My rent just dropped 40 euro’s.

I love this place.

I now pay less than I payed for a 8 square meter apartment in a small city in Holland… for an apartment in one of the best parts of the center of a big European capital. Which looks like this.

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Weekend in Sofia!

Living room in the park29-09-07-008.jpgMy flowers =)

So yesterday evening I was walking home, and I noticed people setting up a living room set in the park. Seemed to be related to a magazine launch, who cares. So I went home, got my stuff and went outside to take some pictures. Then I went to the barbershop on the corner and got myself my first Bulgarian haircut. 10 points for courage. Then it was getting dark, so I decided to go home and see if anyone was going out… I tried James, but he was tired, so no party.

Now I was at home, just surfing the internet and decided that’s not the way I’m going to live here. So around 11.30 I decided to go to Bilkova Apteka (herb pharmacy), a cool bar. I went there, but before I went in I was told it was closed… but it was okay to go inside if I was looking for people. So I went in anyway. Once there I ran into a guy I met there earlier. Tried ordering a beer, but no chance. He negotiated for me (he knows the people there) and I got my beer anyway. I decided to find out what’s a good place to go out on a Friday night, but they couldn’t really tell me.

Anyway, after a beer we all left and I headed to a club called Yalta, to see some American DJ play (kind of a London-style dance DJ). Was pretty good, but the whole place was packed with people trying to impress each other, so I left kind of early (3ish).

I woke up with a strange feeling in my body. I guess drinking beer, switching to vodka, drinking another beer, having a whiskey and then drinking another beer will do that to you ;-). So I decided that the first thing I should do was eat. So I went outside to the shop, got some cereals (oh yeahhh) and a bunch of other things, went to the shop nextdoor, bought grapes. Went to the shop across the street and got flowers. I suppose I was compensating for having a hang-over and I wanted to feel like I was doing something constructive.

Since I moved in to my apartment, I’ve had an empty vase that I’ve been desperate to fill. So finally I did it!

Later today I’m going to be hanging out with James and some Erasmus students in Studentski Grad (Student City)! It’s supposed to be an awesome place and I can kinda predict I’ll be hanging out there a lot in the next few months. So tonight is my introduction. Sweet. Then there’s supposed to be a drum ‘n bass party in Black Box again. I think we’ll check it out. Only 3 euros entrance fee anyway.

Oh, the weather here’s beautiful… 25 degrees & sunshine baby! 😉

Enjoy your weekends!

Go check out my new web album with pictures I made yesterday and today!

My Apartment on Youtube

Or download: https://baslife.wordpress.com/2007/09/03/my-appartment/

By the way: shit, I have been misspelling apartment all along… 😦

Picasa

Grrr, doesn’t let me upload pictures without the program and I don’t have internet at home. Besides that, apparently the RSS feed is malfunctioning, so I have no idea how to get to my pictures on Picasa right now. Anyway, here are some pictures I took of Sofia. It’s my street and the surrounding area. No more than a minute’s walk away from my building :-). As always, click for bigger versions!

sofia-001.jpgsofia-002.jpgsofia-003.jpgsofia-004.jpg

My Appartment

Okay, I got a lot of requests of pictures of my appartment.. So I went the extra mile and made a video for you all to see. Take the tour here!

Instructions:

  1. Click the link: http://www.uploadhut.com/id6580/Appartment Sofia.wmv
  2. Scroll down to the security code.
  3. Type code and click submit.
  4. The next page will look very similar. Scroll down and you will see a button that says: Download.
  5. Click it!

Enjoy!

I’m in love…

Bulgaria is seriously awesome. I had a lot of doubts about the place and quite a few negative stereotypes in my mind apparently, but I have to say, Bulgaria is possibly my best international experience so far.

