Postcards from Sofia

Day 1: Arriving


We had been warned about choosing the right airport taxi. There is an official taxi company, O.K. Taxi, which is okay, and a knock-off version, OK Taxi, which, of course, is not okay. Either way, I like the idea of an okay taxi. “How was your ride?” “Okay.”

Our curator met us at the airport. She brought her six-year-old son with her. He sat in the back seat of the taxi with us, and he chatted amiably throughout the thirty-minute O.K. Taxi ride. He didn’t seem to mind that we couldn’t understand a word he said. Children are used to adults not listening. They just carry on.

The way into Sofia from the airport is lined with miserable looking concrete blocks of apartments. I assume these utilitarian buildings are a legacy of communism.

We go for dinner after dropping off our luggage. The curator leads us over the uneven pavement of dark streets. She tells us the names of the streets, talks about scheduling, tells us about people we should meet, gives us directions to places she says we need to go. I stumble along nodding as if I understand.

The Bulgarian travel guides advise you to keep your head still when speaking, because in Bulgaria they nod their heads up and down for no, and back and forth for yes. Walking though the dark streets, I had no words, so I found myself nodding like a bobble-head doll. The curator seemed to understand that my ‘yes’ meant ‘no’ and my ‘no’ meant ‘yes.’ (Perhaps that’s a curator’s job.)



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