Monday, July 17, 2006

Ayan is Alright....

After what seemed like 5 days of bi-polar, dual personality, damn near schizo behavior, I will report Ayan is back to normal and having a great time. I guess simply getting out of Romania was the cure.. it wasnt easy to get out for sure. I really don't want to sound like I am harping on Romania and everything bad about it, as there were times I enjoyed. Translyvania and Brasov in particular were fun places, decent nightlife, cool people at the hostels, a very picturesque town, safe and no worries walking home at night at 4am alone.. Yet getting to Mamaia beach, while there were moments it wore on me. From the super-long/slow/smelly/smoke filled train ride to the stares.. The stares were bad, they were the type of are you a martian stare, not the stare followed by a smile and curious look.. The only times the stares were cool, is when you were on the beach and the topless/thong clad girls stared at you, then it was like ok I am going to stare back at you as long are you are staring at me.. and trust me there were plenty of lovely girls on the beach, but still not enough to make up for the rest of the bad times.. Did meet some nice cool people, who tried to explain to me just why Romania is like it is, and that really did help talking to the locals who acknowledge the problems.. And in no means I am saying the that USA is perfect and full of promise, if you know me, I can be very down on the current situtation in the USA.. and while I am not following the news, I hear the Middle east is about to blow its top and oil is almost 80 bucks a barrel.. I guess I will be freezing this winter in NYC in my cold ass apartment..

Ok the good, Bulgaria, this is what it should be like. While again the journey here was funny/difficult, once I got here and realized just how mich better it is, I just simply laughed at things.. I bought a ticket on the bus to Istanbul, and they have to pass thru Varna, Bulgaria where I am now. I guess I was the only person going to Varna, as the rest of the bus was either Romanian Gyspies escaping, or a few young kids going to Turkey for some school retreat. So the bus ride starts out normal and I am told it is only a 3hr ride, and from looking at the map I have I imagined this was the case.. Ok so we get to the border and this is where the fun starts, fun everyone gets off the bus and rushes to the Duty free stores. The young girls, the gyspies, the driver, the assistant everyone.. Then they come back with seriously a box of 100 cartons of cigarettes, the gyspies have at least 20 bottle of rum each, they make like 2 or 3 runs.. Then they start hiding the cigs and alchie everywhere on the bus, in hidden compartments in the back, on top, underneth.. the loud gyspies who have kept me up and from sleeping, as i managed to hang out till 4am the night before. they ask me, well really force me to shove 2 bottles of bacardi into my daypack.. Now we wait, they take the passports, we get off the bus, cross the border on foot, while the bus i guess is inspected.. Anyway, the whole process takes 3 hours, I shit you not.. 3hrs to cross the Bulgarian border, everyone makes it thru and i think all the contraband makes it thru also..

Now arrival in Varna, as we pull into town the assistant is like, ok we are in Varna, where do you want to go.. I naturally well this is a bus, so it will stop at the bus station.. their answer, no dont know where bus station is.. ok how about the train station.. no we drop you at taxi stand, lets go now.. literally its like a running stop, the back door opens, I jump off, they grab my bag from under, and roll out.. whole thing takes 30 seconds.. As soon as I get off, and look around, natrurally the cab drivers approach, now thankfully after being in some shady situations I manage to blow him off, and go across the street to the ATM to get my first dose of Lev, the local currency, probably the 10th different currency from the 16th country, I am going to have a nice paper money collection when I get home. Instead of going to the taxi who wanted to charge me 10 Lev(currently 1.5Lv to a dollar), for the cab ride, I know I need food and start walking toward civilization. Have a nice meal the the Happy bar/grill, and show them the map/flyer for the hostel. They assure me its only 10-15 minuutes walking down and the to left. Well I have since learned, that map reading skills are not taught in Bulgarian schools. To top it off, like most former iron curtain countries, no street signs, and the ones there are written in Cyrillic, so basically I have no hope of finding anything.. After wandering up and down the main drag for an hour and asking people, i get frustrated and try my crappy cell phone to make a call, naturally no luck. The hostel is suppose to be right off the main drag, so I figure if I walk down everyside street I will find it.. In the end an angel saves me, I told the guy in the email from the hostel I would be arriving at 9pm, so now at 11pm and no signs of me, he comes to look for me. Not hard to find me, a cursing frustatred american with a backpack wandering up and down the main drag..

Now found and everything calm, I feel back at home, back in a hostel, just a bed in a room, and some cool peeps. In fact another American, a Navy guy based in Naples who is on a long weekend, drinking vacation. I shower, calm down and we hit the bars near the beach. I must say this place is impressive, between the clean streets, less stray dogs, cheap prices, awesome beach bars, and most importantly and I stress this LOVELY WOMEN.. Varna is the move. And they have an airport... Funny story about Constanta/Mamaia, I asked the guy at the Hotel, why is it so hard to get here and he told me.. well we used to have an airport, but your American CIA bought it, to move prisioners from Iraq and torture them, so now we have no airport.. and from the news back home its probably true..

Ok so me and my american navy mate, hit the town for a few buck fifty beers, the clubs are big time here, from the omninous looking black shirt clad bouncers outside, once you pass that its all good. cheap beer, they are big on go-go dancers, so all the girls working the bar in matching outfits take a turn dancing on the bar or go-go stage. The bars are clean, immacautly designed, with themes and literally right on the water, no tsunami's in the black sea or else these places would be washed away. Sunday was a bit of a slow night, but at the 2nd bar, me and Harold the Navy dude, met 4 girls from the Bulgarian national volleyball team, along with other girls. As a navy man on leave, my boy is fitting the stereotype of having a shore leave. He is a columbian-argentine from Miami, so he is a bit dark, not as dark as me, so the stares are twice as much.. Last night went on a bit longer than I wanted till 4am, but everything is open all night till the sun comes out, and the bars are all very nice on a strip next to each other, looks like tonight will bring good potential.

It was cloudy today, still went to the beach trying to take in the sights, but without sun it was hard, going to stay another day, and since I have been to so many capitals of countries I think this country I am going to skip the big capital of Sofia, and stay a few days in Plovdiv.. Alright, I have pictures, but this internet cafe the only in town, I had to wait 10 minutes for a computer and no USB, so I guess most folks will have to wait till I get home.. unless I get a machine early in the morning.. but as the post says Ayan is alright, back in the groove and glad to be staying at a hostel with a mix of american, irish, english and yes the typical Aussie is there..

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