Last night I had dinner in a pub, talked to the girl at the bar (who thought I was a food critic, because I was writing (lyrics) – she gave me a fork and knife with my fries ;)), drank a few beers and then went to my hotel. Back there, I was bored and I wanted to drink more (Irish blood.. once you start, you need to keep going), so I went outside to see if there was anyone hanging out at the hotel (for some reason some ‘friends of the hotel’ hang out there) and there was.. So I asked the guy where I could get beer, he told me.. I got beer and a few extra, then came back, sat down with him and started drinking. We talked, I learned about the culture here. Then this 64-year old guy came and inquired where I was from. I told him I was from Holland, and he started complaining about liberalism, homosexuals and wanted to know what I knew about communism.

It was hilarious. He explained everything to me, how Lenin stole his ideas from Jesus, how Marx was a clever Jew, how imperialism is ‘ominous’ (evil) and well… I didn’t really try to remember, in fact, I tried to forget. The other guy I was talking to, who was about my age, clearly didn’t agree with the guy.. oldskool vs newskool.

Ok… so I’m renting my appartment from a Bulgarian fashion designer who’s apparently rather famous. The Bulgarian National Radio people are showing me all the ins and outs of the radio and they’ll be introducing me to a young team of people next week, who are launching a local radio station for Sofia soon.

I think I’ve been really lucky when it comes to connections. Somehow I’m falling into webs of important or sometimes even famous people (probably because euro’s are worth A LOT in Bulgaria (kilo of paprika (peppers) costs about 80 euro cents, for instance)). I am really looking forward to how this all will develop in the future. It looks like I’m going to be having a rather busy life soon.

Anyway, I’m going to try and get internet soon, now that I have an address. I’ll start putting up photographs then (of the city, but also of graffiti).

I was worried about not being able to find cool places to go out, but apparently there are drum ‘n bass parties multiple times a week here… Better than Holland!

Some more prices (in euro’s) to tease everyone who’s not here right now (yes, I mean you):
– Beer, 0.5 litre.. 1.30
– A hot meal… 2 – 8 euro’s. (you can easily have a good meal for less than 6 euro’s, incl. drinks) Today I went out for lunch with a colleague (or boss, I think) and it was 4.50 total, tip included.
– Taxi, I paid about 4 euro’s to get to the city from the airport. Same distance in Holland: 30 euro’s.

And the language isn’t even that hard. I am getting used to the Cyrillic alphabet and I can already understand quite a bit of what is said around me. (I know some numbers, “cheers”, “thanks”, “good afternoon”, “okay”, “yes/no”, and maybe a few words more, but for some reason, it’s not very tough to understand it..). If you know some languages well – English and Dutch for me – and some other languages on a basic level – German and French for me – then it helps a lot. Dutch people can understand one of the Bulgarian words for ‘receipt’. Of course it doesn’t sound like “bonnetje”, but they say a word very similar to “kwitantie” (spelling?? hmm….). I guess that would be understandable for French people too? Don’t know.

Anyway… don’t let all of the negative stereotypes be an excuse not to come. The weather is not as unpredictable as in Holland, prices are low, people are nice, gypsies are… well… gypsies (nobody really appears to like the gypsies.. sometimes you hear people saying things about gypsies which could be put right into the Borat movie, I hope some anonymous person doesn’t mind me quoting: “my mom told me not to play with the gypsies”).

To us it’s funny, to them it’s every day business. The good news is that hopefully, with the entrance to the European Union, the status of gypsies will improve and there will be less problems or incidents regarding them.

Enjoy your weekends!

Welcome to София

Well.. what can I say… this is a slightly different world. Wish I could upload pictures already, but I need to find a better internet center first.

A few things that struck me:
– Advertising EVERYWHERE. Imagine a marketeers wet-dream and then times two. It’s like they’re compensating for all the communistic years.
– Bad maintenance. I wonder how many people break their necks each year on the pavements. And then there’s the buildings, which look like they’re slowly crumbling to pieces.
– Less graffiti than in Holland. More basic styles most of the time, but when they go beyond the basic styles, it’s really a style of it’s own.
– People drive like crazy. My taxi trip from the airport to the hotel was very exciting 😉
– The center is packed with beautiful buildings. However my Lonely Planet guide says it’s mostly limited to the center.

Okay, I got to email some people and then head out to have a look at some appartments.