Taxis, Doctors & Politics (a bit) - 23 July 2010
No, I am writing about the dodgy taxi drivers at the airport, nor the really expensive ones at Sunny Beach. The tobacco picking season is in full swing
in my area so the village is like a ghost town most of the day. The temp is hitting 35C, and my water has been off for a day.
My neighbour Metin came to visit me last night, his new baby boy wanted to sit on my motorbike and go bruum, brumm. And he needed to ask me a favour.
Metins Mother in law has been quite poorly for a while now. I am not sure of the exact condition, but she retains water, a lot of it, she was in Hospital this time needing to get rid of 15 kilos of excess water. So she was quite poorly.
Metin has no car, and asked as the rest of the village was busy picking the tobacco leaves if I could taxi him and his wife to visit their patient. (Obviously after they had done their morning shift 5am -10am in the fields).
So off we go into Kardjali, I enquire as to the normal Health service available here, they seem quite happy about it, they just think that it is expensive. From the facilities that I have seen they may not be ultra modern but they certainly have enough hospitals and staff, and seem on a par with other new countries to the EU, and at least they don't pay for breast enlargement surgery as does the NHS in UK at the expense of the tax payer. Their system seem to be pay as you go or via insurance, with emergency care thrown in free, which is quite similar to a lot of places.
His mother in law has health insurance, but the doctors here still require tipping if you want good service. I found this quite bizarre, I don't like to point out the problems with such practices directly as this can sometimes cause offence. Metin is good friend though, and when I ask about this practice he tells me he thinks Bulgaria is 'Crazy' when it comes to Health care and it is one of the few things that makes people see the communist regime in a good light.
This coming from a Turkish family that was maginalised under Todorov Zhivkov during the communist era just 20 years ago.
So although I have worn rosy coloured glasses in most of my articles, and I really do believe Bulgaria to be a great place to live, I thought I should also point out some of the things that need improvement, without just going for the 'pot holes' in the road. That said even in the last two years that I have been here the improvements have been great, both roads and other infrastructure.