Turkey & Bulgaria

May 23rd - June 6th, 2003



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May 26th

Monday Christina and Matt were supposed to have a meeting with a group of orphanage directors--8 from the area--and this is why were came to Blagoevgrad when we did. But as Christina says with typical Bulgaria lack of worry about when things happen, the lawyer and translator hadn't actually arranged the meeting. They thought maybe it could happen on Wednesday, instead, but that's when Matt and Inger are flying back to Istanbul on their way to Saskatoon. So that's not happening. Much frustration.

Had a lovely breakfast. I'm not fond of bacon, but the bacon here is so lovely and the bread fresh. Wonderful. The sky is gray, but the mountains surround the town and there's so much green and everyone has gardens--grapes and plums and potatoes and chickens. Apparently there are pigs,too, but I haven't seen them yet. People here have always done this gardening/husbandry, but now with more intensity, as it was only about five years that there were food shortages. Hard to remember that the communist regime here only fell in 1990. Less time than I've had my job at the University of Washington. Things are still changing, only very slowly, and the mindset and the poverty are hard to rise out of.

View from windowThe view out Christina and Matt's window kitchen. You see these red roofs all over Bulgaria.


We walked to the square outside of the university--a large, nicely arranged, contemporary-feeling space, through narrow old streets lined with trees. The town is quite attractive, though mixed with ugly parts--a mix of loveliness and utilitarian grot. We went to a lovely restaurant for lunch, Inger's treat, sitting outside in the sun, great salad and bland pork (Christina says food in Bulgaria is kind of a mixed thing). Walked through the treed and busy pedestrian streets back to the university and went inside to see Christina's office space and her lovely chair (I thought I would never move, except I had the chance to check my email, such an addict but there was nothing of much import in there). Matt had a paper to turn in, and so we made our way back to the apartment. I was very sleepy. Christina wanted to take the dogs up the hill but I was having an attack of too much lunch, too little exercise recently, too much cold in the head, and jet lag, and so had a very quiet afternoon. I dozed, and felt very unadventurous, sadly. Am in a strange country for the first time and want to nurse my cold and jetlag. I've really changed, but this is a loverly and quiet, restful place.

When Matt got home I was rude about Branagh's Love's Labours Lost so we didn't watch that, and then was rude about Mel Gibson's Hamlet though that wasn't really on offer. We watched Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet which was really quite wonderful, even Leonardo di Caprio. A very interesting production.

Ordered in Chinese food for dinner, which was very odd. Not hot or sour soup though it was named that, and the prawns we ordered arrived as chicken livers instead (ugh--deep fried--I did try a bit but it was horrible so fed the rest of it to Cas--so nice to have a hoover-dog). It also took forever to arrive. About an hour and a half. Watching Harry Potter and I couldn't stay awake any longer.

Now it's morning again and I'm waiting for more wonderful bacon and fresh bread (so are the dogs). It looked like it was going to clear up, but maybe not now. The birds were very loudly singing.

Bulgaria - 03.05.25 § Les Semaines Index § Bulgaria - 03.05.27

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