to the shady places as the shadow areas. The tour guide would tell us to “move into the shadows.” I learned that the helicopter, vitamin C, ballpoint pen, and the Rubiks cube were all from Hungary. Also, an important thing to know is that hello actually means goodbye.

That night we were very tired, but everybody insisted that we go out and check out this popular ruin bar in town. As we were walking there I stepped into a manhole that was exposed and got covered in mud. Luckily for me it was right across from where we were sleeping, so I got to go back home and change. There were a couple other shady characters he walked past. Two separate guys on the way stopped me to give me a kiss on each cheek and then kiss my hand. It was weird. So after a rough start getting ready to go out for the last night in Budapest Trisha said “I feel like God is telling us to stay home and to not go anywhere tonight”. We looked at each other and agreed. We decided to at least go check it out. We got tacos at a seedy place and then we started walking to the ruin bar.

In route we were approached by two very shady characters. We were a block away and there was a Nigerian man with healed knife marks on his face and neck with his right Eye missing. He came up to us and started speaking Nigerian with broken English. Then his friend came from across the street behind us. I told Tricia to keep on walking and to follow me. I moved quickly to try to avoid eye contact and went through the bouncers to get in. Sure enough, they followed us in. To be sure that I wasn’t just crazy and that they were actually following us, when we walked through the bar, instead of following everybody at the main entrance I went to the left towards a hall with a stairway and we started to go up the stairs. They had followed the main crowd for a few steps then they turned around and came towards Tricia and I. They were talking to us and it was hard to understand. We pushed through them and went to the main entrance. I told Tricia to run! We went through the main crowd and ran to a small crevice and waited for them to go past. Then we went up the stairs to be able to look down into the main part of the restaurant and locate them to see where our best exit would be. When we saw them downstairs they were looking around and looking upwards for us. The one guy made a phone call and the other started going upstairs. I took Trisha and we sat down at a random table full of Italians. We jumped into the conversation like we belonged. When the coast was clear we ran down the stairs and made a safe exit and got back to the hostel. We both agreed that it wasn’t worth it to go out again. The next day we had to leave, but we had time to go hiking. While we were hiking up a mountain, we saw the Italian guys that we sat down with. That was random!

We then parted ways. Trisha went off on the night train to Prague and I went off on the night train to Poland to see Auschwitz.

Couchsurfing

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This past weekend was my first experience with couchsurfing. I was hesitant at first, but I LOVED it. I had such a great time! For those of you who don’t know what this is: couchsurfing is where people from all over the world who like to travel will open up their homes to travelers to stay with them and in return when those people travel to new destinations they will look up who is hosting in the city that they are traveling to and then stay with them. Through this process you gain references for your future travels…. But the best part is… You meet people from all over the world and lean about different cultures. You are able to make friends from everywhere.

This 1st experience of mine I researched the person that I stayed with in Chicago and he had a lot of references. I took a girlfriend with me so that I wasn’t alone. I played it safe!! The host we stayed with then told me that there would be a guy from Australia, a guy from Rwanda and two people from Indianapolis!!! That made me even more excited to stay there and meet people. I know that this is off the wall concept, but this is a great way to connect and meet people. It is a great community and they are all like minded individuals.

Europe- I plan to use this concept when I go backpacking through Europe in July- August. So this was a great start and I’m looking forward to more experiences such as this!!

Please Help–HOPE and a FUTURE: PAY IT FORWARD

Please Help--HOPE and a FUTURE: PAY IT FORWARD

As many of you know I published my autobiography this past year. It is a raw, organic story that tells the ugly side of my past with the explanations of how I turned it into success. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, it is available to order online at http://www.amazon.com/Taking-Back-The-Pen-Predestinated/dp/0615874436
IF you have read it, I am asking that rather than letting the book sit on your shelf, please pass it along to somebody in your life you believe can benefit from reading it. I didn’t write it to sell a million copies or for the fame. My intentions in publishing it were to bring hope and change in peoples lives and to inspire those who struggle in life….which is ALL of us. I want to get my story out there so people are not afraid to open up and seek help when needed. everybody has a story! Please pass my story on and continue to love people and appreciate stories because we are all walking through life together.

