Issue 97

FINAL CALL

…It was an almost ordinary day. We gathered in the common room and discussed the spelling of the words cappuccino and espresso. According to a nice little old man in a checkered shirt and striped pants, I forgot his name, the spelling was "campuccino" because it originated from Campuccio, and "expresso" because it was brewed fast and they served it on express trains in the past. He was very convincing and it took them some time to change his mind. Then we passed a ball to each other and we had to be truthful. The five of us were very careful not to be.

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PEOPLE OF ISTANBUL

Reasons to visit Istanbul in the autumn are many, and range from the milder and sunnier climate of the Bosporus to the hope of encountering fewer tourists at the city's famous historical sites, while the nostalgic aroma of roasted chestnuts wafts around the corners of old neighbourhoods such as Galata and Beyoğlu.

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OTTOMAN BULGARIA

As you travel through Bulgaria you will inevitably be confronted by remnants of its Ottoman past: mosques, water fountains, bridges, forts, baths and public buildings. It would be strange if you were not – Bulgaria spent 500 years under Ottoman domination. It began with the invasion at the end of the 14th Century, which brought chaos to the Balkans and destroyed the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, and ended for the different parts of the Balkans inhabited by Bulgarians between the 1878 San Stefano Peace Treaty and the 1912-1913 Balkan Wars.

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SÜLEYMAN GÖKÇE

Having spent a quarter of a century in the Turkish diplomatic service, including postings in Afghanistan, Italy, Pakistan, the UK and the United States, career diplomat Süleyman Gökçe arrived at the end of last year to take up his first ambassadorial position in Sofia.

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PA-LA-MUD!

Eating fish in Bulgaria can be a complicated business. Along the Black Sea, the smell of deep fried sprats is everywhere, and the menus of seaside restaurants offer mussels and jack mackerel, bluefish and turbot. All over the country, expensive establishments attempt to lure you in with frozen salmon and bass, octopus, shrimps and squid – all imported from somewhere, mainly Greece. Sushi is trendy, and most Bulgarians eat carp for St Nikola's feast on 6 December.

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IF BULGAR KHANS WERE SCI-FI CHARACTERS...

Japanese tourists just love the Founders of Bulgaria monument in Shumen, the woman in the ticket office says. The Japanese, the lady continues, are smitten. They stare and stare, and only when they get over their initial shock, do they take out their cameras. The lady at the city council-run ticket office was equally bewildered by the reaction of the Japanese until one day a guide explained.

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PYRRHIC VICTORY

To understand why Bulgaria is faced with further political instability and possibly yet another general election one needs to look at the larger picture of life in this country that has struggled with democracy for exactly quarter of a century now.

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QUOTE-UNQUOTE

My phone is ringing the whole day, everyone is greeting me - Erdogan, the president of Portugal... No other party has beaten the Communists two times in a row!

Boyko Borisov

All parties are lined up as the women at the windows of a certain Amsterdam district, and offer themselves.

Volen Siderov, Ataka leader

Boyko Borisov is as rightwing as the English traffic.

Writer Ivaylo "Noisy" Tsvetkov

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BOYKO NOW LEGALLY 'STUPID'

Boyko was not in the TV studio when Barekov called him stupid and did not watch the broadcast as he was on an airplane. Witnesses claim that he got angry later when he was told he had been called stupid. To express that, he took off his jacket and tossed it. Borisov's close aides claim that whenever he takes off his jacket and tosses it, he is usually quite angry.

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