Michael Sighting in Budapest
On 22 July around noon I received a call that Michael had landed in Budapest. Should I stay or should I go?
First, I thought to stay because it was said Michael would only depart again the next day at noon. At 5 pm we reached one of Michael’s guys, who said Michael would stay until the morning of 24 July. That meant one whole day!! Totally worth it. So, GOOO!!!
Given the time of day I could not take a train anymore, so I called the airport and got myself a ticket. Just enough time to throw some stuff into a bag and go to the airport. At 7:15 pm I was in the plane; at 10 pm I was at the Corvinius Kempinski Hotel in Budapest. :-)))) What a feeling! I swear. I did not see Michael that evening (he had just turned in for the night) but what a feeling to be breathing the same air as he was again. Finally... After all 2 months had passed since I last saw him!
About an hour later my friends arrived. Michael’s aide came out of the hotel looking for us and then greeted us with the words “I have VIP passes for you” which we received from him the next day at around 9 am saying “You did not get them from me!”
At 10:30 Michael went to the Place of Heroes. We dashed after him in a taxi and after arrival we were engulfed by millions of people. It was quite crazy - as always. We had two children’s books with us for Michael (yes, again) but neither Wayne nor Yannick would take them but just say “Later”. Then we overheard Wayne say “No, he won’t come out here. It’s not possible. I won’t let him out here”.
While it was discussed whether he could get out of the van or not, Michael had discovered the baby books (well, yeah, we sort of pressed them against the window of his van, so they were hard to miss...). Wayne was getting back into the car and through the open door we heard Michael shout “Wayne! I wanna have those books!” Instead of driving off right away, Wayne had to get out again, make his way over to us and get those books “Well, gimme the books now”, he said not looking particularly happy…. LOL (not that Wayne looked happy often...)
We then proceeded to the stadium. A security guy came screaming towards us, but after we showed him our passes he got very friendly and even showed us the way. He ended up showing us to the "backstage" not inside the press section, not inside the section where fans were waiting, no we were in the "Michael Zone". OMG!
Some children were picked from the crowd for the press conference (or rather photo shoot) with Michael. We were excited to be on THIS side of the fence and not THAT side, but also feared what would happen if Wayne or Yan would see us. We decided to sit down and watch rather indifferently.
Yannick came out to check the situation. Then he saw us in the “Michael Zone” walked briskly over to us and said “What are you doing here?” Not waiting for an answer he continued “You stay here. You do not move” and disappeared. So far so good. He did not kick us out at least.
A few minutes later, Michael appeared. We got up but did not move. No way we would have moved. He walked from top of the stadium down to where a small stage had been set up. When walking down (with all the children in tow) he walked right past us and pretty much brushed our arms with his. Apart from nearly having a heart attack (yeah, you just never get used to his presence, especially SO CLOSE), I think at the time Michael was actually passing by, I even held my breath as not to disturb him or annoy Yannick. Michael stayed for about 15 minutes. I think some people said something, I am positive Michael did not say anything. Just pose for pictures with the kids.
After this was done, Michael went to the gates of the stadium signing autographs and shaking hands. We were allowed to walk with him, even though with the one or the other meter between us. When he was signing at the gates we actually stayed back. It was not for us to be there. We awaited him after he was finished heading back to the van. At that time, I was allowed to walk (almost run) with him and handed him the photo from our meeting in Monte Carlo and asked if he would be so kind to sign it. When he took it I could see pretty big blotches on his hand – the biggest blotch was right under his left ear I remember.
Back at the hotel at around 12:30 and we were so exhausted but no time to rest! Five minutes after arrival, the van drove away after again, but Michael's aide told us he was not in the car, but in the pedestrian zone. We ran over and got there in time to see him in an antique or painting shop, then he went to another and then to the CD shop.
In the CD shop he stayed for 45 min. He bought all kinds of CDs. Only one he returned. Elvis Presley. I thought that to be quite funny at that time (and still do). Michael laughed and had fun. He listened to music (that I did not particularly like) but given his head movements he was diggin it :-) Eddie (Cascio) asked him about some dance moves (it seemed) and he was relaxed enough to show him some dance steps.
Even though we had been around Michael quite a bit that day, we had the feeling, he had not really taken any notice of us. Especially at the stadium I would have hoped for some chattiness, but no. At some point in the CD Shop he started scanning the crowd and then looked at me, put a big smile on his face (melt melt melt), did a thumbs-up, and blew me a kiss. Just like that. Then he turned back to his CDs.
Later, shortly before leaving he spotted something in the crowd that made his face light up, his eyes sparkle and his lips smile a huge smile. I have never found out what it was. It was not a gift, because he did not get anything. He just grabbed a History poster, signed it and had it given out to the person that made his face shine so lovely.
Then, when Michael was ready to leave the shop he looked really tense. I thought that was strange. 10 seconds later I knew why. Wayne shouted “Ok let’s go” and Michael started running like a gazelle through the pedestrian zone to the van that was parked on the other side. Woooommmm off he went like a rocket!!! Like a serious sprinter in a race! We were all dumbstruck and tried after 3 seconds of shock to make our way after him! Funnily enough the van just drove him back to the hotel.
Finally, time for rest. I was so exhausted I fell asleep leaning against a lamp post in front of Michael's window. I woke up again after about an hour and was told that at about 5:30 pm Michael would go to Bethesda Hospital to meet Bela Farkas.
We decided to leave before him and try out our passes from the morning. It worked. They let us in without a word, even though I think the passes had only been good for the stadium. But I did not complain...
Michael arrived close to 6 and then came out with Bela, Bob Jones and some nurses for the photo op in the garden of the hospital. Bob Jones said a few words about Bela, about how they met and all, then he asked Michael to speak. Michael said “I thank you all for coming. I’m very happy to be here back again. Today we are here for the children. Not for me. This is the day of the children.” He then stayed for a few minutes and then passed us to go back into the building. He was smiling and was happy. Walking past he scanned the crowd again and looking at us he first did not recognize us, but then suddenly with an even bigger smile “Ohhhhh!!!! Hiiiiii!!!”.
He then stayed with Bela and the other children for about two hours and returned to the hotel at around 8/8:30 pm. Back at the hotel, Michael waved a couple of times and eventually threw a good night message out at around 10 pm.
On 24 July we were at the hotel at 5 am because we had been told Michael would depart at 6 am. We did not really believe it, but did not want to take any chances either. At five to six, one of Michael’s guys told us to move our butts over to the van, because “Michael wants to see you when he leaves. It’s not good if you are all the way over on the other side of the street.”
Michael did indeed leave the hotel ten minutes later. He got in the car looked at us, waved and said “I love you. See you soon!” and the van left. We followed to the airport, saw him board the plane, and the plane take off. We were a bit sad. But we knew he was right. We would see him soon - less than 2 months - in Prague for the start of the HIStory World Tour in Prague.