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.