An Hungarian Interlude––July 12

Copyright 2009 Jens Haas -

The plane taking off, spoke French, on arrival, it speaks Hungarian. A first impression on landing in Budapest, then, is the strangeness of the sounds from no mouth in particular. I can’t tell where the words stop, or where they begin. There is nothing Latinate with which to gauge English approximates. Indeed, the only word I manage to master in two weeks is szia, and then only because it sounds like an Australian see ya (though it is offered as a greeting on arrival and departure).

Home is: a dormitory in the Soviet style; two bunk beds at cross purposes, two desks in parallel. We are a bus ride and four train stops away from town centre, we are up the highway and nearly in the woods. The highway, one of Pest’s main arteries, is a single-lane in both directions. The sky above it is wide. At the window there is a gathering of insect life, rare visitations.

The foyer is: awash with name-tags affixed below faces, and folders, red or blue, clutched at the breast. The faces are in various stages of passage from trepidation to the putting of best feet forward. I am an anxious child again, the first day of school. We are shown to the dining room, the computer room, the laundry room, the lounge— amenities for two weeks: a conference in Budapest.

A Parisian Sojourn––July 09

Copyright 2009 Jens Haas -

I pass some workmen in overalls on my street at lunch time. The one has three baguettes under one arm, a bottle of wine under the other, and in a bag he carries at least two kinds of cheese and a bottle of peppers. Formidable!

Later, I pass birds on the street with crooked, shrivelled feet.

A Parisian Sojourn––July 02

Copyright 2009 Jens Haas -

The soul of old objects inhabits new parks. We visit the Parc de Bercy—past Le Jardin J. Joyce, and over Le Pont S. de Beauvoir. Everyone is taking their leisure in the sun, and why not? We pass by the woods with black and green bark and people in shadows; we pass the formal hedges with benches all around. Then, the pure-visual sensation of purple and pink: the pink is stout along the ground, the purple is aspirant, rising higher. They are planted in what looks like free form, but deceptively. Really the beds are shaped to a generous curve like the back of a Christian fish (which meets its underside over the way). What do we need paintings for when we have gardens? I suppose so we may pay our respects to colour and light. So we may study, multiply, the good of sensation!