- Living spaces are small. Appliances are small. Personal space is small. Europe is small. You can get to Vienna from here, by bus, in well under a day. If the cafe is out of tables, someone will ask to share yours. (At least my experience is they will ask; in the german airport they just sit down in your empty chairs.)
- Showers are not in a separate space, but are in the middle of the bathroom and the drain in the middle of the floor. I have never seen a bath tub. The toilet may also be in this room, or it may be in a separate room. (I much prefer the latter, so I don't have to figure out how to shower without getting the toilet paper wet.)
- If you use a public restroom, there is the possibility that you will need to pay and/or squat.
- When you visit someone, you will sit at the table and you will be offered food as well as drink. You should accept, because if you don't they will just assume they haven't found the right thing to offer you yet.
- You will probably spend the evening drinking, discussing politics and swapping jokes. You will be asked for American jokes; I suggest you do some research because you won't remember any on the spot.
- If you ask, there's a good chance that any cafe or restaurant will have a menu in English and the server may very well speak some English.
- The waiter or waitress, however, will probably be intimidating. Its less scary to go in to a small store than to try and order coffee at a cafe. They also expect to be largely ignored by the customer, and if you ask their name or initiate any conversation it will be a surprise. For some it is a pleasant surprise.
- Regular coffee here means espresso. They will probably have nescafe and might have cappuccino. They will not have drip coffee. I don't know that they even know what a latte is.
- Pizza will probably have corn on it. And maybe an egg.
- Bulgarians are still pissed off about the time they spent under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, which they call the Ottoman Yoke, and they build monuments to the revolutionaries and soldiers that helped free them.
- This is because it lasted 500 years - this is more than twice as long as our country has existed.
- They do not consider themselves in any way, shape or form, Turkish or related to the Turks. And muslims are very much a minority. 500 years or no.
- Many gypsys live in Bulgaria and always have. They are not considered romantic or exotic, and though their music has had significant influence many Bulgarians still have mixed feelings about it.
- This is very much a cash economy. Most stores don't have cash registers. The person in charge of taking the money simply has a purse or wallet from which they make change and where they keep the money.
- I can not figure out if we pay tax on anything other than electronics, and it seems to be factored in to the price advertised. Maybe. I'm still a little confused on this issue.
- Family is huge and sprawling. Your parent's cousin is your uncle, and your cousin's child your nephew. There is a term to define the relationship between you and your child's mother-in-law. It is very common to call someone by their title (wife, brother) when addressing them or talking about them. I wonder if this is because names are recycled so much within families.
- There are parks absolutely everywhere and the children run free in them until 10 or 11 at night. Most restaurants have a play area for the children, and it is expected they will be running and playing. After age 5 or so, parents only expect them to check in every half hour or so and older children much less often than that. However, any older person feels free to correct a child that is not behaving properly.
- The soil is amazingly rich. Flowers, vegetables and grape vines are grown all around the base of apartment buildings.
- Stray dogs and cats roam the city and are routinely fed at restaurants. They are immunized, spayed/neutered and released by the city unless they become aggressive. They are not aggressive and I have not seen any animal waste in a public space. Pet dogs are kept on leashes at all times.
September 30, 2009
Items of Interest, at least to me
Things about Rousse, Bulgaria that will probably surprise or interest you: