Editor’s note: Why anyone would go to Bulgaria is beyond me but if anyone would it would be Steve Woodall. Steve and I went to the same high school. His writings and shared pictures on Facebook bring back memories of his wit and just how creative and fun he is to be around. His recent Facebook post about his trip to Bulgaria brings out some of those traits.
By Steve Woodall
The last day of our Bulgarian tour, the bus stopped in front of this 1960’s Soviet-build “four red star” hotel….everyone on the bus gasped. Those who have known me for a long time know that I always have little voices in my head speaking to me.
This time the voice was that of the heavily Russian accented “Boris”– of Boris and Natashia from “Rocky and Bullwinkle” fame– saying: “Moose and Squirrel check in….but never check out”. …fortunately this was classic Bulgarian tour guide humor….and our real hotel was on the other side of the street.
I have seen this done on Facebook whenever someone is traveling and there is a natural disaster or war breaks out, etc. None of those happened to me, but I still feel compelled to report my self “Safe” after returning from our twelve-day Bulgarian “vacation”. (Nice people, beautiful country, however)
On the down side, airline flights— Nine time zones away, fifteen hours actually in the air. I was 6’2.5″ in high school,( although I may be 5′ 7″ now). No matter how much I contort I am cramped the entire flight. Each time I get off the plane I have to wave off the airport employee with a wheelchair who mistakes me for the 95-year old guy with a walker who he supposed to pick up. To keep from cramping up I stick one leg in the aisle–generally I forget that I am doing this until the flight attendant trips and falls. This time we flew Austrian Air with German being the primary language of the flight attendants–they use the phrase “dummkopf” like we use the phrase “you know”…very annoying. (Travel tip: flight attendants, regardless of nationality, can be very vindictive–always trade the meal you are served for the one they serve your spouse)
In order to help me out this time my wife-who does the airline tickets- bought something called “premium economy” seats–wider, slightly more leg room–sort of a hybrid between first class and economy. This may surprise many of my childhood friends who know how cheap I can be. As is her custom, when I asked Elise how much more expensive they were she told me $5. I know this seems unrealistic, but I really wanted to believe her. (Interesting fact: our daughter’s total wedding including the dress and sit-down reception cost only $600.)
The major drawback with the premium economy seats is that even though they are forward you still are not allowed to use the lavatories in first class. Every time you have to use the lavatory you have to pass though the economy section where, not knowing the rules, the economy seat passengers mistake you for Bill Gates–and give you the “use your own lavatory you rich S.O.B look”. It takes me forever to reach the lavatories because I have to stop at every row and explain that my seat is only $5 more expensive.