Thursday, May 19, 2011

Making our way to Turkey

The rents, Anna, BH and I headed out on Tuesday morning to Plovdiv in a car we rented for a mere 20 Euros a day. Excitedly, I jumped into the driver's seat and we set off along A1 after fueling up and stocking up on snacks and drinks. Good weather. Nice people. All seemed good until we went through a tunnel and were waved at by a little stick with an 'x' on it. Police had set up a little traffic trap. Apparently, the speed limit is 80 in all tunnels across Bulgaria. I panicked, but since we didn't really understand the cop's traffic sign, my mom told me to just slow down and drive in the right lane. Big mistake. A couple of minutes later, the cop caught up to us and pulled us over. He was furious. He made us drive back to the speed trap through a long and windy route; I kept telling my parents we could probably bribe him with twenty dollars, but I was slowly becoming more and more anxious.
When we finally got back to the little police hut outside the tunnel, he brought me into his office and started berating me in Bulgarian. I was apparently going thirty over the speed limit and since I didn't stop right away, I would be charged a ridiculous amount. I was freaking out, and, although I understood what he was saying, demanded to call the embassy (scare tactic). I didn't have the number, though, so I called one of the coordinators in Sofia. She talked to the policeman and explained the situation to me in English. I did understand everything correctly. I filled out some paperwork and was told I would be billed.
It was a freaky situation. They confiscated my license, but then, after telling my sister and mother to leave the room, asked me how much I wanted the license. I told them that I didn't really need it and the cop asked me again how much I wanted my license. It was obvious that he wanted me to slip him some money so he would hand me back my license, but I wasn't going to play along. When I told him for the second time I didn't have any sort of strong desire to get my documents back he just handed my license back and told me that my mom should be the one driving. I was scared of cops for the rest of the trip.
We did eventually make it to Plovdiv and then met Hilary at her place in Haskovo. Stressful day, but great to drive around the country.
Souvenir shopping in Plovdiv


Lamb sache with potatoes, mint, and a lot of cheese. Delicious

This old woman spies on Hilary all the time. Hilarious

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