Wow Czech Airlines, wow!

DEAR MS -last name spelled wrong even though it was at the bottom of the email they’re replying to-
YOU HAVE TO DECLARE EXTRA LUGGAGE AT CHECK-IN DESK AT THE TIME OF DEPARTURE.
PLEASE BE INFORMED 1/ONE/ EXTRA KILO COASTS EUR 16,-
BEST REGARDS
CSA CZECH AIRLINES SOFIA-D.SKENDEROVA

Caps Lock + misspelling my name + calling me Ms. while I’m sure I’m a Mr. = a forward to the main desk of Czech Airlines + blog post 🙂

Seriously, if they weren’t sure if I was a Ms. or Mr., there must have been a way around having to address me as either one. I signed my email with my first and last name. Couldn’t they have just made it “Dear first + last name”?

I wonder if Czech Airlines is like this everywhere or whether it’s just Bulgaria. Not that I really care. My question got answered, but I can’t help but wonder how much they’re paying employees like this.

Advertisements

Is it too late to say Happy New Year?

Okay, it’s been a while. Actually, it’s been three weeks. The longer I waited with posting, the more I had to tell, the less I felt like making time to tell all of it. This kept looping and looping, until now. I present to you…

.
Three weeks of Bas – in bullet points
self-indulgence
  • Bouwe & Roos arrived at the airport only 45 minutes late. I say only because a lot of flights were canceled or had 4 or 5 hour delays. On Christmas eve! How cliché!
  • Needless to say, there was a lot of partying and playing around. On the second day of Christmas we went to a restaurant and as we were walking home I said “I have to show you guys a really, really bad club. It will be funny.” We all had a beer… then we decided to have another and move to the dancefloor. Two or three beers later we were talking to some Bulgarian guy who invited us to some party on New Year’s Eve. As we were getting our coats, ready to go home… a friend of him came up and said there was a drum ‘n bass party going on in some club and if we wanted to come. Fuck yes. We get to the club, club closed. We go to another, club closing. The Bulgarian guys and girl knew one more place that was open… it was called Kama Sutra and it was a stripclub (original name though). We decided that Christmas is a good time to visit a stripclub for the first time in your life so we went there. It was rather boring. We never spoke to those Bulgarian guys after that.
  • The next day, completely hung-over, we went to mount Vitosha. Took some great pictures, check it out.
  • We celebrated New Years Eve at a club where they didn’t bother stopping the music for a countdown. I left the club at 7 though, so apparently the party was not so bad… after all.. there was drum ‘n bass (and hardtechno… oh, and friends).
  • Then I decided to show Bouwe & Roos Plovdiv. This time around, it was snowy!

Okay, so what else?

  • I have stopped using MSN Messenger. See you on Skype!
  • I have started updating my Photoblog again.
  • I have installed PeerGuardian and found out everyone’s watching me.
  • I’m still a vegetarian.
  • I’m getting more serious about DJing. I’m playing in Utrecht on the 24th of February. Details to be announced!
  • I’m looking for a place to live in Amsterdam. If someone knows a really good deal in Utrecht, tell me.
  • Radio Bulgaria interviewed me. Check it out here!
  • A Bulgarian national newspaper named Trud interviewed me. I’ll put the article up when it’s published.
  • Radio Sofia interviewed me. I have no record of this.

Expect updates to be more regular from now on. I’ll be busy here though since it’s my last weeks in Bulgaria and I mostly want to spend time with the people I’ve met here.

A busy week and a trip to Plovdiv

It’s been a long week. Last Saturday night I was waiting for my parents to arrive at Sofia airport. On my way to find a bus or a taxi to the airport I find out it’s snowing! So I go to the airport, stand between a crowd of Bulgarians waiting for people to arrive. After about half an hour they come out and after another half an hour we manage to get ourselves into a taxi. It was kinda strange to see them walking into Bulgaria, into my life here. It had the same type of ‘shock’ effect as when I took a taxi into Sofia upon my arrival here in Bulgaria. The first night they crash at my place, the next day we try to find somewhere to have breakfast/lunch, which turned out to be a bit tougher than I thought. It didn’t suck as bad as the long walk to their hotel though 😉 From there I went straight up to the airport to pick up Janneke. The crowd that was there now was about 3 times as big as the day before. We went to my place and later that day met up with my parents to have dinner.

Monday was rainy, very rainy. Almost Holland-rainy. No, just like Holland-rainy. Rain, rain, rain all day long. We managed to see a lot, but it cost a lot of energy to control my mood. When it rains like this, people here don’t go outside unless they don’t have a choice.

Rainy Sofia

On Tuesday it was back to work for me. More work on a presentation I’m giving this Wednesday. Lunch with Janneke. A few more hours of work and it was time to errr.. I kinda forgot what happened on Tuesday.

