Hospitality, Provocateurs, Roses
“What, you’re alone?” Throughout my Bulgarian trip, an astounded shaking of the head was the usual response to the sudden apparition of a foreigner traveling about the country on buses and trains without companions or even an interpreter. The immediate reaction of the people I spoke to was always one of palpable mistrust. Their logic told them that anyone who had permission to wander so freely through the country must be a Communist.
Quite apart from politics, Bulgaria is not exactly the ideal country for tourists, despite the pains it is currently taking to become one. In my room in Sofia’s best hotel, the “Bulgaria,” the washstand had long since separated from the wall without inspiring anyone to fasten it on again, and it hung in the air looking sickly and ready to fall. The faucet would first refuse to yield a drop, and then erupt in a mighty explosion a moment later. You may not entrust any paper to Bulgarian toilets; an evilsmelling wastebasket stands ready for this purpose. Clearly, plumbing has not kept step with the advance of socialism.
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