The very next day was Wine Day. Ian and I headed out to a small town for a festival and then opted to head out to meet Kuncho at his villa! He walked us through the Bulgarian tradition. We took a sip of wine, cut the vine, poured out a sip of wine on the plant, and then made an awkward necklace from the vine we'd just cut. And then we feasted for hours!
Running through the forest in Portland, Ian got hit in the face by a bat. The mammal kind. His thought he must have rabies and was to receive the fourth shot while in Bulgaria. His doctors told him it would be okay in Bulgaria but I tried to get things lined up anyway.
Iliyan called his friend, a doctor, to ask about administering the final shot. His friend said that Bulgaria stopped carrying the proper vaccine two years ago and that Ian needed to bring it with him. Of course that wasn't going to happen so we called the same doctor again who then said he could order the vaccine.
Now that we had a plan, everything was okay. Ian came, we traveled a bit, and two days before he was to receive said shot, the doctor called and said he needed 10 days for the shot to be shipped to him. Hhhh... We were in Sofia at the time and changed our plans to find another option in Sofia.
The hostel folks called the local infectious diseases place which said they had the vaccine. What they meant was, they had a vaccine. Another typical experience of someone not listening to the whole question - this stems from a genuine disinterest in anything.
When we arrived and presented the problem, the got really angry, really quickly and told us to go away. They had a different vaccine and didn't want to mix vaccines. I thought this would be our only option so I used my tricks and convinced them that Ian's doctor had approved the Bulgarian version. Once we got passed that, they saw that he was one day early according to his schedule.
They again got angry and told us to leave. We said we had to be in Varna and that Varna didn't have an option for vaccines. They said he could get the vaccine in Varna. I asked where. They said somewhere. And then they kicked us out. Fail.
In Varna we played the same game at one hospital reception. The gal sent us to another reception in a different part of the hospital. That gal sent us to the third floor, room 304! Woo hoo! Got to the door at 13:30 and saw a sign that said the working hours are 7:00 - 13:00... I knocked anyway and a nurse came to the door. I went through my spiel and she told me to come back tomorrow morning. They were closed. I really emphasized that he had to receive his shot today and they were the only place. She said go find somewhere else.
Back to the first reception for more arguing. Found a doctor that was sympathetic to our situation and told us another place in the hospital where we could ask. Went there to find another angry nurse. She listened to our spiel and asked us why we didn't get to the right place before 13:00... Hhhhh... She said there was one doctor that gives these shots and if she's not here, then tough luck. She left and came back 5 minutes later with a doctor!!!
The doctor wanted to know all of my information (?) because I had been translating the whole time, but eventually she just nodded her head and left. Then the angry nurse gave Ian a shot! Woo hoo! Didn't matter that she had said there was only one doctor that gave these shots. We were happy to have accomplished a rather difficult mission.
I asked her for a receipt to know how much he owed. She asked why. I told her has to pay, right? Then she berated us for being late to room 304, and said that we were supposed to pay there, but since we didn't, we couldn't pay. She said that if we wanted, we could leave a tip if it was from our hearts. Ha ha. Okay. Ian left her 20 levs and she said she'd have coffee with the doctor.
Pretty odd situation for us to experience, but it's so absolutely normal in Bulgaria. This is why our party friends thought it was so funny.
Anyway, fun stories and jokes, great food and wine! It was the perfect way to celebrate for hours. And it finished in a beautiful fashion with the dirtiest communist of them all singing a beautiful song! What a voice! This video doesn't do it justice. In the moment, it was really incredible!