“Travels to a Different Time” : 25July73: Two Plane Crashes Augments Anxiety: Taking My Chances with Balkan Airways: I am a Martian Who has Landed in Bulgaria

Today is a big travelling day with Bulgarian airline Balkan Airways flying from Athens to Sofia in Bulgaria. Two very recent crashes are in the news. One a Pan Am crash and the other an Ozark Airlines crash in St. Louis. Woke up at 8 a.m. and could have slept in but that would have meant missing breakfast. Had a good hot shower wondering what the hot water situation in Bulgaria will be. I carefully put my ponytail behind my collar and put on the most decent clothes I brought. Cold toast and some cake for breakfast and I managed to get some more cake from an English couple who were not eating it. Taxi to airport and the flight was delayed for two hours so passengers got a voucher for a free beverage. After a two hour delay we boarded the plane full of seedy looking men in poor quality suits. On a Russian TU-134 which looks like a DC-9. The interior of the lane was a dull gray and the tables a slab of grey metal. The seats were small and the stewardesses very dour. Take-off was smooth and I must admit I was nervous given the two plane crashes. Lunch was amusing; a salami sandwich and a thick plastic cup they filled with mineral water. They didn’t announce the landing so when the engines suddenly switched power I thought this is it! But we landed on a bumpy tarmac. Everything is so green here like Canada. Customs was a breeze and they, unlike the paranoid East Germans didn’t bother to look at the luggage. I felt like a Martian with so many people staring at me and my long shoulder length hair liberated from its ponytail. I took an 84 bus into Sofia and then a number 10 tram. I managed to find a state tourist office which had a poster for a student dormitory and in the rain caught a #14 tram out in the suburbs. Loads of Iraqis and Turks around. Holding my money tight. I shared my room with an Italian student and popped out went to bed after listening to some opera as that was the only clear station the radio could pick up.

Wreckage from the Ozark Airlines crash; Photo George Sayer
Plane crashes made the author nervous!

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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