Mental trips, Trips

My story

I had a life, before I started to travel. I lived in Hungary. It was beautiful.

Yesterday the manager of the youth centre, where I practically grew up – I’ve been there every evening to meet friends, if it was a school day, until 9 PM, on Saturday until midnight – he found me on facebook and told me, that in a sort of way, I am part of the history of that centre.

It started in a time, when in Hungary not having a job was a crime. Everyone had a job, since in the communism there is no unemployment, there were no homeless, everyone had at least a flat and we thought that the capitalism is dying.

(There were no cable TV-s, no foreign radios – it was a crime too to listen to Radio Free Europe, there were no political foreign newspapers to buy, no foreign newspapers at all, I think. If you wanted to have a telephone at home, you had to apply for it at the city council and it took sometimes ten years to get it. Obviously there was a manual switch centre to be connected to someone outside the hometown, you couldn’t phone anyone abroad).

If you knew anyone, who fled from Hungary in ’56 and came back then to visit you – if I remember correctly, the first time, they could come back, it was the 80’s – these visitors were followed by a police car all the time, just to be on the safe side.

We didn’t have passports, if you had to go abroad (maybe your company organized something or other political reasons for party members), you had to apply for one, and there was a quite long period, until they investigated your whole life, if you have anyone abroad, so maybe you just want to run away from the perfect world after your trip and you never want to come back.

For me it was a safe place, I’ve never seen anything else, so I didn’t really care about the capitalism. There were no Nike shoes, no foreign music, officially – from the point of view of the Party – which party….? What a question, there was only one Party, THE party – not even the church existed (members of the party couldn’t enter churches)

Intellectuals, philosophers and people in generally, who thought differently, got in jail, got tortured, got killed. (You ask, who knew about them thinking differently? Hach….your own neighbour, your own child could report you to the police, if any cadre got it to know, you were dead. Like literally. Once I asked my mum, how come we say, that the pioneer tie is a piece of the soviet flag, and in the same time, it has the washing instructions on it? And by the way how big should this soviet flag be, if every pioneer has a piece of it? She said, I never have to talk about things like this at school. It is against THE SYSTEM, we can get in trouble. I was 11.)

But it also was the time, when I grew up, and in that time I haven’t really realized these restrictions, communism was the only thing I knew, Russian the only language I wanted to be able to speak, Moscow the only city, I ever wanted to see in my life.

I had loads of friends at school and when we became teenagers, we met after school in this house, at the youth centre. I smoked my first cigarettes with them, we got drunk together the first time, usually we’ve been in the park of the town hall, near to the police station, who usually catched us home, if we’ve been there until late. There was a kind of law, that more than three people can not talk together on the streets…(fear of a possible revolution), but since we’ve been kids, they didn’t really care.

We played games, we talked about the school, about going on Saturday into the local disco, when one of us got his first car – he was a car mechanist and could borrow one car from his boss – we also went to the other cities’ discos. We had no money at all, we bought for one evening only five pieces of cigarettes – the shop offered this service – and drank one beer the whole evening, if….usually I had a coke.

Right after ’89 the manager of this centre started to organize concerts in the culture hall, we loved every one of them. Hobo (he had a song about the tram nr. 56, which had its final station on the Moscow square. Although it was the truth, he obviously used this truth to say something more and he obviously got in jail for this song), Deák Bill Gyula, Kispál és a Borz, PUF…young groups, who understood much more of politics and the life, than we did, we only repeated the texts, sometimes without even understanding them.

I was against the old system, without even understanding the why, it was old, and people were happy, when the Russian Army has left our country. I participated on the first festival in Budapest to celebrate this and on several other festivals, from which the Sziget festival was born then during the years.

I so loved our centre, my friends were the most important people in my life, I never wanted to leave my home town. I loved to walk on the streets, to go to friends’ house, who could smoke at home, and have a cigarette with them…Jees, if I think, that from these friends some of them are already dead – disease, accidents, heart attack, there is also a friend, who committed suicide….so sad – and practically no one is living in my home town, there are just no jobs now.

Memories about a whole other world, which I also wish a way to never come back.


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