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Commenting article: Shameful British Bar on Workers Labels Bulgaria as Second-Class

Sir: I was the British ambassador to Bulgaria from 1989 to 1994. During that time the communist dictator was ousted, the communist regime was overthrown, democracy - with free elections - and a market economy were adopted, and Zhivkov's persecution of the ethnic Turkish and other Muslim minorities (an early form of ethnic cleansing) was halted.

The new, democratic government looked up to the UK as a model and mentor, and we encouraged reform from top to bottom, with aid programmes in local government, policing, democratically accountable security and defence forces, the environment, the humane care of disabled people, and in many other fields. At the same time we expected the Bulgarians to abide by the sanctions regime that we and our allies had imposed on Serbia, and they did so even though it probably hurt them more than the Serbs, by cutting off their vital trading routes to Western Europe.
jtyman - 6 Dec 2006 // 21:37:14

Let it be a lesson to all those, who are being fooled by the shameles, anglosaxon mentality, which excercises impression of superiority over others, in order to pick their pockets. They are nothing more than ruthless colonists, who are exploiting shamelesly other naive nations. Psychological manipulation and intimidation is their only real trade.

Bulgarians, just like other nations need to learn not to bow down before this incompetent bunch of worthless petty thieves, who take away anything that is not chained.

Do not expect any free lunches from anybody and do not provide any free lunches to anybody either. Stand up for what is yours. Bulgaria is a proud nation with a proud history and needs to go its own ways, while looking everybody straight in the eyes.

mo - 6 Dec 2006 // 22:53:27


viking - 6 Dec 2006 // 23:04:50


Good to see you back from the "islands"!!
They have to be just slightly less boring than the Florida Keys!
Can you even imagine living there?


mo - 7 Dec 2006 // 02:41:38

Hi Viking,

"They have to be just slightly less boring than the Florida Keys!"

Not possible. The next stage of "relaxation" is death....

Nature in Hawaii is amazing, and if it was run by Europeans, would've been an awesome place.
The native culture is fascinating as well - music food, and so on, but ... as you drive around, there wasn't one enticing place on the road to stop for coffee or lunch.

1.The food was no different from the Mainland. The pineapple juice comes processed from the mainland for COL!

2.The airports are straight out of the 1970's. Remember how do you call those Styrofoam squares on the ceilings? That's Honolulu International for you!
(the same goes for most of the establishments - apparently they have the Berkley flu, where getting a permit for renovating anything is next to impossible).

3.The roads are appalling and make Bulgarian infrastructure look like the South of Germany - my kids took turns in puking in the car on our one and only venture out of the resort..
(to add insult to injury they charged me $23 for "road usage" as I turned the car in - I was almost glad that they got it back all stinky).

4. The nightlife is nonexistent for the most part, nothing unconnected with eating anyway.

5. The government is no less curupt than ours in BG but the locals keep voting for the same Democrats because of the freebies they get.
For the amount of money that goes there (I personally dropped 10K for nothing) their poverty rate is right after Washington DC.

Viking, its never a question for me if I am proud or ashamed to be Bulgarian, because I take my nationality as an unchangeable fact, but this was one of the very rare occasions, when I truly felt proud to be from Bulgaria. Our resorts and lifestyle in them is such a far cry from this dump that it almost makes you feel superior.
It really comes from the culture - the topless babes, the beach bars the, cool cafes, - honestly, I never missed Bulgaria more. .

Sure we have problems, I think the US is losing the "Cool Factor".
This is the last thing I will ever say about Hawaii, and to add that I am never vacationing on American soil again. This country is great for work, and that's about it.

just me - 8 Dec 2006 // 00:21:02

You said, "Sure we have problems, I think the US is losing the "Cool Factor"."
mo--sweetie! Did the US ever have a "Cool Factor?!" I have lived my entire life in the US and I think it's great, really great; but would I ever claim the US had a Cool Factor??? No!!!

Actually, I thought your post was bizarre because I didn't know anyone used that term except for me. In my assessment, Bulgaria has that "Cool Factor." During my first few trips to Germany I thought it had the Cool Factor; and for awhile Austria had it; but the US???