Wednesday it was basically the same thing, minus the lunch with Janneke.. plus I remember what happened that day. At some point Janneke and I met up with my parents, because they would be traveling through Bulgaria and I might not see them before they left the country, so I had to say goodbye. Janneke and I were planning to eat with my friends in Studentski Grad, but because the buses were so full and the taxi drivers did not want to go to Studentski Grad, we decided not to go. We ended up walking around, going back home, going ’round the corner to eat. I had some rakiya, which is powerful of itself, but this time I could feel it through my throat and throughout my body. Bad experience. Could not enjoy the drink. Ended up looking like a pussy who can’t even drink hard liquor. 😉

The next day I worked until around 1pm and then headed home. As I got home we grabbed our stuff and headed for the busstation. We were going on a trip to Plovdiv! Actually managed to book a private room in a hostel (Hikers Hostel), which was good. Hotels are expensive and don’t offer half the value a good hostel does. Met some Australians, Frenchman, Chilean, Canadians, Americans (one of which was a Lonely Planet writer (with an attitude)), Belgians.. That evening we walked around and saw some of what Plovdiv had to offer. Below are some pictures which you can click to enlarge. You can also go to the picture gallery.

Cat in Plovdiv Ancient theatre in Plovdiv Purple shoe sunset I’ve been framed!

Actually, I decided to let the pictures speak for themselves. Here are some more.

Plovdiv fresco Abandoned building in Plovdiv Plovdiv amphitheate

We stayed there Thursday and Friday night. On Saturday we went to the second biggest monastery in Bulgaria, called Bachkovo. Quite an interesting place to visit, although it was obviously the end of the tourist season and they didn’t really feel like having everything open the whole time (I guess we came around lunchtime). The up-side of it was that it wasn’t swarming with tourists, yet there were still too many for my taste.

Another update later, I have to get working on my presentation.

Weekend Recap

What a weekend. Friday morning I left for Troyan with my colleague and her husband to make a report on an event there. Took a lot of pictures. That evening we went to have dinner with all the people who were invited to the event. The deputy mayor of Troyan sent a group of students to our table, since they would be able to speak English to me. I’ll get back to that one later. So after dinner, the group decided they wanted to go get a coffee.. I decided to go along and my colleague joined. So a coffee became an alcoholic drink and what became one alcoholic drink became many. Managed to not speak to any of the girls except one. I wonder if I disappointed the deputy mayor… Woke up early the next day to resume work, wondering when I would be able to sleep more than 4 hours (I’m on a sleep diet again).

troyan1.jpg troyan2.jpg rila1.jpg rila2.jpg

We left at around 1… Or started leaving anyway. I got back to my apartment, had about half an hour to get other stuff and buy food. Then I had to go to Bobi’s house, because we were going to a psytrance party on the Rila mountain. After about 2.5 hours of mucking about in Sofia, we were finally on the road. Was a tad hard to find, but in the end we found it… It was SO cold. During the night it got colder and colder, to a point where I did not want to remove myself from the fire anymore. Glad that Bobi could lend me his winter-jacket. At about 6 I grabbed my blanket and slept on the forest floor for about 2 hours. Came home on Sunday at around 12.30 I think. Slept until 8pm, when I decided to go get some pizza. Dead-tired still.. That’s why I’m keeping this post short. I’ll let the picture speak for themselves.

Click here for the Troyan gallery.
Or here for the Rila psytrance party gallery.

Video – Balkan Youth Festival ’07

For the people on slower connections, click here for a lower quality (faster loading) version.

Balkan Youth Festival ’07

The article as I wrote it for the broadcast on the English channel of Radio Bulgaria on Tuesday. Let’s see how much they keep. I’ll inform you tomorrow about the times and where you can find a webstream.

The twelfth edition of the Balkan Youth Festival was one of European intercultural exchange by participants coming from European Union countries, as well as non-EU states. From Albanians to Swedes, Turks to Frenchmen, Bulgarians to Fins, Hungarians to Greeks, Macedonians to Spaniards, the festival aroused a feeling of “Europeanness” within every participant. During the day, participants as well as spectators could enjoy a variety of cultural expression ranging from folk music and dance from Kosovo, to breakdance performed by French, Bulgarian and Albanian b-boys, to graffiti painting by Turks and Macedonians, or join one of the horos initiated by one of many folkdance companies from various Balkan countries. Modern and traditional culture from all corners of the European continent came together in Sandanski, in Southwestern Bulgaria, to celebrate the seeming paradox of unity through diversity. The participants managed to inspire each other, and their enthusiasm could be seen throughout the many events of the festival. One expression of this enthusiasm was not witnessed by everyone. These were the parties at Hotel (Ask Geri for the name) where the participants were staying. On one floor one could find b-boys from different nations breakdancing together. Only a floor down you’d find a horo spontaneously erupting and lasting for several hours. Even though most participants were on a very exhausting sleep diet, the roundtable group got together every morning to discuss youth and the future of Europe in an informal setting. The twelfth edition of the Balkan Youth Festival was a great example of what Europeans can achieve through unity; a spectacle of cultural diversity inspiring people crossing the boundaries of age, nationality, ethnicity and language.

It will be combined with an edited version of an interview I had with a Macedonian graffiti writer.

Back!

I don’t know what it is, but every time I attend any sort of festival it follows this pattern:

1) You arrive, full of energy.
2) Every day, you are more enthusiastic yet feel physically worse.
3) At the end you barely have enough energy left to do anything.

I’m in a restaurant around the corner from my appartment now. Have to email some people. Articles will start showing up. The festival was evidently amazing!!