Pécsi íróprogram

Múlt és jelen
A honlapon megjelenő szövegek és képek szerzői jogi védettség alatt állnak.
Pécsi Íróprogram ::

Mihkel Mutt pécsi naplója (angolul)

The Pecs’ Diary

Getting here wasn’t without troubels. At the Vienna airport didn’t find the transfer-desk and as there was relatively little time, got my blood-oressure up. It a nuisance flying short distances! Then I had made the reservation for the minibus Mistral. Nobody was waiting for me at the exit, but as I was prepared for that (having read the instructions) I started to wait patiently. The time passed, After one and a half hours, the maximum (set by the company itself) were over, I began to panic. Phoned to my host in Pecs not to expect me that early. As I switched off my phone the driver with a paper with my name on it was standing behind me. I rejoyed, but prematurely. We had to wait another forty minutes fo a lady from a flight from Canada.
The road to Pecs was good at the beginning, but in the half way became dangerously narrow.
Nice little flat at Felosmalom. Vey quiet. The only noises when the co-habitants come and go. And the workman mowing the lawn the other day. A bit dim for an artist, but OK for a scribend,

The same eveing…

First visit to the local food store. I opt for the international brands in the beginning – just in case.
Both Feng Shui and Scientologia centers represented in my neigbourhood, not to speak of the churches. so there’s a lot of “mental food” around

One of the first sights that caught eye in the Kiraly street was the Bank of Santander. They are one of the very few financial institutions who have fared well during this crisis. All thanks to their conservative practice.

3th, Friday
Lost my way for the first time while walking (there are a lot to follow!). There are many wide roads around the center which for a newcomer look a bit similar
The astonishing first impression: I veel very much at home. Pecs resembles the town I grew up in. Tartu is Estonia’s university town, a bit smaller than Pecs. It was been burned down and bombed many times since the 16. century, last during the II World War. But part of the old center escaped the destruction. The buildings there are mostly from the middle of 19 century, 2-3 storied, of classical style.

One recognizes immedately that Pecs is a university town. There are relatively many young people in the streets with relatively clever faces.

4th, Saturday.
Have settled in. Very cold. Great extremes of temperatures here. Only 7 degrees. Dropped in in “Apollo”. What sort of a place is this? Just a cinema, youth-pub or smth. more?
People in the street seem to mind their own musiness, non-aggressive. They don’t stare at you, neither make comments on the passsers-by. Saw a few beggars, but unobtrusive ones.

5th Sunday
You can recognize a theatre building from the first sight. (What a beautiful ensemble here indeed!).The same goes for a railway station. Was there. Impressive, like so many others from that era. A bit faded and tired however, fallen on hard times And the trains look very much down-at-heel. Don’t invite to step in, although I’m a great train fan.

As the weather warmed up, took a long walk to one of the suburbian areas. Think it was Budai Kertvaros Saw many small marvellous gardens taken well care of. And what wonderful views! Later heard, well-to-do people live there.

6th Monday
Walked to the cathedral. Magnifiscent.
Public transport seems to function well in Pecs. The city buses drive very energetically, with great purposefulness and intent (or call it just noisy?) Still, they look a bit old, could do with some “updating”

7th. Tuesday
My daily routine is very simple. I write with my laptop, in the meanwhile take longer and shorter strolls, usually four times a day, one of which takes me to the foodstore and the second to some modest place for a lunch. I listen to the BBC World servive and Estonian newsreel and read the papers over internet. In the evening I usually swich on the TV for CNN. I am writing my memoires or rather polishing the rough version. One should put one’s recollection down when the memory is still adequate. I hope to finish with my schooldays during my stay here.

Warm weather holds. Very much like in a southern country. The sun gets extremely bright and the air is heeted up by the afternoon.
I am a pub-crawler by “vocation” and of course have stepped in into many cozy little sörözö and boroso, with locals humming over their daily pint of Sopron. Beer is relatively very cheep here. And not bad at that

8th. Wednesday
Watched some homeless people. I’ve met relatively few of them here, to be sure. Compared them in my mind with their “colleagues” back in Tallinn. Among the latter I’ve seen some who are sorting rubbish in the garbage can with one hand, while talking into his celluphone with the other. Estonia is an IT country after all and the bums are a mixed lot!

Hadn’t met any drunk people here (I mean drunk “up to the jills”). Thought they didn’t exist. Then one evening saw a middleaged burly fellow in the beginning of the Maria utca standing in the middle street talking loudly to himself. Ha-haa, a thought crossed my mind. Nothing is as good as it seems to be But as I walked closer, I saw he was talking to his celluphone. Still, he was a bit tipsy ….