I was in Bulgaria at the same time you were in Hawaii. I still saw the "Cool Factor" in Sofia. And it gets cooler every time. However, I think you saw more exposed female skin in Hawaii than I did in Bulgaria. I did have the opportunity to stop for coffee and to eat in many more charming cafes than you did, but it was so cold that I'd be surprised if anyone went topless, even for showers. ;) It was still cool. At least I saw it that way.

But I digress... I think they have better showers in Hawaii. I LOVE Sofia, as you know, but the handshower hose thingy in our suite bumps the cold water control; and even in the best conditions... a shower still floods the bathroom. I doubt this happens in any decent Hawaiian hotel. (Not that there's anything wrong with that...)

What I meant to say... was that I thought of you yesterday when I was driving in Austin. I saw a very cool Porsche Cayenne. Titanium Metallic. I had to check it out, thinking... that's probably a cool Bulgarian guy, like mo... but ... and I was so disappointed... to find out... that... it was... a pointy-haired... old... never mind!

Sorry you didn't have a great vacation. Sorry your kids puked in the car. Guess you did "the road to Hana?" (And where did they pee?)


mo - 8 Dec 2006 // 01:17:59

Growing up behind the Curtain, we tended to see the US as cool.
I think back then it was cool. At least Hollywood showed us that it is.
Remember films like "Bullet", "The Driver" and countless others?
All you get now is signs: No Alcohol Beyond This Point" - and that is the point where the send of the beach starts!!!
Can you imagine that in BG??? Its illegal to have a beer as you are hanging on your beach chair???
Part of the problem was also that Hawaii was 99% rent-a-cars and most of them American made - a rare sight, but that ruins the scenery right there....

I am envious about your trip, but I only could spare a week and its not worth the jet lag for my kids and all.
Regardless, I spent much time on the phone with the office, trying to control several mini-crises, invariably occurring at the worse possible moment.
That didn't help either.
Welcome back!

mo - 8 Dec 2006 // 01:21:13

if my kids had to pee off the road somewhere, I am sure that I would've been behind bars right now... its America! Everything is illegal!

just me - 8 Dec 2006 // 01:32:45

Yes, mo.
I can sympathize. Peeing off the side of the road is a SIN here, but the road to Hana is LONG and curvy!

I think you and your family owe yourselves a week of jet lag just to get your BG fix. It changes everything! Kids are quite resilient; and to the rest of us- it just doesn't matter!

I can't wait to go back this summer. Come with me and mini.
jm :)

just me - 8 Dec 2006 // 01:34:44

I forgot to say, long and curvy with no bathrooms!

Bill - 8 Dec 2006 // 04:28:22

just me:

The "cool factor" comments interested me. In my experience, every place can be "cool" except the one where you yourself live. I think Germany's a beautiful, fascinating country, but the "natives" don't. You say you've lived in the US all your life, and you don't find it "cool" there. I didn't either, but much of the world wants to go there. I think it's a case of the grass being greener on the other side of the fence. What do you think?

just me - 8 Dec 2006 // 05:14:12

Yes, that's true. Once you live somewhere for awhile or you've visited a place a certain number of times it does lose its "Cool Factor." And if you'd spent your formative years behind the Iron Curtain like mo did, you'd have some different assumptions than you or I did going in. Putting that aside, I think you'd find, as I have, that Bulgaria retains its "Cool Factor" longer than most places, mainly because it is so different from Western Europe or the Americas.

Sorry, but I can't help but insert this note since I have your attention.

I really wish that you'd stop this "I wouldn't slam DA (or whomever) if she hadn't slammed me first" attitude. I wish she would end that attitude, too. YOU'RE BOTH AT FAULT AND NEITHER IS RIGHT! To be quite honest, I like both of you very much, but I do like each of you better when you're not at the other's throat. I like debate, but I do not like what you two have sunk to. (am not, are too, you're stupid, no you are...)

I think that was a pretty neutral way to say it, don't you? PLEASE stop it, because it's the stuff that disaster is made of. You're driving others away. (You're means "y'all are" or maybe even "all a y'all are" in Texan English. We have some very nice additional forms of inclusive pronouns down here... )

Best regards,

Please try. I'm really tired of watching this; and my one of my real pals already has been banned. It's true.

just me - 8 Dec 2006 // 05:23:59

But regarding "the Cool Factor..."

