17 July 2009
We awoke to find the car missing. It took 3 hours to find the clamping station and we had to pay 20 quid to get it back.
Then we drank coffee in a cafe, keeping a keen eye on the car whilst making plans for the day. Soon it was time to leave but somehow the car was clamped, we made another call and in 5 minutes a man arrived, he asked for 5 quid and we were free again.
So here I go again, this time with Nizam as my co-pilot, on a 26 hour drive through Bulgaria Turkey and across Syria to Damascus. St Paul had his conversion on this path, and now St Sean is looking for his. After defending the persecuted gypsies of Bulgaria I got robbed by one of them in the street last night. The fuckers. That’s my bleeding-heart liberal charity work done for the year.
But It is great to be moving on; away from the pastries, the white cheese, and the beautiful looking people. All very stunning indeed, puts us in UK to shame. I am uplifted by the spirit of the Art Hostel in Sofia and the wonderful people there – Finding the Art Hostel was like discovering a great secret wine, it was without doubt my best Bulgarian moment. Now we face the long road, with hope, fear, and trepidation in our hearts – filming all the way and giggling like small children on a day out to the seaside.
16 July 2009
The road to Damascus is getting harder. Waiting for my Syrian visa in Sofia is fun though, I have found a great place called The Art Hostel with a cool cave-like underground bar, a place for artists and the like to meet and drink. The other night I met an Aussie whose brother had defended a gypsy he’d seen being attacked by a 21 year old skinhead. In the fight the Aussie ended up killing the skinhead and now he’s in jail waiting trial for murder.
The skinhead was apparently from a good family and studying law. His right-wing beliefs were well known and fully acceptable here, such is the animosity towards Bulgaria’s 2 million gypsies. I shook the man’s hand and passed on my best wishes to his brother in jail.
Defending gypsies here isn’t cool. I’d called a student I’d met the night before a racist for his constant negative talk about them and he was insulted. It is different here he said. He told me that as an outsider I wouldn’t understand how they rob and mug people to make a living, but I said if you are a country of only 5 million with 2 million gypsies doing nothing, excluded, are they not a drain on the economy… would it not be better to try and include them more in your society?
The young Bulgarian student was angry, he didn’t care, he just wanted rid of them. I said OK why don’t you kill them all like Hitler did with Jews. Problem solved. No no he protested I’m not a racist. Later my Syrian friend Nizam shows me a flashing swastika key ring he bought from a nearby tourist shop, sadly it seems that here in Bulgaria the rise of right is more far-reaching than a joke novelty keyring.