The Blue-Line Gypsies

“The Blue Line Gypsies” As told by Parker Hansen

I hope this topic hasn’t been discussed…


This story follows three American tourists and two Hungarians on the above ground metro in Budapest, Hungary in 2010. It’s two cousins Alex & Peter and myself. The three of us had been traveling together for about a month through Central and Eastern Europe. We made it to Budapest where we met our friends whom we had been working with in the states that past summer, Robert and Beata, both Hungarian.


We had been drinking, most of that month, and around 10pm we made our way to a club on the Blue-line, which makes its way through Budapest from North to South. As we laughed together on the train, yelling in English and pretty much causing a scene, it was our friend Beata that starting yelling in a different direction from the group. In Hungarian, she was yelling to a young girl sitting down behind her. The young girl was probably fourteen years old, of Middle-Eastern descent, looked a little scrappy and very shocked. Her eyes were wide open, staring at Beata, clueless. After Beata yelled a few more phrases in Hungarian, pointing her finger at the girl, she turned to us and yelled in English, “She has my phone”. We went into rescue mode. As we starting questioning the girl (in English) for ourselves, Robert was busy eyeing a young boy who was standing near us, but on the other side of our group. He had a big puffy jacket covered in dirt, probably twelve, Middle-Eastern, scrappy. Robert had lived in Budapest a while, he knew the tricksters that rode the different metro-lines. The kids that came out at night whose mouths watered when a bunch of sloppy English-speaking tourists stumble on their train. Robert is yelling at this kid in Hungarian, pointing at him right in his face. Beata is pointing at the girl sitting down while exchanging words with Robert in Hungarian. They are both looking at their prospected culprit. The three of us are lost.


Next thing I know, Robert and Alex have the kid in the puffy jacket by his arms, telling me to frisk him. As politely as I could, I aggressively frisked this twelve year old who we assumed had stolen Beata’s phone. Sure enough, he had it! We were pumped. Success. As quickly as we retrieved the phone, Robert was motioning us to the door so we could get off at the next stop. A third person came into view at a complete opposite side of our group. He was maybe fifteen, Middle-Eastern, and not impressed with the scene we’ve caused. The girl stood up and walked in his direction. Our stop was coming soon. The kid in the puffy jacket walked towards the other two. The oldest of the three quickly put his hands in his pocket. The doors opened. We ran. The five of us ran until we found ourselves in a larger crowd where we caught our breath. “Well atleast we got your phone back Beata”, Alex said. Her only reply, “My wallets gone”.


It was like a magic trick. These three kids made us look like fools. We look one way, while the real action was right under our nose. Robert told us that most of these kids carried knives. In some strange way I had a lot of respect for those kids. Needless to say, we caught a cab home.