9th Thursday.
Reading the street names here makes me smile. Me as everyone in the former communist bloc had to study Russian. And in that language “utka” is a duck. So I read: Lyceum duck, Museum duck, Bela Bartok duck and so forth.
Unusual for me but very pleasant is the abundance of bakeries, Early in the morning the sweet smell of fresh whitebread reaches your nostrils from all directions
Very many people are munching rolls and other whitebread items. These seem to make up a considerable part of must people’s daily menu.
Very much appetizing meat in the food stores -- compared to relatively little vegetables, not to talk about fish (a landlocked country after all).

A real Indian summer! Mehes (my host who invited me here) took me around in his car. The new residential areas are the same everywhere, especially in the former Soviet bloc. I have spent myself 8 years in a house like one ofthese. (Have revisited the place recently. It looked somewhat nicer. The reason? The trees around the houses have grown and partly disguise the ugliness of the architecture)
There is little greenery here in the old town, no parks, no real boulevards. The reason for that is simple of course. The center is so old. People didn’t think about greenery in those remote days when the labyrinth of these streets came into beeing. One of the few green areas is in front of the cathedral. After several late-night strolls I made the “discovery”, that its one of the favourite hang-outs for local youth (the other beeing McDonald as everywhere) All the benches were occupied by young couples hugging each other or by companies, who had arranged two benches opposite each other and were chatting and having fun. Tender is the night…

11th, Saturday

There are dogs with their masters in the streets, but not too many. And I haven’t noticed special areas, were they could run loosely. There is some littering in the streets (I mean dogs droppings) but nothing like in Paris, of course. The dogs I have met have been mostly medium or small size. It is very practical in these narrow streets. The same applies for the size of the cars. (With human beeings it is somewhat different) These streets are very picturesque, but not build for that multitude of vehicles. The drivers are very polite here, but still I couldn’t help feeling harassed sometimes, when the car missed my ankle only by three inches

12th Sunday
Climbed the hills up to the TV tower. Hard work, overestimated my capacity. But it was worth it. It was very romantic indeed. If I had money I bought a house in this district. The town under me seemed to be wrapped in a of haze or mist, although the sun was shining. Then I realized, how fresh the air had become. There are relatively very many cars, some “arteries” that pass the center (Felsomalom!) are narrow and if there is no wind the air gets polluted especially in the afternoons.
But the distances between suburbs can be quite long here and one can’t climb the hillsides on foot every day like me.

14th Tuesday
Walked to the cemetry. Very different from our protestant cemetries, which look more like parks. The graves are much closer to another here, very much stone. Enormous area and quite far from the centre. How did people reach it in the old days?
Lost my direction on my way back.

17th, Friday.
It has turned cold suddenly and started to rain. Got my shoes wet in ten minutes. Can only imagine, what it would look like, if a really heavy rain came on – what brooks wvould flow down the slopy streets.
In the park most of the benches were empty tonight.

18th Saturday
The streets become eerie in the old town after eight a clock. No people, only a car now and then. I was a bit afraid in the first days, not any more. If I had been brooding along the streets during the night in my native Tallinn it wouldn’t have been that safe. There’s a lot of mugging and even beatings up in Tallinn

My favourite streets in Pecs are the Ferencesek utca and the Felsövamh.
The must friendly (human) road leading out of the centre is Harsfa, the most inhuman --- Siklosi

19th Sunday
What I have not seen at all are second-hand clothing shops – one of the trademarks of the new era in Estonia along with pawnbrokers and casinos. Where are your one-hand-robbers? And strip-bars? The center of Tallinn is dotted with them.
People here don’t seem to gamble, but they are loto-crazy

What I haven’t also seen, is a sportscourt. I found some on the map, but they are sufficently far not to venture there on foot. I am not much of an athlete myself but if one wants to make his or her pull-ups, it would be quite a problem in Pecs.
And I have met only 5-7 joggers during three weeks. It is little even for a postcommunist country. People don’t seem to care very much about their health. At the same time they smoke unusually much, starting very young. I know the life expectancy here is the same as in Estonia, that’s very low among men. People seem to be fatalistic, living one day at a time, not making longer projects.

