By Gia Gulino and Madison Krystyniak |

Air conditioning is a luxury in Budapest, so when we found out our air conditioner would cost upwards of $150 for the month, we knew we had to find an alternative.  

After a full day of the program orientation, a city tour of Budapest and class, we had the evening to ourselves. We walked back to our hot and damp apartment, took two steps in and immediately turned around to go buy a couple of fans. 

Across from our apartments is a one-euro store (equivalent to a Dollar General), but it closed as soon as we opened the door. Next, we went where our tour guide mentioned, a local grocery store called Drogerie Markt, or dm. dm had no fans, but we decided to pick up some toiletries and laundry detergent for the apartment. We headed back to drop everything off and start from scratch.  

Two stops away on the trolley bus was a Tesco, we checked online and it looked like a huge store similar to Walmart. We head out and found it to be the small fruits and veggies market version. We were going to try and use the metro, the European subway, but I had forgotten my transportation pass. Gia pulled out her phone and opened a map to find an Aldi half a mile away. 

While walking there, we could not figure out how to cross the street without going all the way around block. After fifteen minutes of walking to get to the other side, we saw someone going down a flight of stairs and realized you had to go under the metro to get across the street. We finally arrived at Aldi and looked everywhere in the store, up and down the shelves on every aisle: Aldi had no fans.   

We decided to text a friend from Budapest we met at Baylor. Very small world. He said to look for a “hypermarket,” basically the equivalent of an American Sam’s Club. After a quick search on Google maps, we found one nine stops away, with a bus change and a mile walk from the bus stop.  

My phone died so it was up to Gia to be our navigator. Desperation set in and our determination remained unwavering. All we could think about was the sweet relief two fans would bring to our hot and humid apartment, which we had lovingly referred to as Satan’s lair. 

Gia and I rode the bus for the nine stops and made the switch to the other trolley bus. We hopped off at our final stop and prepared to walk a mile to the Tesco, which turned out to be in the holy mecca of malls. We walked through the mall, and on the complete other side of the entrance finally saw the sign for Tesco.  

We found the electronics section of the massive Tesco and there they were: fans- in all their glory. After some price comparison, we decided on two 12” oscillating fans. Each fan was 4,000 Hungarian Forints, equaling around $15. Without hesitation, we walked to the checkout and bought the long sought-after fans.  

With our fans in hand, we trekked back to the bus stop and finally arrived home. After what felt like a 500-mile journey (in reality, our Apple watches said 15 miles), we walked in our door and assembled the fans. We sighed breaths of relief once that sweet, sweet air filled the room. Needless to say, we will never again take our American air conditioning for granted.