Rushing Regretfully Toward Ivanovo

What follows is a travel story, about a trip where I took a great many photos. However, I may not post any photos in the article. Why? Well first of all, I am a profoundly lazy person, and the drudgery of digging through thousands of photos to find the least blurry ones, cropping them, and then resizing them hardly seems worth the nothing I am getting paid to write these posts.

And second, because photos would only get in the way of this self-pitying reflection on the bitter impermanence of all things.

I visited Bulgaria for the first time in 2016. I staggered in by bus from Thessaloniki, Greece with few expectations, and was immediately charmed. It was my first time in the Balkans, and I was fascinated by the characteristic intersection of the Slavic and Turkic worlds. I was intrigued by the combination of post-Communist stodginess and Mediterranean warm-heartedness. Also, it probably didn’t hurt that all the women looked like supermodels.

I spent some time in the capital of Sofia, where I managed to destroy my new phone while struggling to figure out the intricacies of a Southeastern European washing machine. (In case you’re wondering, you have to, like, put your clothes inside some sort of suspended cage while water sprays willy-nilly in every direction. And while you’re panicking, the lid comes crushing down and smashes the screen on your brand new phone.) And finally, with my barely operable phone, I left Sofia to continue on my journey. Read More

Some Thoughts on Canine Society

I recently took a trip to Zacatlan, Puebla. It’s technically a small city, but certainly feels more like an overgrown country town, in the best possible sense. The town has many delights to offer – Apples, great food, gorgeous mountain views, gregarious locals, apple-flavoured beverages, and apple-flavoured condiments. But one thing I always enjoy when visiting this type of town in Mexico is observing the free movement, congregation, and comings and goings of the local dogs, which wander from sidewalk to street to highway without an apparent care in the world. They gather freely for their inscrutable purposes, sniff each other’s butts, and eventually disperse, heading off on their next adventure.

Some of these dogs may be homeless, and some may have owners who simply let them roam without worry. Sometimes the homeless ones are obvious, and quite a tragic sight to behold. But in other cases, they’ve been on the receiving end of enough luck and/or tasty handouts from the local humans for the distinction to not be obvious. Either way, one of the wonderful things about dogs is that they do not discriminate on the basis of class. They have their friends and enemies, of course, and they choose them based on some mysterious set of criteria, of which smell is presumably close to the top. But happily, it seems that a disgusting skin or eye disease is no obstacle to the formation of a friendship or a strategic alliance. Read More