Hamburger Paprikash

Australians are a lot like Americans, right? That’s what I thought until I read about them trying to block the Golden Arches from going up in the town of Tecoma, a suburb of Melbourne. Recently, town residents brought their beef (Ha!) to McDonald’s headquarters in Chicago. Americans would never try to stop a McDonald’s from being built.

And this brought to mind my most shameful travel experience.

So, what could be so awful it haunts me to this day? Desecrating a holy site? Insulting the locals? Paying peasants to carry me around on their shoulders? No. I ate at the Budapest McDonald’s.

Yes, there we were on a once in a lifetime trip to one of the world’s greatest cities, and like the stereotypical American tourists, we go to Mickey D’s.

Granted, we were in a huge hurry and very hungry (no pun intended) — and if we didn’t eat fast we’d miss our scenic boat tour on the Danube. You want to miss that?!

But if only we’d been a bit more patient we could probably have found a loaf of bread and some cheese, and maybe a sausage — then we’d imagine that we were eating like locals and not like the Amerikai. And we’d have a wonderful story to tell about our amazingly authentic experience.

Instead, we gulped down our food and did what every American does overseas when feeling uncomfortable: we pretended to be Canadians.

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