Tales of a Teenage Spy - The Life and Times of Gábor Rimner
Dear Readers and fans of Gábor Rimner's merry tale of mayhem,
Apologies, Chapter 37 is in the making, but I've been too busy with other stuff, so please excuse the hiatus.
Just to say it will involve the iconic - if that is not too hackneyed an adjective - hotel pictured here, the Hotel Budapest, located on Szilágyi Erzsébet fasor, about 700 metres from Moszkva tér.
This hostelry was, in the mid-70s, one of the most prestigious in Budapest, so prestigious, in fact, that it had its very own bugged rooms, replete with BM bugging officer and bugging control office on floor 8.
It was also the kind of hotel where a boring, plain, 55-year old man could walk into the bar and suddenly feel he was (once again) a dashing Adonis in his mid-twenties. The cause of such uplift would inevitably be an astonishingly attractive Magyar female who would strike up conversation with him and within ten minutes of in-depth chat assure him he was one of the most fascinating men she'd ever met. (Well, he always knew that in himself, of course, but it was nice of her to say so.)
This was, of course, something of an exaggeration on the part of the lady - I'll leave you to fathom the deep psychological reasoning behind all this, or I might give too much away.
Just in case you need to know, the photo here was taken last week, en route to sharing a beer with Zsofi and Alex. The hotel today has changed ownership at least once and been 'cleaned up' in more ways than one. I'm pretty sure no Interior Ministry employee has his office on the eighth floor any more, for example.
I think it's temporarily closed as a result of the tourist drought, although it's website promises guests a "secret" 10% discount.
I'll try to let you in on some more of the hotel's more historical secrets by Wednesday, workload permitting.