Got up early this morning for the 7.30am bus to Ruse. (The only other bus of the day is at 2 or 4pm, which doesn’t make sense, since the ride takes at least 5 hours.) Since Peter didn’t feel like driving, I dragged my luggage to swiftly arrive at the bus station. Quite some people were already waiting. The bus turned out to be half missing – it wasn’t a proper big bus; it was a down-right tiny mini-bus. The driver didn’t speak English, didn’t care to communicate, and was basically rude enough. He just kept telling me to go away, maybe take a bus to Varna and then change to Ruse. I tried to talk to the two clerks at the office counters, but both women gestured me to go away – they didn’t speak English.
It isn’t about not being able to speak English. It’s about the willingness to communicate and help, a super power that they’ll never obtain.
I dragged everything back to Peter’s again. I already knew that I had two options: (a) go instead to Varna; (b) stay for another day; in either case, I’ll go for Veliko Tarnovo tomorrow. Peter checked the schedule and made some phone calls. Eventually I left again, this time just in time to catch the 8.30 bus to Varna.
The driver was again rude and tried to tell me that it isn’t allowed to EAT on the bus, something I never heard of in Bulgaria. I changed to another seat and ate without having him see me.
The bus station we arrived at was a smaller one. Varna has a bigger Central station, which is 5 minutes walk away. I went there and found out where to buy the ticket to Veliko Tarnovo: it’s at the Eurolines counter. After the lady wrote the ticket, I found out I was two levas short, so I told her I’ll come back after changing some money. Paying Euro is another option, but the rate she offered was 1:19; I told her the regular these days is 1:19.5. She told me it’s impossible, and since I was to turn to leave, she told me to put 5 levas as a deposit, which I duly did. But when she realized I was going in town to change, she was afraid I would not return (exactly, why would I do that?), and accepted the exchange rate I offered and gave me the changes in levas.
City center is two bus stops away. I chose to head for the closest by hostel. This “Flag Hostel” has a sign that says “last floor”; I think it should’ve been “top floor.” After all this is run by some British people I think. A dorm room has four beds, and there were already two Finnish people there, one of them pretty jolly.
I went to a pasta/ pizza restaurant recommended by a hostel employee and had an 800-gram “Varna style mussels with rice,” which came in big portion and was reasonably satisfactory. That was the only happy moment of this day.
My mood was ok, no longer as irritated and angered as in the early morning, but frankly everything in this city is pretty much dismissible. Roman ruins? The biggest in Bulgaria? Seriously, who cares.
After dutifully seeing everything (I thought, even taking photos of the beach with all the crowds on it), I settled down in Ginger Café, recommended again by the same hostel employee.
I made some calls, scolded someone, made a bunch of reservation, came up with a draft itinerary for Colombia and Ecuador, and then realized after three or four hours that I lost my camera.
I think either I left it at the men’s room, or someone snatched it when I got up to go to the counter to ask the staff turn down the music volume.
Stupid enough of me.
I didn’t feel anything as I walked on the street. In a way it’s a relief not having to record various meaningless tiny things with a camera, right?
I was calm enough and managed to find a big electronic shop. No, there’s no Sony HX9V – I didn’t remember the exact model name and only found it out by searching my own blog –, and yet the only one they have, Sony HX90V (well, here it’s marked HX90B) costs roughly 16000TWD, the price including the second battery and a charger, which I don’t need. Nothing else is included.
There can be a 115 BGN tax refund, but it can only be obtained by obtaining a customs stamp and can only be used in this shop. Ricidulous.
I turned to walk back to the hostel.
My head wasn’t exactly blank. I knew I still have things to plan, although I didn’t exactly feel like it, especially when the idiotic Finnish guy was rummaging a small guitar, playing some repulsively annoying commercial tune.
I eventually settled to search more on the internet and posted my itinerary question online.
Oh, there’s a note in the hostel’s common room: they recommend a number of hostels in other cities including Bulgrian ones and Bucharest, and one can get a 10% discount when going to these hostels. But as for Sofia, they “don’t recommend any hostels in Sofia, since Sofia is the most polluted and dirty city in Bulgaria.” Regional bigotry?
8/16記帳：1 Bulgarian Lev (BGN) = 18.99TWD; 1EUR = 1.96BGN
Burgas – Varna：14
總計：24.89BGN+ 12EUR= 960TWD