Friday, 11 April 2014

10th April, 2014. State of Flow.

On my flight to Budapest I was seated next to two Australian travellers, Stephanie and Mia, with whom conversation was inevitably animated. Smiling intelligence and wit with every story, we shared a taxi to the hostel and there decided to meet again. So we did at a cat cafe among playful felines who would crawl up to us to sniff our hot chocolates or play fetch with paper balls, while the girls, Eliza and I philosophised and entertained. I've only known them for a few hours but it feels like they are already close friends. We parted with such a brilliant vibe that I never even considered I wouldn't see these beautiful strangers again. Perhaps it's because I will.

Eliza and I took some time to sketch the opera house where she was attacked by a group of Hungarian children dressed in smart furs and charol slippers. They sat down in a circle and peered at her drawing until she could no longer see what she was meant to be doing. From my seat on a carved mahogany bench, I could see Eliza's head at the foot of a nearby pillar get engulfed by waves and waves of small oiled and done up hairdos. I'm sorry, I did nothing to help her out as I was too busy giggling.

At our hostel we found out Hungary is home to escape the room games. They are simple point and click computer games where you find yourself in a room and have to escape it by solving puzzles in your environment. The genius Hungarians have turned this simple computer game into a real escape the room. As a huge lover of puzzle games, Eliza and I convinced the three Brits to join us (with the free beer that came with the ticket).

Exit point, the locale with the escape game, is in the area of the ruin pubs. The ruin pubs are just as the name says, ruined mansions that have been turned into pubs, clubs and other "life of the night" venues. We sat in a waiting room as the game master explained a few rules and trivia to us. We are locked in a room and have 60 minutes to exit it. Observe our environment for clues that will hint how to unlock the door. Nothing needs brute force. Good luck!

A "state of flow" is what game designers describe as the moment when you feel alive. It is when you are being challenged by something you are unsure you are capable of completing and you succeed. As we solved puzzles, each of us contributing with our own skills, I was experiencing a storm of flow. We fit in the last puzzle piece and the door unlocked with a satisfactory click. One more day and Budapest is quickly becoming one of my favourite cities.

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