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A trip to the shop with Ilyas - 12 July 2010




It is when I do nothing out of the ordinary that I realise just how unordinary (to me anyway) that living in a rural community in Bulgaria is completely different and better than living in UK.

A friend and neighbour of mine, Ilyas, asked for a lift into the next village as he needed to pick up some supplies, and his son and car were out of town visiting his brother who is having an operation on a broken hip.

Ilyas, his wife Hatijan, and I set off to Fotinovo at 11:30, they have been up since 5am picking the tobacco as they have every day for the last 6 weeks. It is only 6 Km away and we are soon there. I park the car outside the post office as Hatijan needs to sign some document whilst Ilyas and I sit beneath a walnut tree discussing last nights world cup final.

As Hatijan returns I notice some dark stains on her hand and ask if that comes from picking the tobacco. She looks at me with a smile, and Ilyas has a cheeky grin on his face.

'Boya, Dominic'(Paint) Ilyas comments.

It certainly doesn't look like paint, so I enquire futher.

'Hatijan, kosar, nyama beyelo' (Hatijans hair is not white)

The cheeky grin is now fully understood, Hatijan has the remains of hair dye on her hands from getting rid of the grey streaks. Ilyas thinks this is hilarious and says.

'Hatijan, pensionaire, az mlad' (Hatijan is a pensioner I am a youth)

Which earns him a swift clip around the ear.

We then head off to the building suppliers to pick up some plastic sheeting which they use for keeping the rain off their tobacco whilst it dries in the sun, and some other odds and ends. Much shaking of hands, and greeting of people he knows. He explains to all of them that I am his free taxi for the day knowing full well that I understand and to much chuckling from his friends. They are all eager to introduce themselves and ask me my age, and how many children I have (35 - None). To which the normal reply is 'Why not? Go on, have at least one!'

Off next to the food shop, Hatijan leads the way whilst Ilyas and I have an ice cream outside as it just past midday and 30C. After Hatijan has finished her shopping we go in to help her carry her bags, I am greeted by the shop owner as I live 300m away from her sister and have frequented the shop quite regularly, and she explains this to everyone else in shop, just in case they are interested!

The car is fully loaded and we head back, on the way we are to call in on Hatijans brother for a coffee.

'Cafe, bez paree Dominic' (Free coffee Dominic)

Again with the cheeky grin. Not only do we receive Turkish style coffee (expresso with 12 sugars), as it is very hot we also get 'Ayran' a sort of yogurt drink that is very refreshing.

Ilyas and I inspect the garden. Due to the strange weather we have had so far this summer our tomatoes and cucumbers have not been as successful as normal. Hatijans brother however has created a type of poly tunnel and his were absolutely great. Ilyas and I decide that next year we will also be making greenhouses.

Our comments about his tomatoes and cucumber starts a flurry of activity, and we are both handed enough to last a week, and told to come back if we run out.

As we get back to Samodiva the heavens open and it gives me time to type this.

Not quite a trip Tescos on a Friday evening, a trip to the shop in rural Bulgaria is actually enjoyed rather than seen as a chore.

 


 
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