I came to Sofia yesterday taking a bus from Istanbul. It was like ten hours ride but we stopped at the border for one to two hours. It was funny watching people buying packets of cigarette and taking off the foil and chucking away the box into the bin. Sometimes there were three gathering and doing the unwrapping. It was like as if they were having a competition. I didn't know why they were doing this at that moment but soon I knew why. They wanted to pack their cigarettes as compact as possible so that they can hide it when the Bulgarian customs came to check on them. One lady said something to me in Bulgarian which of coarse I didn't understand. I think she wanted me to carry her cigarettes in my jacket. No, I said. Some hid it in their bags, in their pocket, bus conductor using the compartment where they keep the teas and cups and stuff. So it was like Turkish border, duty free, Bulgarian border. Amazing what those custom people can do to a luggage, I was peaking out the window. They picked a luggage and found a parcel in it. It was well packed but one of them used a cutter knife and opened it up. There was a fine jacket inside, maybe a present for somebody. Stuff it back into the box, they moved onto the next luggage. I know they have to do it since it's their job, but I could see some kind of joy or even malice when he was cutting open the parcel. After the jobs was done, they carefully replaced the luggage back to where it belonged like handling their own luggage (you know this is not true). The custom guy looked so happy. Almost whistling and juggling his key in his hand. Job done. Luckily, my backpack wasn't the target.
I'm going to do sightseeing tomorrow. Bulgaria, land of Yogurt.
picture: aya sofia, istanbul