The Internet and e-mail are quickly shrinking the world

If you think the Internet hasn't made the world smaller, I'm now in Budapest, Hungary typing this column. I am using computer number 13 in the basement of the AMI Internet Kavezo at 1056 Vaci u. 40, on a beautiful Saturday morning. It is just one of a large number of cybercafes in this beautiful city. Here one of the people spoke English and is available to help me should I have problems.

The computer is a foreign make with Windows 98 and an English keyboard. It will cost me 900 Forint, or approximately three US dollars, for an hour including Internet hookup. There are 38 computer stations here, a few with Engish keyboards and the rest with scatterings of other languages. The Hungarian keyboard just has more letters and in different places

This is almost completely an Internet vacation. We are with our daughter Margaret and her husband Mickey. We are staying in a lovely, two bedroom appartment at 17 Sip u, which Margaret arranged, sight unseen, over the Internet. She used, the popular search engine, and looked up "accomodations Budapest." One of the sites she found was that of Thomas Lantos who she emailed at He met us at the Budapest airport and transported us to the downtown apartment. It is in an older building but completely renovated, clean and close to everything.

Yesterday we visited the Ukraine with a guide, driver and in an air conditioned Plymouth van. Margaret found the guide on the Internet at They guide a few foreigners but mostly do genealogical research, looking up families in the old Hungarian Empire. Our guide was a very attractive young woman, Anita Monori, who is a graduate of the University in Budapest with a Masters degree in History. She can be reached at We visited some of my wife's ancestral villages and cemeteries and had a wonderful time. While there we stayed overnight in a large town and had a wonderful meal for six which cost us a total of 13 US dollars. Next day we did some shopping and Anita bought me a bottle of Ukrainian beer, the label of which I could not read, but at the bottom there was the email address: You think the Internet world isn't smaller!

We will be in Budapest until Monday, May 22nd, when we will board the train for Prague. A friend will meet us at the train station. This is the result of email correspondence. I will look for cybercafes in Prague.

Before leaving Tustin, I set up a Hotmail email account. This will allow people to reach us at More importantly, for us nerds, it allows us to read our email addressed to our regular home email account. I did this by entering our Netcom email server addresses in the Hotmail program. Then I check the "POP" email from Hotmail. This is a great arrangement for traveling so we can get all the advertising email that otherwise we would be missing. Just kidding.

By the way, Budapest and Prague are large, modern cities. We would expect to find a number of cybercafes. Unexpectedly, in the Ukrainian town in which we stayed, there was one cybercafe with one computer. It was busy so we didn't get to use it. Again it just shows how small the world is becoming.

The one thing we didn't set up over the Internet was our flight. We could have because KLM has a complete web site. We used a travel agent, but checked the cost on the KLM site. Another use of the Internet.

Today and Sunday we will continue to explore Budapest. The day we arrived we took a one hour cruise on a small tourist boat on the Danube so we could see the sights from this famous river. Quite spectacular. Today, however, we will walk the city.

So don't forget that the Internet can be used for more than just browsing. You can use it to visit the world first hand instead of just on your computer screen.

Remember, keep the neurons happy, the synapses snapping and enjoy computing.

 _____________________________________________________________________________ Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at:

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