Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda ...

Trip Start Jul 20, 2011
Trip End Aug 07, 2011

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Where I stayed
Fourfifteen Hostel Sunny Beach
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Bulgaria  , Burgas,
Friday, July 29, 2011

If Vegas Vic, the famous Las Vegas neon cowboy ...

Were to take Minnie Mouse to the Playboy Mansion and hook up with her ...

And then Lenin came by ...

And took a shit all over their love child ...

Then you'd have ... Sunny Beach!!!  It's the worst of all worlds, the brash over-the-top glitz of Las Vegas, a former Eastern Bloc country bursting at the seams with capitalist expansion, and the cheese of Disneyland ... it's not The Happiest Place On Earth, it's the Crappiest Place On Earth!

Shame on me for procrastinating - the alternative to staying in Sunny Beach was Nesebar, where there was what appeared to be a decent little hostel available.  But having put off the decision until I got to Bulgaria, that decent little hostel was no longer available, and I ended up at in Sunny Beach, where the hostel seems to be the only decent part of this resort town.  Coulda, woulda, shoulda ... sigh ...

But there was a chance to make amends, at least in some way - Nesebar is only a 15 minute bus ride away, and provided a much-needed escape from the Eurotrash hell I was stranded in.  Now don't get me wrong ... I like Eurotrash at times, even loving it when it's presented in the right way.  Take Budva last year, for example - as Eurotrashy as it gets, I still had a blast, because of meeting some nice people at a super-cool guesthouse, and also because it had the most beautiful and ancient little old town.  Was it touristy?  Excessively.  Tacky?  Without a doubt!  For all its faults, at least Budva was a real place with real history - any tackiness that sprouted from that was a result of that history and the natural beauty of the place.  But Sunny Beach ... what can I say about it???!?!??!!

Nesebar is also super-touristy, and borderline tacky ... however, it still has some charm, and reminded me much more of Budva than Sunny Beach, for all of the right reasons.  Originally founded by Greek colonists in 512 BC, Nesebar is steeped in history unlike Sunny Beach, which only a few decades ago was just a glimmer in the eye of greedy developers, shimmering like a big bag of diamonds or safe filled with bars of gold.  Nesebar is still 90% touristy, but that's still infinitely better than Sunny Beach, which defies all mathematical principles by being a bajillion percent artificial and touristy.  Nesebar made for a pleasant escape for the day.   

After returning to Sunny Beach, I half-heartedly attempted to search for a nice place for dinner tonight ... I briefly considered an Asian food court offering stir fries, pad thai, and sushi, but what was splattered on people's plates neither looked nor smelled appealing.  In the end, I decided to eat back at the hostel - earlier, I had gotten a sneak preview of the tasty-looking mixed grill they offer.  I'd rather give my money to hostel, which offers food and drink at prices closer to what you find in the rest of Bulgaria.  The owners are also good people, and I much prefer to spend my money with them instead of further lining the pockets of fat cat developers that are wrecking the Black Sea.  It's still hypocritical to spend even a penny in this town, since it wouldn't even exist without those developers. However, if I need to buy anything in Sunny Beach, doing so at the hostel is at least some small protest against all that is wrong here.    

Even Bulgarians that benefit from all this over-development and unsustainable tourism, those that work in Sunny Beach and other similar Black Sea resorts during the tourist season, readily admit that it's nothing like the real Bulgaria.  But what can you do?  Bulgaria is one of the poorest countries in the European Union, one where the average monthly salary is something like 350 Euros per month.  For most Bulgarians, for all its warts, the Black Sea resorts are still a positive for the country, with all the foreign money it brings in - it is what it is, a necessary evil. 
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