The Banana Story

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Source_Vajda/02: The Banana Story

Excerpts from oral history interviews made in Komárom (Hungary) in 2008:
Zoltán Oláh (born in 1966) (025):

,,The problem was that in the 1970s and 1980s, [Czecho-]Slovak custom officers didn’t want to allow bringing over some kilos of bananas from Czecho-Slovakia to Hungary. You bought some kilos of banana there, and you had to either eat it right on the [Czecho-] Slovak side, or you were not allowed to bring it over.”

Erzsébet Farkas (born in 1944) (016B):

,,In Czecho-Slovakia the bananas were cheaper, and by us [in Hungary] we couldn’t buy any. We had to stand in a queue for bananas. And who went over to Czecho-Slovakia for bananas, was sent back. If someone said that, ‘Well, I already paid for it, and I am not a fool to leave it there’, usually had to eat the bananas sitting there right on the premises. (She laughs.)”

László Argai (born in 1929) (014):

,,One couldn’t bring over what he wanted to [...] So, banana, only two or nothing [...] They told us that we had to buy tropical fruits for hard currency, for Dollars. There was a…, I would call him a mate, I don’t know, Liszi, you know him (some inaudible words), the border guards didn’t allow him to bring over the banana from Czecho-Slovakia [to Hungary]. And then, so (he laughs) he said himself ‘I will bring it through’. He took the banana, sat down, and ate I don’t know how many kilos of banana. He ate it all, and then he was taken to a hospital for stomach-ake. (He laughs).”

Rita Fogas (born in 1990) (022):

,,The border guards said that fruits had to be thrown out. Why couldn’t people bring over two kilos of bananas? For me it has always been a natural thing that I went to a shop and could buy a kilo of banana if I wished to buy some.”

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