Back before 1989, if a Bulgarian was stupid enough to complain to a official of the Communism Party (There was no one else to complain to.), about anything and I mean anything, a person could be sent to prison. No, "ifs", "ands" or "buts", it could mean jail time, for sure. So after 45 years of communism, a persons mind would just look at any situation and say to themselves, thatís the way things are!!!!
Americans are always complaining. It is a way of life in America, for sure. So when a American comes to Bulgaria and sees different things that he or she thinks are stupid, the average Bulgarian canít figure out what it is that the American is complaining about. To the Bulgarian, everything looks normal.
For an example, why is there no wrapper on the bread in the food stores. As the flies walk all over the bread. The Bulgarian says to themselves - Thatís the way things are!!!
Another example, when a person goes to a local restaurant and needs to go to the toilet, often the toilet is only a tiled hole in the floor, or even if there is a seat, often a person is standing in a half inch of piss on the floor, the Bulgarian knows that it is prudent to go to the toilet before going to the restaurant. Because, thatís the way things are!!!!
Another example. Why do the Bulgarian bed sheets have a big hole in the center of the one sheet, of a double thick sheet and the blankets are stuffed inside. Makes for a lot of problems, when the weather gets hot, as now a person must take out the blanket and the sheet is then still too hot, to use under normal conditions, as it is still double thick. So a person canít use it!!! The Bulgarian says hatís the way things are!!!
I was not going to write anymore on this subject. But, I lied!!!!
The water system is in real trouble, Vratza has no business being here, the Communist decided that they wanted to build a Chemical Plant right here. It does not matter that there is no natural water at this location. So another stupid communist idea, is a reality. So now, that there has been the chemical plant for thirty years near the city, of Vratza and the city has grown to about 100,000 poor souls. Now the city is in hard times, as the chemical plant has laid off over half of its workers, as the communist are out of power, (All most.) and besides they had three times as many workers as they needed. That is how communism works, they have three people working for every one person, that is really needed, as labor costs are very low. As you can see, no one works very hard in the factories.
Back to the water deal, All the drinkable water comes from a place called Montana, about 25 miles away. The communist used very cheap water pipes and over half of the water that is sent to Vratza, from Montana never arrives. So right away, Just for this fact, Vratza is in trouble. Also Montana supplies another town of about 20,000 people, called Mezdra, about 10 miles from Vratza, and they have the same problem. But at lease Mezdra has a reason to be there, as they are right on the main railroad line, between Sofia, (The capital.) and the Black Sea resort city of Varna.
The city of Vratza is still using the same cheap water pipes, as 40 years ago, and so they are turning the water off almost every day, just to fix the pipes, this is in addition to the twice daily shut off that is normal. The water is off from 10 P.M. to 6 A.M. and again from 8 A.M. until 6 P.M., everyday and sometimes does not come on at all, until 8 or 9 P.M. . So everything has to be done, for water, in those few hours, when the water is here.
So what does the average Bulgarian do???? Nothing!! As!!
One of the most stupid things, I have ever seen in all of Bulgaria, is this view in a stairwell of my friend Borisís apartment building. As can be seen in the picture (Note Sasha.). Out the window is a thirty foot drop, and every time the cleaning lady cleans the stairs, she leaves the windows open. If you say anything to the cleaning lady, she just looks at you as if she donít understand a word you are saying. On all five floors, it is the same!!!. In the building where my friend Boris lives, that means, that there are 50 windows just like the one you can see in the picture. On the fifth floor, out the window is a 50 foot drop. There is no reason for this condition, except communism. Under communism, the people are nothing, everything is for the state, and donít you dare complain. Things are like this all over Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Romania, Hungary, Poland, etc..
But because the people have been beaten down, in their minds, and there is no money for anything, except food, cloths, etc., nothing gets done. The Mayor of Vratza is a communist, and so a person canít complain to the city, and even if a person did complain, the Mayor would think you were nuts.
Before, under Communism, all building were owned by the state, all apartment were assigned to a person by the state, where a person lived was controlled by the state. Now things are a little bit better, in that the people have control of their apartments, but not the buildings, as no one know who owns the buildings. There are no records, everything is gone.
The meat that a person buys for eating at home, that is sold in the government meat storeís, is not of good quality. A person gets the big blood vessels and lots of fat. Also lots of bone chips and even bone splinters. It is often that entering the meat store a person will see a fat woman with a meat cleaver, chopping away at a hunk of so called meat. Whack, whack, whack!!! I guess that Bulgaria has never heard of the meat saw. So a person must look over the meat very carefully and even then after cooking the meat and eating same, a person must be careful how you chew it, or chance swallowing a piece of bone chip. The bone splinters you donít swallow, but a person could cut the inside of the mouth, if not careful.
A person goes into the bank to get their money out of their bank account and it takes forever, waiting in line. A person must remember their passport and bank book. Some times the people donít smell very good and really look dirty. There is not any personal checks in all of Bulgaria and this is the year 2001. Hard to believe!!!! Since there is not any personal checks, a person must plan very, very carefully about the amount of money that they withdraws from the bank. Now you have your money at home and you must be careful where to put it, as in most apartment buildings, break-ins are common. Thank GOD I live in a small apartment building with only six apartments in it, and every one knows each other. So a person knows when someone doesnít belong in that building.
A person would be stupid to keep his money in the bank in Levís. So a person must keep the money in a Dollar Account and then donít change the money from dollars to Levís at the bank, as a person can get a much better change rate at the Money Changing Stories. Never, never change money on the street, as the person will give you bad money. Also a person must keep in touch with the international news, so that you can try to guess when to change your money. Donít change more money then you need to, unless you are sure that the change rate is going to go down. Myself, I watch the news everyday.
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