The next thing I noticed about Budapest (after the red trolleybuses) was how thoroughly Western brands have taken over the place. It's not just the fast food outlets and coffee shops that you find everywhere in the world. The supermarkets are called Tesco and Spar, the banks are German, the phone booths (rusty and red, like the trolleybuses) were decorated in the livery of German Telekom (of T mobile fame) and had their trademark pinky-purple receivers:
Add to that the German-built cars that block the roads (traffic is a bit of a nightmare on the main routes through the city, but amazingly, drivers very willingly stop to let pedestrians cross), and you'll come to the conclusion that the profits of virtually every economic activity that goes on around there (with the possible exception of haircuts) will be skimmed off by somebody in the west. Oh well.
Funny that after 18 years in the UK, finding the German logos in Hungary is just mildly amusing. It's the Tesco branches, ranging from "expressz" to "hipermarket" that really annoyed me. From our experience here we know that these spread like Japanese knotweed.