Hip HIPA Hurray!

HIPA 10-year anniversary dinner
Photo by Mark Milstein
Click photo to enlarge

The Hungarian International Press Association (HIPA) has just celebrated its 10-year anniversary! I feel like a proud father. (The creation of HIPA and the organization of its initial meetings was largely the brain power and elbow grease of myself and Hungarian publicist Ferenc Blaskovics.)

I don't actually recognize many from the photo of the event beside Kester (standing in the back), Duncan Shiels (seated, left), Florence La Bruyere (seated, right) and Adam LeBor (standing, back right corner). A few other faces look familiar (I know I know the guy in the red shirt all the way to the right, but I can't place him (is that Nick Thorpe?)). Please ID any others you can.

Continue reading below to see Kester Eddy's email account of the anniversary party (Kester is HIPA's newly elected president), as well as some of my own recollections of the early days of HIPA that I sent to Kester as an email for him to read to those assembled.

Kester's write-up:

From the feeback last night everybody seemed to enjoy it, certainly seemed a great atmosphere to me, so thanks to everyone who came and helped make it go.

For those who did not make it, we had around 30 faces, some from pre-history (Nick Thorpe, Duncan Shiels, Florence La Bruyere, Tibor Vidos, me....) to recent arrivals (Mark Milstein, Gareth Corsi...) with a smattering from all years in between. Agi and Eszter (of course), and Amar, whose staff did a great job on the catering side. (At the end we had a group photo or two, including all the restaurant staff. The cooks in particular seemed thrilled to be acknowledged and invited out for their picture to be taken with the group. Thanks Mark.)

I originally invited Amar to say a few words about the cuisine, but he said let it speak for itself, so after tucking in for an hour Duncan and I gave a short, very potted history of HIPA's first decade, including pre-natal stage, with some input from Rick Bruner via email.

Florence added a little known anecdote about Medgyessy which nearly meant an end to diplo relations between Budapest, HIPA and Paris, and Nick stood up to say even his wife thinks we are a good bunch (so we can fool people after all).

Whether many of us will be here to commemorate the twentieth birthday of HIPA I don't know, but I wonder if we can turn this date (well, say the last Friday in January) into a regular event ?

That way, old hands thinking of visiting Budapest around this time could actually plan any such trip around the event.

Here, meanwhile, are some of my own recollections of the early days of organizing HIPA, from an email I wrote to Kester before the event:

As for HIPA, by all means, give them my regards. The only anecdote that stands out in my mind about the whole thing was my forgetting to show up at the inaugural meeting. To remind you, HIPA was actually, as I recall, the idea of Hungarian political publicist Ferenc Blaskovics, and I eagerly went along with it -- or we both had a similar idea simultaneously, or something. I did my part to rally my foreign-press contacts to attend the kick-off meeting. I think we might have had a brainstorming session or two (in some beery pince, I vaguely recall) first to assure ourselves there was indeed interest. So we then scheduled the official first meeting at which we would elect officers, etc.

Somehow, however, I was scheduling two things simultaneously -- a reporting junket / vacation with Adi, and this HIPA meeting, and I failed to observe they conflicted. I was sitting on a train down to Slovenia when I suddenly sat up and shouted, "*$&@! What's the date?" Meanwhile, back in Budapest, so I've been told, they sat around waiting for me for 45 minutes, assuming I would chair that meeting, till Duncan stepped up and volunteered. Naturally, he was subsequently elected president, which I never regretted, as he did a great job leading it that first year and I had more than enough on my plate back then. Anyway, certainly an amusing start to things, from my point of view, in retrospect, anyway.

Also, I remember cooking a Thanksgiving dinner in the restaurant of the Hungarian Press Club for HIPA members and Hungarian Press Club members, some 75 people or something, as I recall. I was most grateful that not a single American besides my dad showed up, so they couldn't observe how far off a real traditional Thanksgiving dinner it was. Was working with the head chef of the Hungarian Press Club, who was completely baffled by the point of this odd meal. Worst was the pumpkin pie, cooked not in small round pie pans, as it should be, but in large industrial rectangular pans. The pie crust (always the hardest part of a pie -- I always buy them pre-made in the store here when I make pie these days) was like shoe leather. All the diners, however, seemed to be very impressed. Or, at least they were very polite about it.

