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I remember back around 1994 or so, tainted paprika was a big story, one I thought was depressing as it was such a stupid topic to get Hungary in the news when the country was still then struggling with its politics and economy, which seemed like a much more pertinent story to me. What goes around comes around: paprika is back in the news again.

Then it was flour painted red; now it's mold (Reuters | Pestiside). Not sure which is worse. Hope it blows over soon and doesn't do too much damage to aggriculture and dining in the meantime. Paprika off the shelves! I can't imagine how restaurants are dealing with this blow.

Rick E. Bruner | East Euro Current News | Oct 29, 2004 | Comments (1)

Molvanîa, a Jetlag Travel Guide


Amusing faux travel guide: Molvanîa: A land untouched by modern dentistry. Looks like Dork Zygotian should have written the forward. From Jetlag Travel Guides, "Taking you places you don't want to go." The book appears to be not-so-loosely based on Romania, in my estimation. From the back cover:

Molvania, birthplace of the polka and the whooping cough, is often overlooked as a tourist destination, but thanks to this updated Jetlag Travel Guide, the keen visitor can now enjoy one of Eastern Europe's best-kept secrets...WHEN TO GO: Those wanting a quieter, less-crowded experience might consider visiting in the "off season" periods such as winter or during the Lutenblag Jazz Festival. WHERE TO EAT: Cafe Cravben is run by a married couple — if the arguments from the kitchen are anything to go by — and the menu is changed frequently. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the table linen.
And so on. By Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner and Rob Sitch. Anyone we know?

For whatever reason, the publisher promises a whole series of these make-believe travel giudes

Rick E. Bruner | Useful Resources | Oct 28, 2004 | Comments (4)

Pestiside Stirs the Shit for AmCham and Peter Freed

The many faces of Peter Freed

Pestiside.hu's Erik D'Amato has stirred the shit in Budapest last week with a long, boring but heart-felt exposé about the election of the president and board members for the American Chamber of Commerce there. In the piece, which apparently got spiked by one of the expat weekly rags for which he originally wrote it (he didn't mention which, in an email he sent me), he points out that the Chamber of Commerce is American in name only, in that most of its officers are at this point from other nations, and most importantly, he skewers Peter Freed, a long-time Budapest expat with a special place in the hearts of many readers of this humble site for reasons I won't go into (oh, okay, he screwed me and the other co-founders of Budapest Week out of our rightful stake in that once-great publication), concerning perceived conflicts of interest, as both a candidate for president of AmCham and a vendor to that same organization. In a follow-up piece, D'Amato claimed a proud victory for his shameless agenda blogging, noting that Freed lost the election, with several readers crediting his investigation as a decisive factor. You go, boy! (And next time you see him, Erik, give Freed my regards, and a knee in the gonads, if you have a chance.)

If all that sounds too petty and tedious, check out his coverage of the Hungarian Playboy Playmate of the Year event instead.

Rick E. Bruner | East Euro Current News, Gen Expat Life Updates, People | Oct 11, 2004 | Comments (2)