Lose One Ticket, Buy One Ticket

I woke this morning thinking I should check my air ticket but couldn’t find it. Searched every bit of clothing, bags, jacket , computer case.  I had the ticket along with my new frequent flyer membership to KLM and my boarding pass when I flew in so I could claim my frequent flyer miles.  I also had Euros for when I arrived back in Amsterdam.  All were gone.  Allah’s will.

I went right to an Internet cafe and printed out another copy of the ticket that was still in the clouds of cyber space.  Something to be said for that.

Enjoying Sunday Morning Coffee

I left the internet Cafe and stopped into another small Orthodox Church where their seem to be something going on. They were doing baptisms of babies and young children.  There seemed to be about 6 of them and all the family members were there to witness the event.  People had food and were sitting outside the church eating.  I told the Priest I got baptized yesterday at the other Orthodox church.

Then I took the bus to the bus station and bought a ticket to Ruse on the Bulgarian border with Romania and the first leg of my trip on Monday.  I tried to buy the connecting ticket to Bucharest but no one handles them.  I had to get that in Ruse and my connection was only an opening of 30 minutes.  It was an 8 passenger mini bus so I need to try and call Ruse to reserve a space and hope the bus is on time.  If I can’t, I may end up having to pay for a Taxi or I heard there was a Romanian bus service that left at 4:30?

The Litovia Hostel in Bucharest will be where I stay for two days. I want to see the old town and the Theater. I understand they have some fantastic Museums too but it seems to be expensive to stay in the city and I’m starting to watch my money now that I lost a considerable amount in the Market last week.  I did manage to close a lot of my positions in options since the prices dropped.  I sold them for good money and bought them back to close the positions as considerably less money so I did well with that.  If the market goes back up by the end of the year, then I can sell the stocks and stick with Gold , Coca Cola, and McDonald’s  That is IF it goes back up…otherwise I’ll be stuck with cheap stocks that I would have to take a big loss  to sell.

I managed to see the Archaeological Museum this morning and will head for the beach this afternoon and try some seafood. The beach is only two blocks from my Hotel and this was the first time I had been down there. They have a beautiful large park that overlooks and borders the beach.  I walked along that with everyone in Varna.  There was a large amusement park where families were playing with their children, a Bulgarian Idol concert going on, Crafts stalls , food kiosks , restaurants , but mostly this beautiful park with Boulevards and foot paths and walkways. It reminded me of Balboa Park in San Diego.  I am returning to spend my last day there.

A unique restaurant called Graffiti caught my attention while returning to town.  I had a Manhattan and ordered Saute Breast of Chicken with Fire Roasted Vegetables and Artichokes.  A small bottle of Bulgarian White Makrud to accompany it. It was great.  The Graffiti also has a gallery featuring a Dali exhibit I will return to tomorrow.  Varna is in competition for Europe’s most Cultural City.  The results won’t be until 2019.

When I returned the Cosmopolitan Venus contest was over.  They had events like races with gorgeous ladies in hot outfits running in those exaggerated high heels they all wear.  I was surprised someone didn’t break an ankle.  I didn’t stick around for the other competitive events. One thing to be enjoyed while traveling these cities and towns is the amazing amount of space that is given over to pedestrian walkways…No cars or restricted use such as Taxis only, Police, Emergency vehicles or Mass transport.  It is so quiet and people just stroll along holding hands, playing chess in the park, sharing coffee on the terrace. It creates such a lovely atmosphere.

All over Bulgaria you find street kids wanting to wash your windshield in 5pm traffic.  Beggars including pensioners trying to supplement their pension by selling packets of tissue or gum at a little more than what you would pay in the local store. Gypsies that can be pick pockets and very aggressive. Also Street singers or entertainers trying to make a living. A few things to note about Bulgarians and I think Balkans as well as Eastern Europeans:  “A-No” means yes and they will shake there heads for yes and nod up and down when they mean no!  Try shaking your head back and forth and saying Yes.  You take flowers when invited to someones home but only an ODD number of stems..an EVEN number is taken to a funeral. That was my day.

It is now Sunday, my last day in Varna.  Stanameir, my front desk clerk who spent some time in the US is on this morning.  I ask if he could call the Ruse Romanian Bus Company and make a reservation on the 2pm 8 passenger Mini Van to Bucharest.  If I can’t make that, I could end up hitchhiking or hiring a Taxi to take me from the border to Bucharest.  He tried both numbers I gave him off the internet and both were no longer in service.  I just now discovered my Hotel has been offering free breakfast at the restaurant next door so went over to eat and contemplate my situation.  When I returned, Stanameir had called information, got the bus company number and made my reservation.  He did mention the bus leaves at 1:30, the same time mine arrives but they will wait for me.  I tipped him for his assistance which was invaluable considering the circumstance.  I walked down to the beach and stopped on the way to buy a louder alarm clock, finally!

It was a beautiful day.  A nice outdoor Italian restaurant beckoned me over for a Campari and Fresh Orange Juice with Salmon Bruchetta. The White Castle, the book by Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, was starting to lose my interest.  The Dali Exhibition at the Graffiti Gallery was his Illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy done in Watercolors and pen.  It was different than other Dali Exhibits I had seen.  They had a side Gallery with some Chagall, Picasso, Miro, and a couple others I didn’t recognize. It was small but nice. A Costa Coffee then back to freshen up then off to the Casino for Happy Hour.  I might return to the Italian Restaurant and have a Pizza.  The Chef-Owner apprenticed in Italy for 9 years and became a Master Pizza maker. That got my attention as I never knew there was that much to Pizza.  Tonight will be early for me with a big travel day tomorrow.  I will pack and maybe watch some more PBS.  Last night it was Frontline “The Pot Republic”,  “Dr HotSpot”, and “The Atomic Artists”.  Tonight I might watch “Tales of Love and Sex in Iran”. That should put me to sleep.

Well I arrived at the Black Jack table with only one “High Roller” to my left.  He got pissed at me on the first round when I bet two spots at $10 each and took a hit on the last spot .  If I had not taken the hit, the dealer would have busted.  I did have a 14 so it was a stupid move but he was pissing me off for commenting about it.  It went on like that except I was winning and he was losing.  Then a third player took first position with his “Bling ” on his arm and a gold ring on all ten of his fingers, Rolex on his wrist and two gold bracelets on both wrists with a gold necklace to boot.  The first guy got pissed because he lost and left.  The Macho rich guy was getting pissed because I kept winning.  I won $100 and left the table after three free beers and cashed out for $200 then took $100 and put it on Black Roulette and won another $100///then cashed in $200 win and left.  I went to the Pizza on the Black Sea and regretted not having brought my camera;

You get the point

Varna in Cyrlilic


Friend, Ivo and Me sharing the bounty.

I got Ivo, the waiter I had that afternoon and ordered a Pizza and a bottle of Bulgarian Wine.  Both were excellent as was the service.  I tipped him well and returned for my camera.  It was Sunday evening and everyone was out to strut their stuff.

I came out of the hotel and met some local others and decided this is where I wanted to be.  They offered me some sardines and wine.  I accepted and chipped in for more.  Ivo left  , returned with more and offered me some change.  I told him to keep it and we all toasted Varna, Life, and each other before I returned to the Hotel.  Stanameir greeted me and I showed him the  Photo…his response was…you sure know how to entertain yourself David.  I slept on that.

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