Tuesday, June 27, 2006

reservations in eastern europe are a novelty at best

Today is my husband's birthday. Not a big fan of self-aggrandizement, he is rather subdued on "his special day." But we had plans. A friend of ours has a vacation spot on Hungary's famous Lake Balaton and had given us the keys for the week. We also called and reserved a car for the week; having decided it was better to rent a car and take our coffemachine than to go on the train and be without.

By 2pm this afternoon we were packed and ready to go. We weren't scheduled to pick up the rental car until 4 but Zoli called to see if maybe it would be available earlier. The owner answered and asked Zoli to call back "later" as his whole family was napping. Fine; weird but whatever. At 4 o'clock we walked over to pick up the car and surprise!, they were out of cars. Reservations beside the point, all the cars scheduled to come back today had decided to extend their contracts and the earliest available is "guaranteed" to be in by tomorrow afternoon.

This is a common problem in Hungary; reservations are generally not a guarantee so much as the idea of a promise. If I have it when you have reserved it for, then it's all yours. If not: tough shit. We were offered a car that was 50% more on a daily rate with no sympathy deduction; my U.S. upbringing has lead me to expect concessions to be made when your reservations are ignored. No such thing here.

The last time we rented a car, we just decided on a whim and walked over, 10 minutes later we drove away. The owner, however, did tell us that it was in our best interest to reserve a car in the future as it is rare that he has availability. Ha!

HA HA Hardy har har!

And now, to add insult to injury, it has begun to rain while maintaining 90% humidity and the current temperature of 92 degrees. yay.

Happy Birthday Babe.

As they say in the restaurant business: If the worst thing that happens to you this month is a bad meal, you're doing better than most.

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