Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Cost of Bulgarian Umbrellas

Let's make it clear right from the start - it could very well be that there are no umbrellas produced in Bulgaria. Therefore, we're talking about imported ones, and more specifically about umbrellas made in China but sold locally.

It all started back in August, on our family trip to Prague. It was pouring rain. Merav, Erez and I were walking around Prague Castle while Jodie, Reut, Nir and Daniela went back to the center of the town to wait for us. I had a nice umbrella then. Merav was without an umbrella so as we left the castle, I bought one for her.

The red umbrella bought in Prague was not a good one, so I ended up trading what I had with Merav. I returned to Bulgaria with a defective umbrella.

Since the beginning of October, we have only seen the sun once in Sofia, and that was yesterday. On most mornings I've walked to work in a mist, and at other times it's been drizzling. Never really pouring rain, but always rain.

Recently I looked for a new umbrella at the mall near our house. The only place I found umbrellas on sale was at Marks and Spencers, where they were going for 65 BGN (almost 170 Israeli shekels). I decided to make due with my defective red umbrella a little while longer.

Jodie's coworker said she bought umbrellas on the second floor at the open market near our office for only 2 BGN. They broke quickly, she admitted, but then she would just buy a new one.

I wondered how there could be a second floor at an open market, but surely enough, when I came to the market on my walk home for work, I found a set of stairs near the grocery store leading up to a second floor bazaar, full of small shops with household goods and clothing.

I bought a new umbrella, of course made in China, for 3 BGN. I wonder how long it will last me. In the meantime, the weather forecast is promising more sunshine over the weekend. We'll see if the sun shines in Sofia or if I end up needing yet another new umbrella.

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