Entry 3 – January 27, 2010
Yesterday was a bit of a lazy day. We got up early to check our emails, hoping to have heard from Pierpaolo regarding his flats. At breakfast we decided that we wanted to take the first flat that we saw on Friday, the one downtown. We knew that there was another flat that we hadn’t seen that was nearby, so we had asked Pierpaolo if he might be able to show us that flat before we made up our mind. We stayed in the hotel in order to retain access to our email, our current primary source of communication. We eventually got in contact with him, but neither he nor his associates could show us the flat on that day. We called Pierpaolo (this was around dinner time) to make alternate arrangements and decided that we could see the flat at 8 am on Jan 27. For the rest of the day, we pretty much sat around the hotel.
Talking with Pierpaolo, we discovered that we needed to pay for the first month up front as well as pay a security deposit equivalent to 2 month’s rent. None of us had any cash and we realized that we all had limits on our bank cards. We quickly tried to get to a bank before closing time. The first one we tried had just closed but one of the bankers was just leaving and suggesting a bank a little further down the road. We ran there and managed to speak with a gentleman about how to get ourselves some money. Basically he said we should just use the ATM. So, we went to the ATM and maxed out the debit and credit cards we were able to get money from and went back to our hotel with about half of what we needed for the next day.
Matt was a little panicky with the money situation and so he was calling his banks and credit card companies. The hotel phone wasn’t working for him, the payphone wasn’t working for him, the operator wasn’t working for him, collect calling wasn’t working for him, so he decided to put money in his Skype account and try to fake a local call. Even that was fighting back for a while, but eventually he got that working, but still not without problems. In the end, no one could really help him out.
Today we woke up quite early in order to make our appointment with Pierpaolo in the morning. As we had to check out by 10 am, there was a bit of a rush. In order to move out of the hotel in time, we decided to bring half of our luggage with us to view the flats as we knew we would be taking one of these flats.
We arrived at the flat about 10 or 15 minutes early and Pierpaolo also happened to be there early. The flat right away felt like it was the one for us. It was a single floor flat, so no sketchy stairs for us to break our necks on when we wake up all groggy. The flat is smaller, but with no wasted space in the upstairs hallway or on balconies, the actual useful space is nearly the same. Also, this flat had two full bathrooms, one with a “sitting” shower and one with a standing shower stall! The standing shower is something that we discovered to be rare in flats and was something that we all desired. Having two locations for use to clean up in was a bonus.
We decided on the spot that the flat was for us and soon discovered that it would also be cheaper! The rent was the same, but the common costs were lower and the fact that we had less space to heat and that we weren’t on the top floor (aka it is better insulated) meant lower heating bills as well.
By 8 pm we were on our way back to the hotel to check out and grab the rest of our things. We stopped by a bakery on the way to grab some pastries that looked pretty good, maxed out or debit cards again, grabbed our stuff, and then went to TOP Flats, the flat renting agency, to sign for the flat.
We arrived there a little early but got to meet with Pierpaolo’s friend again who had helped us on Friday. We chatted with him for a few minutes until our appointment. Oliver, the guy who filled out all the paper work, told us that it would be fine to pay half the deposit only and the other half on Monday. Since $1 CAD ≈ 181 HUF, our initial payment required numerous 20000 Ft bills, which just looked ridiculous to us, so we took pictures of the cash spread out on the table.
By about noon, we were back in the flat with all of our stuff. Oliver went through all the rooms looking for things that were wrong so that we would know either what needed fixing or at least what we didn’t break. There wasn’t too much wrong, but I was glad that he went through and made an official listing of everything. After an hour or so of that, he handed us the keys and we were in our new flat!
First things first: choosing rooms. Sunny said he would use the main bathroom as his permanent bathroom, so the bedroom with the attached bath was off his list. Matt said he wanted to not switch rooms ever during the trip and he was really hoping for the stand-up shower, so we let him take the bedroom with the attached bath. That left one fairly nice room and one tiny and awkwardly laid out room for Sunny and I to fight over. We figured that since Sunny was leaving before I was, he could take the nicer room for half of our stay and I could take it for the other half and retain it for when he was gone.
One thing Oliver told us when he brought us to the flat was that he suspects we will be the tidiest tenants he has had for a while; we took our shoes off at the door, which I guess is uncommon. After he left, we promptly went to the nearby mall for a few simple cleaning supplies and then got to work cleaning our rooms. (At the mall I had a spicy falafel wrap at “Hummus Point: Vegetarian Cuisine”, conveniently located next to “Meat Point”, and it was really good, but supposedly made my breath smell really bad.)
We then noticed that the poorly laid out room might be fixable; the length of the bed was almost exactly the width of the narrow wall of the room, so we emptied the room of furniture, disassembled the bed, and packed everything in much more efficiently. Now I think I would be happy to just stay in my current room for the duration of our stay, but we will see how I feel after being here for a while. (The pictures are of my room after the rearranging.)
We wanted to do some vacuuming, but noticed the canister for the vacuum was completely full, so we went to empty it and found a large amount of plastic wrap covering the dust bin. In order to empty the thing, the wrap was removed and we found that the filter in the vacuum was also thoroughly dirty and that there was a bunch of drywall dust and other such garbage in there. The side of the bin had instructions for cleaning the filter, so I set to work cleaning the vacuum while the other guys continued arranging my bed. Halfway through cleaning the vacuum I realized just how accurate Oliver’s statement was: our first night there and I was cleaning a vacuum! I eventually found a whole candy wrapper blocking the intake of the vacuum, so that is probably what was causing the previous user to have dust fly all over, which then led to the need for plastic wrap. I cleared the clog, washed the filter, and am know waiting for it to dry so that tomorrow we can do some vacuuming.
For supper, we weren’t quite setup to do our own cooking, but also didn’t really feel like spending the evening out again, so we decided to try to order pizza. Matt found a place to order online, which allowed us to do translations throughout the process, but we realized that basically every place we might order pizza from would require a phone number at which they could contact us, so instead we used our very limited internets (stolen from the neighbors until we can get our own) to locate a pizza place near by. I had a Caesar salad and it didn’t taste like North American style, but was quite good none the less. Also, I’m generally not a tomato fan, and it came with 4 tomato quarters, but I decided that today I was going to force myself to like the tomato so I ate it and it was actually not that bad.