Despite NWO's description of my last blog as "delusion," I decided to continue in the same vein. First I would like to quote from a favorite blog of mine, Dumneazu. The writer of the blog is an American who has spent the greater part of the last twenty years in Hungary. He writes delightful descriptions of food and musicology and illustrates his blog with marvelous photos. He was the one who first discovered my blog more than two years ago and spread the word among expats in Budapest. He writes not only about Hungarian food but also about food in the whole region. I warmly suggest the site. You will enjoy it.
Well, anyway Dumneazu's last blog was about Nyíregyháza, the county seat of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County, near the Ukrainian border. The title of the blog is "The Wonders of Fabled Nyíregyháza!" Let me quote the first paragraph.
"Nyíregyháza! Who has not heard that name and dreamed of one day seeing this fabled city with one's own eyes while alive on this earth? Nyíregyháza! Oh flat city of wonders, of glorious Tescos and Spar markets spreading riches to the Ukrainian border, the ennobled capital of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county! Nyíregyháza! A city whose name resonates deeply among lovers of apple pie! Nyíregyháza! Nyíregyháza! Nyíregyháza! The last time I was in Nyíregyháza was around 1991, and I remembered a dusty, flat provincial burg that was famous for … apples. Yes, the eastern region of the Nyírség–"the birches" in Hungarian–is the apple producing center of Hungary, and a lovely place to drive through on your way to somewhere else. Last week we had a gig at the Vidor Festival and so it was with a smidgen of trepidation that we drove the band out to Nyíregyháza. And guess what? Nyíregyháza has grown into a really beautiful and smart town. On a scale of 1 to 10 for Hungarian provincial town attractiveness (with say, Pécs or Veszprém a 10 and Szolnok a 1) Nyíregyháza rates at least an 8."
And all this has happened since 1991. I bet most locals don't notice a thing because Hungarians are in the habit of not noticing good things. Only the bad.
Now let me turn to Christian Oliver, a journalist with The Financial Times, with news from Seoul, South Korea. He reports that South Korea's Hankook Tire is bucking the trend of job cuts and plans to double its European output over the next two years. It was announced a couple of days ago that Hankook is investing an additional €230 million ($335 million) in Hungary. They will be putting out 10 million tires a year. This expansion will create an additional 700 jobs in Dunaújváros.
And finally, a bit of older news as reported by The Wall Street Journal. Renowned filmmaker George Lucas, who was planning to shoot a new "Star Wars" TV series in the Czech Republic, changed his mind. It turns out that a few years ago the Czech Republic was "a low-cost, high quality Central European film production haven." But now Hungary is offering "superior tax incentives along with workers of comparable quality." I assume that the completion of the Korda Studio at Etyek also adds to the attractiveness of the location. It was in 2004 that the local incentive plan was launched. At that time foreign film producers spent only $21 million in Hungary. By 2005 Hungary caught up with the Czech Republic: the figure quadrupled to $85 million. In 2007 Home Box Office (HBO), a unit of Time Warner, chose to film the Tom Hanks-produced TV miniseries "John Adams" in Hungary. Last year filmmakers spent about $250 million in Hungary. Recently the Hungarian government upped the ante: under new rules the government will reimburse filmmakers for 25% of postproduction expenses incurred outside of Hungary. So the costs of postproduction work carried out in London or Los Angeles on a film originally shot in Hungary can be partially offset. This incentive program has helped to lure such productions to the country as Miramax's "The Debt" with Helen Mirren, Universal's "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" and Atlas Entertainment's "Season of the Witch" with Nicolas Cage.
So cheer up everybody!