20th Monday

What is a bit awksome for a visitor here is the language problem. Everybody knows how unique the Hungarian is. But for the development of tourism it is a handicap. I see the signs on the buildings “Müemlek” but what is written in a smaller characters I can only guess. But I really want to know, there’s so much history here But everything is monolinguistic, the people included The knowledge of foreign languages is honestly unsatifactory. Luckily I bought a pocket dictionary in Estonia, it has helped me to despihere the labels in the foodstore and prevent me from bying sourcream for my coffe. But generally I have had to make myself clear during these days mostly with hands. That is sad, because Pecs is really a lovely town and could attract by far more tourists. And how are you going to manage as the cultural capital of Europe in 2010? Its less than two years to go. Some urgent measures should be taken, it’s my very cordial advice.

21th, Tuesday
Walked up the Rakoszi road. Houses there are in a bit poorer shape. Saw some Roma people.Walked back.
One strange experience during all these days. I have been permanently overhauled by other people. From both sexes. Still I don’t think I walk exceptionally slowly. I think there’s smth. different involved here. People in Pecs seem to use there two legs only for getting form A to B. They walk steadfast, with practical purpose. (While I am a sort of flaneur.) It’s very understandable in the workdays, but what about the weekends? I honestly have seen relatively few people here (except parents with little children) who walk for pleasure, who enjoy it.

25th Saturday

Always I go to a new place, I am mostly interested in the local people. What kind of lives are they leading? What
are they thinking about? What are their priorities? What are they preoccupied with? And most importantly: are they relatively happy or relativley unhappy? Because although happyness through time and historiy is to a certain degree relative, this relativeness is by no means absolute. One can always state, for example, that an enslaved or occupied nation is less happy than a free nation. And if the death-toll of the babies is very high because of the poor medical care – do mothers really get used to it? Or to the dire reality that they themselves have been “circumcised” as girls? I can´t take it There is always hidden sadness in such people, they suffer, even if uncounciously. Down with Foucault who wants to make us believe, that those who were tortured physically on the rack in the 17. centruy were happier than we, who are scourged by the secretely repressive society of the “damn’t West”.

I’ve tried to study the expressions on the peoples’s faces here There seems to be a hefty gap between the old and the young. The latter laugh and smile a lot, their parents don’t. Of course it is very much the same everywhere, because the children simply do not know the life’s burden Still, it is relatively more striking here than in some other places I have visited in Europe. People are a bit gloomy here. It seems, the life is not easy to them

27th Tuesday
in the morning, going to the baker’s..
Surprises! And a pleasant one at that! Two workmen installing new streetsigns at the corner of Kiraly and Majorossy. Nice, copper plates --- “Early Christian cemetry” “Street of Museums”, crystal-clear! As if somebody had read my previous pages…
Still as the old Latins said, “una hirundo non facit ver”…

The life-style here seems to vary between north and south. One trend, that relates you to the Mediterranian (among others is the situation of the garden what is always behind the house in the courtyard) is the abundance of bars and shops. There is practically one after every hundred meters at least, sometimes even less. And they are very small. What is absolutely different from, say, the northern Europe. Think about the German huge Beer Halles that sometimes fit thousands of visitors. Here the intimacy is important. It seems, most bars have theirs permanent guests. The chat across the encounter with the barman is part of the evening.
One thing that is very sympathetic is that middle-age and even elderly people sit in these boroso’s and sörösö’s.
What would be the life worths, when one can’t even allow himself to go out and talk to his fellow human beeings? To talk about everything, gossip a little, make a bit fun and find solutions “to the ills of this society of ours.” That helps to get on with the everyday existence,
In Estonia unfortunately most bars and pubs are filled with young people. Everything is relatively expensive there and the young are the ones who have money nowadays.
The food and drink in the stores is relatively expensive compared to that in Estonia. But eating and drinking out is much cheaper
I enjoy those small bars with permanent clientel.There you can find a genuine family feeling. They help to ward off alienation. This small shops and bars make up something like an informal network of NGOs
But the hard times are coming, the recession will hit every country. In Tallinn the prediction is that by the next spring one third of the bars, restaurants etc will close down. Don’t know, how it will be here. During my evening strolls I have seen very many places almost emty. Sometimes there is one guy propped against the bar chatting to the bar girl. I cant help thinking that its her boyfriend. Business is really low these days.

29th Wednesday
By now I have tried practically all the cakes in the “Spar”. I know almost every backyard in the old town. Have glanced in most of the pubs.
My memoires up till the graduating from the university are ready. I have been working like a dog, or like a “Stahhanovets” I am satisfied with everything. It was a nice time. Pecs – I wish you well!