Mon 25 Sep 06
One thing I neglected to mention in my previous entry about Bulgaria, is about the language. In case you didn't know, Bulgaria uses the Cyrillic alphabet (like Russian), with all their crazy characters. Backwards R's and N's, pi's (with tail or without), and a whole bunch of other crazy ones. In addition to that, many of the Roman letters that they use make a completely different sound than their English counterparts. Confusing, eh?
What's even crazier is that in about a week, I've actually gotten used to it. I can pretty much read it now with no problems (although very slowly). Of course I still don't have any clue of what it means, but it's very handy for things such as street signs or signs on busses telling you where they are going.
Another cunfusing thing about Bulgaria has to do with how they say yes and no. Unlike most of the world, Bulgarians nod their head to say no, and shake their head to say yes. It hasn't been much of a problem, and most of the time we don't even notice. I assume they are well aware of their backwardness, and don't expect tourists to do the same. But I first noticed it at a restaurant when a man at another table called for the waitress. She was in the middle of something, so she just looked at him, and (to my perception) gave him an very mean look and shook her head to say no. Of course, with it all being reversed, she was actualy saying "Yes, I'll be there in a second".
Other than that, today we went to Rila Monastery. It was amazing. It's set in beautiful mountains, and it's painted with stripes all over it, giving it a great look. It was also huge compared to the monasteries that we saw in Romania. The funniest thing happened as we were exploring around and we were heading into a random room. Other tourists were coming out, and one of them, said in broken english to us "this is the chicken!". She was all proud that she could say that, but it just left Jocelyn and I really confused. My first thought was that maybe this was where they used to keep the chickens (weird). But after a second it all became clear when her husband corrected her. He kind of laughed, and then said "this is where they made soup... the kitchen". We started cracking up at this slight (and I guess quite easily made) mistake. She noticed too, and laughed at it too with her group. Good times.