|Our first day and we jumped into the groove by going from the airport
to the bus station and boarding the first bus to Bulgaria. This bus headed
for the Black Sea coast and a town called Varna. We don’t know a thing
about Varna. We decided to go there because the first bus to Bulgaria
went there. The world’s slowest border crossing kept us for hours sitting
on the bus. Rain fell and beat on the windows. At this point, without
sleep, at 10:00 pm, we realized we weren’t going to arrive until 1:00
am at a bus station a few kilometers out of town, without any idea about
where to sleep and in pouring rain. We shrugged our shoulders and slept.
The bus driver helped by taking us to the center of town near a hotel
and ATM. We ignored cabdrivers who met us with lies – “All hotels here
are too expensive or closed, come with me for a cheaper place.” We withdrew
enough leva, Bulgarian currency, for a few days (our hotel cost 22 leva
or $11 per night). The hotel favored Communist military décor right down
to a lobby that looked like a command center. The beds, wardrobe, and
footlocker in our room came straight from a military barracks.