misLEADING ADVICE No 9

by Hristo Kyosev; illustration by Gergana Shkodrova

For first-time visitors to Bulgaria*

misleading advice 9.jpg

Lawn and Order

Bulgarians are extremely disciplined people. For example, in a public park, they will never sit on the bench specially designated for foreigners’ use. These benches are marked by the “Пази боята” sign.

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D.I.Y.

Following a large number of complaints by foreign holiday makers about the noise of large scale construction in Bulgarian resorts, some Bulgarian tour operators have introduced a new service: Build Your Own Hotel. The guests are provided with the necessary supply of bricks, mortar, concrete and the necessary tools to assist in the construction. So far, the initiative has proved a huge success; the number of complaints is now significantly lower and the holiday makers are happy with the reduction in the cost of their holiday. For details, please contact the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works.

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Parking Rules

Pedestrian crossings in Bulgaria, particularly those on busy road junctions, serve as free parking for cars as well as taxi ranks. Their use by pedestrians is strictly forbidden. If you see someone attempting to take advantage of a zebra crossing - thus obstructing a car parked on it - immediately alert the nearest policeman.

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Jet Lag

If you have just arrived with your family in Bulgaria after midnight and no one feels like going to bed, fight your jet lag by collectively flicking through the cable TV channels. You will be surprised by the number of educational and cultural programmes you find there.

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Celebrations

Bulgarians love to dress up in traditional attire for large public holidays. Do not remain on the sidelines. Instead, on the national holidays of 6 and 22 September put on a red fez, tuck a scimitar into your belt and enjoy the mass celebrations on Presidency Square in Sofia.

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MPs

Politicians are always in the spotlight and ordinary Bulgarians feel a deep respect for their devout and self-sacrificing work. A sure-fire way to start a conversation with a Bulgarian is: "You must be very excited about your MP’s work, aren't you?"

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Tourist Guides

For some extraordinary reason, most of the guidebooks on Bulgaria neglect to mention the exciting towns of Gorna Oryahovitsa and Tаrgovishte. We recommend that you factor in a two-day break in your journey from Sofia to Varna to feast your eyes on inspiring architecture and immerse yourself deeply in the truly decadent lifestyle and stunning nightlife available in these towns.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers

In Bulgarian markets selling local agricultural produce, the degree of hotness of peppers is related to their size – the smallest peppers are the least pungent of all. If you are sold small peppers that are also hot, you are legally entitled to make the seller consume their entire stock without bread or have your purchase replaced with kiwi fruit from Petrich.

*Pleeease, exercise a modicum of common sense!

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