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Useful Tips About Bulgaria
Bulgarian Useful Tips

Bulgarian Useful Tips


Thanks to Sofia Echo

Interesting Things To Know When In Bulgaria

  1. Exchange bureaus are obliged to display, on properly visible and easily accessible boards, information about rates and information about the right of a client to stop the deal before signing a contract. If the client reverses the deal, the cashier is obliged to fully reimburse the money. Exercise caution, because attempted fraud is a frequent problem, and try to find out the official exchange rate before commencing a transaction.
  2. Taxis. Choose a reputable company, like OK Supertrans and 19280. Ensure the driver turns on the meter at the start of the journey, and keep a careful eye out about whether it seems to be running unusually fast. Check that the taxi has the oval disk in the windscreen as required by law: if it's missing, chances are you are in a pirate taxi. The law requires drivers to issue a printed receipt for the fare.
  3. Smoking is ubiquitous in Bulgaria and non-smoking sections in restaurants are extremely rare. A new law is set to change this in 2005, but the question mark over how effectively it will be implemented.
  4. Most large cinemas show films with their original soundtracks and sub-title them. The same applies to rented videocassettes. However, films for children are usually dubbed. Check The Sofia Echo for weekly cinema listings.
  5. Shopping. Large supermarkets such as Billa, Metro and Fantastico offer a wide range of local and imported products. In smaller shops, the standard and friendliness of service tends to vary. Customer service is a concept with which shop assistants are still getting acquainted, with varying degrees of success.
  6. When Bulgarians nod their heads up and down, they mean NO. When they move their heads from side to side, they mean YES.
  7. Wedding bands on worn on the right hand, not the left as in the West.
  8. Corruption continues to be a problem, so beware, even of the police. Always carry the number of your embassy/consulate and lawyer, just in case.
  9. Make sure that you obey the law regarding the registration of foreigners, because it is being applied with increasing eagerness. Failing to register within 48 hours of arrival can mean heavy fines and other hassles.
  10. When paying for something in a restaurant or shop, do not expect to always get the correct change. It is common practice to round up the sum, and not in your benefit.
  11. Credit card acceptance is still very rare. Make sure you carry enough cash for your needs.
  12. Tipping is optional but becoming increasingly standard practice. About 10 per cent to 15 per cent is customary.
  13. Making a toast when drinking liquor is de rigeur. When toasting, raise your glass and lightly clink it with all the others present, while looking the people with you in the eye (to not look them in the eye is rude) and saying, (naz drave) (good health to you). If there are 10 people at the table, you do this with all 10.
  14. Toilet facilities are much improved compared to 10 years ago, but can be off-putting, particularly in older establishments and outside the larger cities. Most modern fuel stations, restaurants, hotels and bars have facilities of an acceptable standard. But elsewhere you may be confronted by nothing more than a hole in the floor, and no toilet paper. Always carry Kleenex with you. Places often charge for the use of toilet facilities, currently usually in the 20 to 50 stotinki range.
  15. The temperature in buildings is controlled centrally by the city. They decide when to turn it on, usually around November, and switch it off, usually around March.
  16. Name Days are celebrated in addition to birthdays. A Name Day is celebrated by people whose name is derived from that of a Saint's Day being celebrated. The person having a Name Day usually brings confectionery to the office for colleagues to share. Bulgarian tradition is that one may call uninvited on a person celebrating a Name Day, to wish them well.


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