Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Click clack spin

Scanning through my e-mail collection this morning, I was interrupted by a strange clip clopping with a mechanical spin noise accent. It seemed someone was tap dancing in slow motion down our street with some sort of percussion instrument in hand. Or else a horse-drawn cart was headed through Mladost 1 in the general direction of the Billa supermarket. Either way, a camera seemed in order. I snatched mine and leaned out my fourth floor window; sure enough, cars and cart were sharing our road with ease. This kind of juxtaposition seems to happen often in Bulgaria. 

A McDonald's shines brightly on one side of Alexander Malinov, the boulevard which takes us to school. Behind it, a neighborhood rebuilds from within, communist-era apartment buildings crumbling around new construction.

Watermelon stands grace the corners of a street which ends in a giant modern store. Folks can buy their melon from corporate Bulgaria or from the teenage girl sitting in the shade, not bothering to wave the bees away. 

More modern busses alternate on their routes with busses that appear to have been shipped in from France in the 50s or 60s. 

The cook in the cafeteria at the American College of Sofia used to be the head chef for the Bulgarian secret police, back when the KGB operated out of the school. Now he serves up traditional Bulgarian favorites to a student population in search of modernity. 

People out with much-adored pets pass kittens and mongrels trying to make a go of it independently.

Brand new BMWs speed by baby backyard vineyards in small towns. Folks still make their own Rakia, a heavily concentrated alcohol (over 60 %) from plums or grapes from the backyard; it was even served last night at our new faculty welcome dinner. 

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