When we took a vacation in Bulgaria our eldest son decided that he would like to try his hand at fishing. Frankly fishing is a complete mystery to us, however, I tried my best to fulfil his hopes and ambitions. I went down to our local Woolworths store and bought him a very nice little fishing rod in its own holder complete with all the necessary accoutrements. He was delighted, and could hardly wait for us to arrive at our destination.
The seaside where we stayed had a little wooden jetty, which we headed for as soon as we had settled and unpacked. Arriving at the jetty, we discovered a whole row of elderly men already fishing and seated on little stools. They seemed to have only bamboo canes with lots of little hooks attached all the way down their line. We watched them for a while pulling in loads of little silver fish, before daring to reveal our rod. Eldest son assembled his rod and turned the fishing reel which made a delightful metallic click, click, click sound as the line was lowered into the sea. As this happened all of the little old men turned their heads towards us and looked on in admiration at our 'Woolworths best'. However, after a while, we had caught absolutely nothing whilst their buckets were spilling over with fish. Eventually one of the men, with a fine set of gold teeth, came over to offer some help. It was then we learnt that every fishing situation requires different hooks and bait, not the simple pop any old bit of bait on and hope for the best. The man became extremely excited about the ‘Woolies’ rod and indicated that he wished to have it. We kept saying “no” “no” pointing out that we had only just arrived, and that it was our son's. We did, however, indicate that he could have the rod at the end of our holiday.
The following day we were sitting on the beach, enjoying the sand and ozone, when in the distance we saw a camel led by a little old man. As the vision came nearer, we realised that it was our little man with the golden teeth again. When he spotted us, he came rushing over with the camel, and started saying “hey English” making gesticulations of winding in the fishing line. From then on, we could hardly go anywhere without him suddenly appearing around the corner, and grinning at us.
On our final evening, we decided to go to a restaurant hidden deep in the forest that fringed the coast. We had learnt that they had musicians playing gypsy folk music and wearing local costumes. We were having a lovely time enjoying the whole atmosphere when we suddenly became aware of a person taking photographs, and who should it be, but our little grinning man again? He was so excited when he saw us, and insisted on taking our photograph, and checking on the time we were leaving the next day. He said that he would send us the photograph free of charge, so we gave him our address. We did not expect anything to arrive from him, but as you can see we were proved wrong.
Next morning he was standing on the steps to our hotel ready to receive the fishing rod. I do hope that he had more luck with it than we did. I had visions of him turning up on the jetty that day and showing it off to all the other men.
Picture taken by the fisherman/camel-man/photographer - a “Jack of all trades”.
Further post on Bulgaria here