Would love to hear the recollections of any of the rest of you on this (especially Duncan, as he saved my bacon that night), or comments on how it has progressed since then.

Rick E. Bruner | Gen Expat Life Updates, People, Pictures | Feb 4, 2004 | Comments (0)

More pics of the Pezsgô-fueled New Year's eve party in Budapest

Hi from California,
Four pages of superior DJing and silly dancing here:
Someone mentioned that the songs played at our parties are still the same 10 years later... So is the energy level, if you look at the 2 men in red in particular.

Emmanuelle Richard | Pictures | Jan 12, 2004 | Comments (1)

Sylvie in Thialand

Sylvie in Thailand

Sylvie Csorba, who held a range of jobs at BpWeek in the early years, including design, distribution and business opps, has surfaced. She just sent an email with photos from her recent trip to Thailand.

Rick E. Bruner | Gen Expat Life Updates, People, Pictures | Jan 12, 2004 | Comments (1)

Rick's Budapest Snaps

Granted, I'm no Bruno Bourel, but I snapped a few shots of street scenes while in Budapest that I thought you might like to see.

Bacsi on Wheels
Baldness Cure
Balloon Over Budapest
Budapest Airport Bookstore
Funny Salon
Happy Gum
Hot Dog, Magyar Modra
House of Many Ads
Ibolya No More
Nice House
Nazi Toys
Boogie Dick
Rick 'n' Dog
The Pizza Doctor
Shoe Store
Vaci Utca

Rick E. Bruner | Pictures | Jan 10, 2004 | Comments (6)

Reunion Party Pics

Damn, we're all still so interesting, successful and good looking!

(Click pics to enlarge and then follow the built-in navigation links from one to the next.)

Jó Barátok
Off the Record
Budapest Makes You Beautiful
Editors Around the Clock
Foreign Correspondents
Lovely Ladies
Blah, Blah, Blah
Back and Better Than Ever
Mac Daddy
Like a Fine Wine...
A Rare Night Out
I Could Look at Those Baby Blues All Night
Long Time No See
Three Amigos
Still Figuring Out This Camera
Good Conversation
New Arrivals
More of the Gang
Half Past Beer O'Clock
Some of the Gang
Still Crazy (in Love) After All These Years
Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to Be Expats
Mmmm, beer
Story Tellers
What Are You Smirking At?
Tibor and Family
Berger Bronte
Lucky Guy

Rick E. Bruner | Gen Expat Life Updates, People, Pictures | Jan 7, 2004 | Comments (5)

Cheryl Loof


At the moment I’m in San Francisco and love it. I lived in Budapest from 1993-1995 and worked at Budapest Week as the advertising rep. and for Anderson Consulting as an overpaid assistant to the General Manager. I left in 1995 and traveled through India, Nepal and Southeast Asia before landing in San Francisco. And for the record, I didn’t get deadly sick in India like everyone in Budapest feared. I met a Brazilian in 1997 while traveling in Egypt. We did the back and forth thingy for a bit, I moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil for a year and then we relocated to San Francisco in 2000. We eventually split up. Currently I’m a marketing manager, but hope the economy here has improved enough to make a job/career change in 2004. For fun lately, I’ve been taking Spanish classes, traveling to Spanish-speaking counties (did the Inca trail to Machu Picchu in Oct. '03), and learning how to tango and swing dance. If you’re ever in San Francisco, look me up.

Cheryl Loof | People, Pictures | Jan 2, 2004 | Comments (2)

New Year's, Budapest, 2004

Names have been omitted to protect the innocent, guilty and privacy nerds. Suffice it to say, much fun was had by all.

Smiling Party People
Round Fridge
Play That Funky Music White Boy
White Men CAN Dance
True Love
Yes, I Do Take Requests
My Man, Dupla V
Boogie and Banter
International Man of Mystery and Friends
It Was Funny the First Time, Dude
Photo Maven
Handsome Couple
DJ's Eye View
Dupla V and M.C. Mac Daddy
Boogie Haze
More Boogie Haze
I Love My Wife
Party's Over

Rick E. Bruner | Gen Expat Life Updates, People, Pictures | Jan 1, 2004 | Comments (3)