Sunday, February 27, 2005


When I was a kid my parents bought me a conductors set for children. It consisted of a whistle, a cap, traintickets, a punch and a plastic instrument having the shape of an elongated handmirror, a red circle on one side, a green one on the other side.
With my younger sisters I played “train”. We put the chairs behind each other, I asked them where they wanted to go and I gave them a small cardboard paper, the destination and prize printed in a greyish black. The passangers could recognise me by my special cap: a round blue specimen, flat on top with a red “band” all around and a black bill. When it was time to go I blew my black whistle and put the plastic circle up, the green side towards the train, thereby showing everything was ready for departure. I got on my train, cut a small round hole in the tickets and while everything stood still at the other side of our imaginary windows, we travelled around the world, to Moscow, New York, even Alaska.

From Esztergom it is only 53 kilometres to the centre of Budapest. By train it takes one and a half hour. A long time for a short distance. I don’t mind. Travelling by train is one of the major pleasures in life. Stuck in this big machine with nowhere to run to, the only thing you can do is stare out of the window. While trees, cities, fields, rain, trains, clouds, people pass by, time is standing still at your side of the window.

I bought two tickets at the Esztergom Railway Station, one to go to Budapest, the other one to get back. The lady behind the counter gave me two small cardboard papers, the destination and prize printed in a greyish black. The original prize had been striped out and she had written a new prize on it with a blue pen. I got on the train and seated myself on a soft green chair. I heard the whistle and the train departed.
A young man with an amazing moustache and a blue uniform cut a small round hole in one of my tickets. I smiled at him. He smiled back. He wore a blue and red round hat, flat on top, a black bill casting a shadow over his sparkling eyes. He moved to the next passenger, cut another perfect round hole and smiled a similar smile.
Half an hour later, the train stopped. I looked out of my window, a young man came out of the station, his brown curls jumped from under his blue and red round hat. In his hands he carried a plastic instrument having the shape of an elongated handmirror. He walked towards the moustached conductor, they laughed and shook hands. The curly one walked back, passed another train and conversed with the machinist.
The whistle sounded, the plastic round was up, showing a green circle. The train groaned and moaned and moved on.

An hour later later we arrived at Budapest. I had travelled more than 25 years.


Blogger Gef said...

I just wish that 1% of the interent community understood this topic as well as you did. Thankyou!
Have a great one.
Sean Cody

11:42 PM  

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