Bulgaria: Making a fuel of oneself

This past Sunday afternoon found me on a beach on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea coast, seeking swift respite from the labours of our coverage of the Covid-19 crisis – well, at least until, that afternoon, the Health Ministry changed the rules on night clubs and discos yet again.

In the course of the afternoon, on a near-empty beach, a group of just more than half a dozen or so arrived, and were told by the chap who was in charge of the fees for sunbeds and umbrellas that to comply with the anti-coronavirus measures, they should split into two, to meet the requirements for distancing and the avoidance of crowding.

Rather than paying 10.50 leva for one umbrella and two sunbeds, they should pay for two. Faced with the expense of 21 leva, they left.

Our hosts at the beachside house where we were staying, with its view of the three-quarters empty beach, told us that a year before, for an umbrella and two sunbeds, the fee was 36 leva. Paying for two, thus, 12 months ago would have cost 72 leva. Ah, yes, that was BC (Before Coronavirus) but you get the simple point of the arithmetic. A year before, their group – it was an extended family – would have clustered beneath an umbrella and two sunbeds for 36 leva. This year, they scorned paying 21 leva for two umbrellas and four sunbeds.

Thus the folly of the supposed stimulus for Bulgarian domestic tourism of cut-price sunbeds and umbrellas. All of this on a weekend when, once again, there was traffic to the Kulata bottleneck, sorry, border point to Greece.

It was also the weekend that followed Parliament’s second-reading vote to cause to be a state fuel company.

The rest of this article is available exclusively to subscribers to The Sofia Globe’s Patreon account:

Become a Patron!



Clive Leviev-Sawyer

Clive Leviev-Sawyer is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Sofia Globe. He is the author of the book Bulgaria: Politics and Protests in the 21st Century (Riva Publishers, 2015), and co-author of the book Bulgarian Jews: Living History (The Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria 'Shalom', 2018). He is also the author of Power: A Political Novel, available via amazon.com, and, on the lighter side, Whiskers And Other Short Tales of Cats (2021), also available via Amazon. He has translated books and numerous texts from Bulgarian into English.