“Travels to a Different Time” : 2August1973: All Over Bulgaria and Yugoslavia: 30 Years in Bulgarian Prison For Smuggling Turkish Hashish

I hopefully have a few decades of travelling ahead of me but my 30 years sentence for smuggling Turkish hashish out of Bulgaria could make that wish a bit of problematic. I was up at 6 a.m.in Sofia taking the tram as close to the highway as I could go. Right tram wrong direction. What the hell might have continued south to Thessaloniki in Greece. But back on the tram in the right direction. With my back aching a long walk to the autoroute and snagged a lift with some Austrians to the Bulgarian border. Now parents and kids listen close. It is stupid trying to smuggle dope through any border particularly through the Bulgarian border. The Bulgarian border guard stamped my passport and I thought I had made it! But with an evil glint in his eye he stopped me and did a through pat down even checking my money pouch. He then looked at me in the eyes after he found the Italian stiletto in my back pocket and said, “Turkish Hashish?” Pardon my grammar but there were multiple “FUCKS” screaming in my head. Badly shaken I looked him in the eye and said, “NO TURKISH HASHISH”. He stared me down the idiot I was for not hiding my long hair in a ponytail and putting it under my collar. He waved me on to the Yugoslavian border. I walked quickly through the Yugoslav frontier. I walked into Yugoslavia shaking and felt like puking. I could have been easily planted with hash and carted away to prison for a very long time. I doubt that Bulgarian prisons are much to look forward to. I sat at the side of the road in the sun at a petrol station in a fog and a guy came up to me saying he was Canadian and saw a Canadian flag on my knapsack. I told him my story and he said I looked like I was badly shaken and that I needed a drink so we stopped for a lunch and the two beers were just what the doctor ordered. Was that border guard just having some fun? Was someone up there looking out for me? He left me off at Skopje and I booked a bus ticket to Titograd.

Is this What the Bulgarian Border Guard Thought?

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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