If you have not ordered it yet, please order one and read it yourself and then pass it on to somebody in your life who you feel may benefit from it

Backpacking Through Europe-

Backpacking Through Europe-

In July I will be going on a backpacking trip through Europe. I am looking for some advice from people who have gone before or suggestions from readers who live in Europe…any suggestions of places to stay, places to eat or places to see…even treasured cities to visit. Major cities/countries I will be hitting include. Dublin- London- Amsterdam- Belgium- Prague- Germany- Barcelona- Paris -Venice- Italy- Switzerland -Open to others as well. If you have any light to shed on the trip for me please let me know. I will be traveling with 2 girlfriends. we are flexible and spontaneous. 42 days long for the trip.

TOP STORY: HUFFINGTON POST PUBLISHED A REVIEW

TOP STORY: HUFFINGTON POST PUBLISHED A REVIEW

Today I was notified that a man who lives in New York City that read my autobiography had published a review and it went live on the Huffington Post today. This has been a long road to get my story out there to inspire others and it was a balance of trying not to just whine about the bad things in my life but rather to overcome them and encourage people to move past the hard times and let them shape their future! The review paralleled my life story with the city of Detroit. It reminded me again of why I am investing in my city…plans for a hope and a future. the review can be read at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-stimpson/taking-back-the-pen_b_4372731.html

The book is available https://www.createspace.com/4271634

Want Free Drinks? The honest truth

Want Free Drinks? The honest truth

When one goes to the bar with friends, there is a “game” that some people play to get free drinks. The girls will get all dressed up and flirt with guys around them to get the guy to buy them a drink. The guys are looking for a girl who is wiling to take a drink and sit there and talk with them in hopes of “getting lucky” later. In my younger days I played the game often so I understood the benefits and the risks. There was a particular skill in doing so. Through the years I have learned my lesson and I have found that there is more harm than good in allowing somebody else to buy you a drink. When the guy buys you a drink, you don’t just walk back to the group of friends that you came with. You are now expected to stand there and talk to him until your drink is gone. It just gets awkward. In some situations you can walk away and say thank you. Most times though, by accepting a drink you place yourself in a very uncomfortable situation. The guy that bought you a drink will think that you are actually interested in him and he will ask for your number and continue to follow you around the bar. After talking to some guys, they feel that when they buy a girl a drink that they now have “dibs” on her. It is a sick game.

What I have discovered is that if you are going out with friends, you should never let a stranger buy you a drink. Not only are you at risk of being drugged (which I have experienced) but then you are in a situation of owing somebody else your attention. It is always best to buy your own drinks and make your own decision on who you want to talk to:

Women- Make your own money and buy your own drinks. As charming as it is to have somebody offer to buy you drinks, it does not pay off in the long run. How much is your time worth? I would rather choose who I talk to and pay for my own bills rather than allowing somebody to have the idea of control. Our minds work different than a mans and it can get real awkward real quick.

Men- Keep your guard up. It may be a kind gesture you make, or you may be looking to get a number or a relationship of some sort. Truth is: 9 times out of 10 the girl that you buy a drink for is NOT interested. You will be wasting your time AND money and it just gets awkward for both of you. You want to find a woman who works and holds her own. If you still want to buy her a drink…..don’t follow her around…you just got duked and she most likely wants nothing more to do with you. Unless you are out one on one with a girl- it is a waste to buy a girl at the bar a drink.

Honest Truth

Autobiography- Your Story Matters

Autobiography- Your Story Matters

EVERYBODY HAS A STORY- This book a was not just written to share my story…you may be reading this and thinking to yourself that your story is similar and you may know exactly what I am talking about throughout the book. This book is meant to inspire you as well. This book will hopefully allow you to ask yourself……why have I not shared my story yet? Sharing your story may not be in the form of a book, it may be in finally speaking up to somebody in your life that you have watched struggle but yet you have been afraid to council for fear of offending. You may finally come out with something to your family that you have been hiding. This may inspire you to begin your journey of releasing and relearning. You are important and your story does matter. Each person that reads this has their own circle of community around them that another person may never be able to reach. Take ownership of the lives around you that you have been placed around to influence. Don’t let your life pass without sharing your story. Here is the link to my book http://www.createspace.com/4271634