It’s Opposite Day

We’ve now arrived in Bulgaria, where we’re currently staying in the second large city, at a pleasant 300,000 people, Plovdiv. There’s a fantastic API Call Errorold city here, though not super old, as most of it was built up in the 19th century, during what’s referred to as the Bulgarian National Revival Period, which seems to come up quite often in the list of things to see here. There’s a API Call Errordistinct style of building from this period, where the second floor juts out past the first floor, and is supported by curved beams underneath, and then the outside is painted with what look like classical architecture features (columns and the like) except that they’re just painted on.

The title may be a bit misleading, as things are generally little different here from other parts of Europe. However, Bulgarians are backwards in one small, but very significant way. The way they use body language to signify yes and no is the opposite way of any other culture I’ve yet encountered. This doesn’t sound like much, but it’s almost impossible to reverse what your head does when you want to say yes or no, and it’s extremely confusing. When we first entered the country, we didn’t have much cash, so I was trying to change a traveller’s cheque at the border crossing. I showed it to the girl in the booth, and she nodded her head, so I was thinking, great, I can get some money…but when I gave it to her, she said “nei, nei.” Then, on my way back to the bus, with the 12lv I’d managed to get in exchange for what was left of our Turkish money clutched in my fingers, I was approached by a beggar girl, who was encouraged when I said no and shook my head…I had to get out of there and into the store quickly to avoid further problems.

Other things have been easier to adjust to. The Cyrillic alphabet, which was invented in Bulgaria, is very similar to the Greek alphabet, so we’re already familiar with most of the writing, though Cyrillic uses an H for the N sound (in Greek, H makes an I sound), and then a backwards N for the I sound. That’s the most confusing change, most other things (c in cyrillic is an s in roman or a sigma in greek) are a bit more instinctive.

It’s our second day here now, and we spent most of today just wandering API Call Erroraround town and sleeping…yesterday we had an early start which was compounded with a late night, as we got invited out to dinner with a large group of people, which went on for a bit while we took advantage of the cheap drinks…1.30 lv (about $1) for a half litre of beer, and other people were drinking even cheaper than that, as low as 0.60 lv for shot (looked closer to 2 oz., actually) of tequila. Food prices were also low – for huge portions – but not as extremely low as the drinks.

I don’t know what else to say. We’re heading into the mountains from here tomorrow, planning on staying in a town called Samokov, which we hope to use as a base for a bit of hiking.

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