We crossed the Bulgarian border around 1am. On the night bus from Istanbul pretty much everyone was from Bulgaria on that bus, except for Katrina and I and a Korean couple with two young boys that sat next to us in the back row. They were a very nice couple, English teachers in Sofia, and one of their boys screamed as if possessed for the first several hours of trip. I not so affectionately dubbed him demon baby. We went through various checkpoints at a snail’s pace at the massive complex of a “border.” Apparently drugs and weapons make their way into Europe over this border so getting through is a process. Around 2:30am we shuffled out into the cold with our passports in hand and we looked even more foreign as we the only ones not lighting up. Entereding the small trailer with a Bulgarian passport agent dressed in light green fatigues, he looked at us crookedly and asked “you are traveling through Bulgaria?” Katrina answered, “We’re flying back out of Istanbul in a couple of days.” He stared at us again over our passports and said curiously “And you decided to come to Bulgaria!?” He stamped, we slid out of the trailer and back onto the bus with the screaming child. Welcome to Bulgaria!
In Istanbul we learned that the Turks call Bulgaria, Bulgaristan, so we obviously started calling it Bulgaristan.