Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

People-watching in Budapest Ikea

When we visited Budapest on a day trip from Serbia yesterday, our friends wanted very much to shop at Ikea. There are rumors of an Ikea opening next year in Novi Sad (where no doubt they will make out like bandits) but no Ikea in Serbia as yet. So this was a fairly exciting destination for our friends.

My husband and I live less than an hour from an Ikea in the States, we have college-aged kids and just finished a kitchen renovation, so you can imagine how often we've been to Ikea in the past couple of years! So Ikea in Budapest, when we finally found it -- after an hour of driving about in Budapest's thick traffic, over the Danube, then reversing back over the Danube, asking the old woman at the bus stop, asking the young man in the car lane next to us, asking the two mothers crossing the street, etc. -- was not very exciting for its merchandise which is the nearly entirely same as in the US (only higher prices.)

However, we had a grand time people watching. We found a good place to sit while our friends shopped and treated Ikea as a luxury cafe, perfect to see the world go by, complete with ligonberry juice.

Basically everyone was, naturally, Hungarian. And let me tell you, most Hungarians look very much alike. It felt like we were at a large family reunion with no one but first, second, and third cousins all swarming about. Now, I've noticed in the past a certain sameness about Serbs as well, although definitely less of one. In general there are two Serb faces - thin with high cheek bones, and very square with high cheek bones. Plus, most Serbs have a fairly similar something about the eye socket. Their eyes are penetrating and haunting at the same time.

Hungarian's likeness -- at least to my eyes -- were concentrated in their noses. From what I could see, reviewing literally hundreds of Hungarian noses, they only actually have about five of them. If you are Hungarian, you have one of the five, and that's that.

After a while I gave them names -- the Emperor's nose, the round end, the classic profile, etc. It was very fun to watch all these noses carried by on their owners.... Two Emperors hand in hand in full flush of young love, an elderly round end in a fine pair of linen trousers, several classic profiles impatient in line...

If Americans look alike, it's due to their attitude, their gestures, and the fashions they are wearing... not the actual structure of their faces. So this world of being able to pick out a person's nationality by their nose or by their eyes is very foreign and a bit amusing to me.


Barbara said...

Fabulous. Thank you for sharing your adventures. But we want pictures!

Mila Vukoje said...

Luckily for you, your adventure was a good one and you were able to enjoy yourselves at Ikea Budapest.For us it was a nightmare, while we were there spending huge amount of money, spent over 1000euros, our SUVs trunck was fully unloaded at Ikeas garage. Security told us that they are there quote: to make sure everyone pays the parking not for safety of Ikeas shoppers or their cars.So go knock yourselves shopping at Ikea Budapest you will most probably be going out empty handed and some people obviously don"t have to pay to get Ikea stuff and security won"t do anything about it!Ofcourse you will still have to pay 200HUF for each hour you park at Ikeas garage!