Budapest wasn’t part of the plan, but things happened. Things, in this case, being wisdom teeth that have been troubling Sadie for some months now.
Here in England, lots of people are looking for reasons to be angry with foreigners. One of the currently popular trends is to yell “health tourism” and pretend that all the world’s sick come here for free treatment.
“It’s more complicated than that…” is already too long to fit into a newspaper headline. For Sadie, the complication is that all public services have been told to cut back as part of the politics of austerity, and NHS dentistry was only ever a bare minimum service. “Wisdom teeth hurt? Here’s an antibiotic to deal with any infections you might have. You need three infections in rapid succession to get a single tooth out, and we’re never going to remove that un-erupted because it’s also impacted.”
Removing wisdom teeth privately, in the UK, costs about £1,000, which she doesn’t have. But that doesn’t stop a third culture kid! She looked around and organised her own health tourism. There’s a clinic in Budapest, Hungry, which charges a tenth that, so even with flights for both of us and a week in an Airbnb and all the food and tram tickets and petrol to the airport etc. it was still cheaper than a single tooth privately in the UK.
And we got to look around Budapest.
Unfortunately for Sadie, who is the biggest traveller I’ve ever met, the drain on her system from having four teeth surgically removed meant I did twice as much travelling as she did…