Friday, July 01, 2005

Sofia airport

It is ridiculously early in the morning, even earlier by British time. It was dark when I got up, now it’s sunrise. The mountains in the distance are beautiful with a pinky orange sunset behind them. I’m at the airport waiting for my flight to be called. Right now I just want to go home and sleep, but it’ll be several hours before I can.

Last night I got very lost and very wet. I’d been feeling sleepy so decided to spend the afternoon snoozing and reading in my room and join the others in the centre of Sofia in the evening to find some dinner. I got a bus townwards about 6pm, which was my first mistake. I’d been told any bus would do to get into the centre, so I got on a random bus and planned to get off as soon as I saw something I recognised. I never did. After a while, I realised the bus was heading out of town again, so I quickly got off and begin to walk in what I thought might be the right direction. Then it began to rain. And there was rain and thunder and lightning and more rain. I huddled under trees, I stepped over building sites, crossed busy roads and got wetter and wetter and more and more lost. It was getting towards the time I was supposed to be meeting people, so I found a taxi and attempted to get the driver to understand where I wanted to go. He didn’t understand me, I didn’t understand his suggestions and in the end all I could get him to do was take me back to the hotel. (Not my hotel, too small and obscure, but the one where everyone else was staying). So I left a message, hoped everyone else wasn’t too worried about me and squelched back to my hotel. When I got there, I was dripping wet and cold and tired and all I wanted to do was get on the first plane home. So I rang home, had a shower and went to bed. I slept pretty badly, so I’m still tired, but at least I’m on my way home.

Bulgaria has been interesting. The meeting side of things has been useful and my colleagues are friendly, but I’ve proved to myself again that I don’t like travelling alone. It’s odd, I’m perfectly confident on my own patch. I’ve walked through London at all hours of the night and never turned a hair, but put me somewhere where I don’t speak the language, don’t know the roads and I panic. Next time I travel somewhere for work I’ll think carefully about where I stay and find better maps first. And learn more words than Dah (Yes), Ne (No) and Dobre (OK, good, fine).

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