Sandanski, Bulgaria. Saturday: miscommunications and confusion

I woke up around 11, and was still feeling nauseous and woozy.  I decided to catch the tail end of the complementary breakfast.  It was more of a brunch, and I ate some mashed potatoes and a piece of bread so as to not trouble my tummy.  The waiter didn’t speak English, and pantomimed that the meal cost 18 Bulgarian Lev, which is about 9 Euro.  He asked for my room number, and charged the meal to my room.  I paid 9 Euro for mashed potatoes and bread?  Ugh, again.

I then wandered around the first floor of the hotel a little to try to find the spa and swimming pool.  There were no signs, and I didn’t find anything.  So I went back upstairs and relaxed, since I was still feeling off.

I looked in my room for a map of the hotel, or a list of spa services.  But I couldn’t find anything.  The only thing was a list of phone numbers for the front desk, hairdresser, manicurist, and medical consultant at the baleonology center (pool).  I called the manicurist and scheduled a pedicure.  It was around 2:20 when I called, and she said to come at 3:30.  I asked what floor they were on, and she said the first floor.  So I read a book for an hour, and then gathered my things and headed downstairs.

But here’s the thing: in Kosovo the first floor is what I call the second floor, because they call the first floor the ground floor.  It was the same in China.  So I didn’t know whether I should go to the first floor or the second floor.  I went to the first floor and wandered down some long hallway that looked promising.  I could smell the chemicals of the hairdresser, and saw this window:

It’s a good thing I read Cyrillic.   

м = “M”                          п = “P”
а = “A”                         
е = “ye”
н = “N”                          д = “D”
и = “I”                           и = “I”
к = “C”                          к = “C”
ю = “U”                         ю = “U”
р = “R”                          р = “R”

I sort of wandered into the waiting area there, and in a minute or so a lady came up to me.  I said “Hello” right away (it’s my subtle way of letting them know I don’t speak Bulgarian), and then said that I had a pedicure at 3:30 and pointed to my watch.  She said, “no, 4:30.”  I’m sure that the lady on the phone said 3:30, but I was okay with waiting for another hour.  I read my book for a few minutes, and then the lady came back.  She said 4:30 again, and pointed to a clock on the wall.  It was 4:30.  There was a time change I didn’t know about.  That one’s my fault, but it was still annoying.

So I got a nice pedicure.  I asked if I could charge it to my room, because I hadn’t been to an ATM yet and didn’t have any Lev.  She said no, that the manicurist isn’t part of the hotel.  So I paid in Euros, which she thankfully accepted.

I decided to continue down this hall, in hopes of finding the spa and pool.  And I did!  There was a desk with a few teenagers sitting behind it.  I asked if I could schedule a massage.  They put me down for 11:00 on Sunday, and asked what kind of massage I wanted.  I looked at the list, a little overwhelmed by the choices (and the prices!), and just pointed to the first option: “full body massage with foam and peel,” whatever that means.  The girl at the desk said, “that massage is with man.”  I said OK, gave her my name and room number, and then continued past the desk in search of the pool.  It smelled like chlorine, so I knew I was on the right path.

I found the pool, but for the first time, there was a sign.  The sign said that you must wear flip-flops in the pool area: no bare feet, no shoes.  I didn’t bring flip-flops to Sandanski.  I didn’t bring flip-flops to Kosovo!  I looked around to see if they had some I could borrow, or if they sold them for a few Euros.  Nope.  Nothing.  I couldn’t even go swimming.

Tired, and still feeling sick, I went upstairs to my room and read a book for a while.  I fell asleep early, and slept through.


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