I would really like to hear the opinions of others on the forum, too. What's cool? Where's cool? Is there a place in this world that you thought of as absolutely impeccably COOL? Sofia has places I think of as COOL. London has a few... Anyone?


Bill - 8 Dec 2006 // 06:15:09

just me:

I agree wholeheartedly. It's just terribly difficult to maintain my "cool" when people are denigrating my intelligence, my education, my morals, my profession, and even dragging my religion into it, as though I were some kind of monster. I feel a strong need to fight back, rather than calmly allowing it to continue. I may well be wrong, but my feeling is that if I simply quit I've abandoned the field to the adversaries, and that doesn't sit well, either. Pacifism goes only so far.

It's not in my nature to get into slamming contests, but I can fight if I have to, and I've had to. It's that simple. There's a lot of truth in the saying that a good offense is the best defence, and I've been on the defensive ever since I set foot (so to speak) in this forum. It doesn't give a welcoming atmosphere, when everything you say is responded to with "idiot". Nor is it when I get accused of abysmal ignorance because I don't see the others' viewpoints. Having "my world" ridiculed because I live by a different value system is also abhorrent. I belong to the generation and tradition where extra-marital sex was still considered sinful, although I don't badger those who feel otherwise. Times and morals change, and I try to bend with them, but that doesn't mean I have to stand for a batch of snide remarks because of it.

Bill - 8 Dec 2006 // 07:05:34

just me:

Let me add an observation here. Even the "coolest" places change. When I was in the Navy, I and a couple of like-minded shipmates--those enjoying the culture rather than the bars and brothels--found a wonderful hotel up on the cliffs on Capri. We spent nearly every weekend there. The host family gave us low season rates all the way high season, and if they were booked full, they took the maid into their apartment and gave us the maid's room. The view from the terrace included the whole Bay of Naples, including Vesuvius, and if we walked a little way up the mountain, it also included Sorrento. Those were wonderful years, and we had a number of friends. The hotel is no longer in the hotel listings; I assume it's now a private home.

HOWEVER, a wise man who was experienced in those things wrote that once you've visited a place which you particularly enjoyed, you should never go back, because both it and you will have changed in the meantime. I found this to be true the last time I went back to Naples. In those days it was adventure to ride a bus on the rear platform with one foot on the platform, one arm around the pole, and the rest of the body outside the bus. That's hardly adventure at my age now! Also, if you had a favorite restaurant, and you go back, you find it's turned into a disco, or something of that nature. A friend of mine came over several years ago. I wanted to take him to a wonderful cafГ© in Frankfurt. I couldn't find it, and we walked for a comple of blocks, thinking we were on the wrong street. It finally dawned on me that it had become a Wendy's hamburger joint.!

It can be completely destructive to the nostalgia you had when you went, so I've taken the man's advice and never gone back to Capri, although the tempttion is vicious.

Hairydave - 8 Dec 2006 // 08:00:45

Bill writes;

"It's not in my nature to get into slamming contests" - it obviously is as you've done nothing but that since you arrived on the forum.

"but I can fight if I have to, and I've had to" - no you haven't had to, you've chosen to. No one has to do anything on here, you've just never been able to let anything go wothout having the last word.

"There's a lot of truth in the saying that a good offense is the best defence, and I've been on the defensive ever since I set foot (so to speak) in this forum." - That's your own fault. If you stopped whining now and again and occasionally let someone else have the last word - and even go so far as to admit you weren't always right you'd go far.

"Nor is it when I get accused of abysmal ignorance because I don't see the others' viewpoints." - However pulling other people up on minor spelling erros is open and friendly like?

"Having "my world" ridiculed because I live by a different value system is also abhorrent. I belong to the generation and tradition where extra-marital sex was still considered sinful, although I don't badger those who feel otherwise." - Yes you do, frequently. You often complain and moan at those with a more 'modern' view point.

"Times and morals change, and I try to bend with them," - not that we'd noticed, but that is your right - "but that doesn't mean I have to stand for a batch of snide remarks because of it." Yes, you do - as you are a frequent purveyor of snide remarks yourself.

You are a prime example of the "it's never my fault" mentality. You're no better than anyone else here, you a serial whiner and it's time you realised that you are just as guilty as any participant of being rude, obnoxious and unfriendly. You're also probably more opinionated that anyone here, certainly no less than anyone else. You're no better than the rest of us so STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE!!

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