Friday, May 28, 2010

Ah for the sound of frogs...

One week birding in the Hungarian puszta, in Hortobágy National Park, among red-footed and Saker falcons, spoonbills, stone curlews, white-winged and whiskered terns. Every heron but the cattle egret...

Hortobágy, grasslands and marshes, like stepping back into a quieter time. A time still sane.

Where people don't have such obscene amounts of money, and better things to do with their time than watch flat-screen TVs and go shopping. Where a good peasant meal can still be had any day of the week, and with beer or a glass of good wine, and coffee, costs (much) less than the glass of wine would at home.

Where trains run to nearby towns, and cross-country, frequently enough to be an option--or where one can afford to wait for the next one. Always on time, because each stop is a long one.

Where old men ride bicycles, even to and from the fields with their scythes or pruners over one shoulder. With hardly any cars, and small unobtrusive ones at that. Where the postman still rides a bicycle. Slowly. And knocks at every gate. Small, neat houses with neat yards, sheds with tools, vegetable gardens, geese and ducks.

Where a diversity of frogs serenade in the reeds, and bitterns boom. Where storks nest on platforms atop light posts on every street, or on chimney tops. Where ancient sheep and cattle breeds graze the steppes, and every other house rents out a spare room to travelers should one happen by.

Where nobody wears expensive clothes; no cheesy designer labels. No cell phones ringing, and absolutely no iPhones (except mine, and it is in airplane mode). Time for a beer at the local café.

8 comments:

1125HaydeeG_Mccray said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
退 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
慧玲PierreJ_Good9999 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stan said...

Ach ja, you make poverty sound so idyllic!! Dessverre, de fleste ville gjerne ha bil, Tv, traktor, osv. Hva kan man gjoere? Vanskelig!

Fortsett aa skrive.

dod

Thor said...

Would not call it poverty by any standard...

paul said...

the last time i heard this cacophony of birdcalls was in the deepest jungles of new guinea. great places like this need people to stand up for them

Bummi said...

The Hungarians might disagree with you; wanting a higher standard of living than they have nowadays, and especially expecting in the future. With low incomes, eating and drinking in a restaurant and bar might be as expensive as for people in Norway, wages compared to costs. Anyway, enjoy your time down there, drink some glasses of reasonable, good, dry, red Tokay wine.

But read this, about how Hungarians feel about their economy: http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/uriks/article3849382.ece

Thor said...

Yeah, the Hungarians and points east have more than their share of environmental disasters. They tend to come from desiring something they are not ready for. If they are unhappy with their lot it comes from comparison with the obscene life styles in the so-called "rich" countries. It wont last in the west either, the trick would have been not to ruin your surroundings before reality catches up with you. We will all be in the shit soon enough, since we are not able to cooperate for the reversion to a better world.