HAPPY HOLIDAYS

by Minka Vazkresenska; photography by BTA

Twenty years ago, when Communist censors controlled all sources of information, Bulgarians mastered to perfection the skill of reading between the lines.

Journalists mastered another art. In a single line, they could put together the proclamations of the Communist Party "Socialist Bulgaria is making progress towards complete victory" and the unpleasant truth "There will be electricity shortages this winter."

We believed that this art had died out – after all, the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech – until we read the following headline on a local news site, verbatim: "There Is No Drop in Tourist Flow to Sunny Beach."

The article goes on: "Sixty percent of the accommodation capacity of Sunny Beach is full. According to information provided by the management of Sunny Beach Ltd, most tourists this year come from Germany, Britain and Scandinavia, as usual, and they are enjoying themselves mainly in the swimming pools. The areas in front of the hotels are full, while those by the sea are empty because of the high prices demanded by the concessionaires – 24 leva for a parasol and a couple of sun loungers. Swarthy young men (Editor's comment: a euphemism for Gypsies) patrol the beaches with baskets full of fruit. There is no fixed price; it is determined on the spot depending on how rich the customer looks. You may end up paying 10 leva for 200g of cherries.

"Restaurateurs have come up with a new trick to attract tourists. A sign in front of many restaurants states that a large draught beer costs 1 lev, and an English breakfast can be had for between 5 and 7 leva. These rock-bottom prices infuriate the staff of more expensive establishments. When asked why their prices are higher, they explain that the cheap beer is diluted with water, and bacon is substituted by cheap Bulgarian sausages. However, for the first time, even prices in luxury restaurants have fallen. You can order a chicken steak and salad for 5 leva. Naturally, all restaurants still have two price lists, one for Bulgarians and the other for foreign tourists. This practice is of course unlawful, but most restaurateurs claim that it doesn't make much difference.

"The bad forecasts of a drop in tourist numbers have not materialised so far. The crisis is evident mostly in fewer staff and lower salaries. The good news is that the profiteering period of Bulgarian tourism is passing away, slowly but indubitably. Food and accommodation prices have been regulated without reducing the quality of the product. Bulgarian tourists are happy because three people can have an all-inclusive stay in a hotel by the sea for only 108 leva per day."

Now, read between the lines and take a guess, is there a crisis or not?!

 

  • COMMENTING RULES

    Commenting on www.vagabond.bg

    Vagabond Media Ltd requires you to submit a valid email to comment on www.vagabond.bg to secure that you are not a bot or a spammer. Learn more on how the company manages your personal information on our Privacy Policy. By filling the comment form you declare that you will not use www.vagabond.bg for the purpose of violating the laws of the Republic of Bulgaria. When commenting on www.vagabond.bg please observe some simple rules. You must avoid sexually explicit language and racist, vulgar, religiously intolerant or obscene comments aiming to insult Vagabond Media Ltd, other companies, countries, nationalities, confessions or authors of postings and/or other comments. Do not post spam. Write in English. Unsolicited commercial messages, obscene postings and personal attacks will be removed without notice. The comments will be moderated and may take some time to appear on www.vagabond.bg.

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Discover More

'SMART & BEAUTIFUL' PARKING WOES GRIP CENTRAL SOFIA
The advisors to Vasil Terziev, the mayor of Sofia, who are supposedly as "smart and beautiful" as the political parties that put him forward, must have swallowed that book several times over and mastered to perfection the craft of losing friends and alienat
NEED A CONSPIRACY THEORY?
Atanas Atanasov is a general. He was the head of the Bulgarian security service under Ivan Kostov, the Bulgarian prime minister in 1997-2001, who inimitably prompted just two reactions: love or hate.

SENIOR CLERIC GETS STATE FUNERAL
So what has a senior cleric, Patriarch Neofit, who died in March aged 78, done to deserve a state funeral replete with military salutes and a coffin being drawn by... an armoured personnel carrier?

ROTATING, ROTATING...
When it was hammered out last year with the support of Boyko Borisov's GERB (whom everyone left, right and centre of Kiril Petkov, Asen Vasilev, Hristo Ivanov and Gen Atanas Atanasov swore was the godfather of all evils to befall Bulgaria

GOING, GOING...
The cops by far outnumber the construction workers wielding chop saws inside a ladder hoist. There have been no press releases, nor the obligatory information signs to tell the public what's going on. The area has been cordoned off.

ASEN VASILEV GETS BANNED FROM BALLOT BOX
The man, who went to his native Haskovo, in southern Bulgaria, to vote in the local elections was turned away by the election authority because he failed to live up to the basic requirement of having had an address in his constituency for at least six month

PRE-ELECTION TALK
"Hey, beauty, let's go home and have sex."" I can't do it just like that. We do not even have common acquaintances.""Well, do you know Boyko Borisov?""Yes, I do.""So, let's go!"***
LONG LIVE RED ARMY MONUMENT
Other angry citizens have taken to the park, where the MOCHA is situated.

FLYING COLOURS & METEORITES
Firstly, a bright light appeared in the sky over Vidin, at the River Danube, one dark, hot and mosquito-infested night. It was reputedly followed by a loud explosion. People were mesmerised and slightly frightened.

TO 'GIVE' SOMEONE TO A PROSECUTOR
What led to that is so complicated and absurd that analysts find it difficult to explain while ordinary people prefer just to laugh it off. Here is the story briefly.

CAR OF DISCORD
Everyone who has had some work to do with the Bulgarian police should have noticed the despicable conditions in which rank and file officers often work.

VACUITY AND WINDBAGGISM
Voters are being exposed to a plethora of pledges designed to make them feel good – and cast their ballots for whoever talks louder.