Sunday, 20 September 2009

Field of Broken Dreams

It's Sunday morning, I don't have any hot news stories to post,so I thought I'd just give you some musings about people, mainly British in Bulgaria.

People from the UK have been coming here in large numbers since the Communist period, when Bulgaria was one of the few Eastern bloc countries with a large Western tourist trade.I still meet people who have been coming here since the 1970's and can regale you with many a fine story about that time.

From roughly 2003, the nature of the foreigners here changed.They were not coming here simply as tourists, but to buy property.Some of these actually came to live here.

British people living abroad in large numbers first happened in the 1980's, virtually entirely in Spain.It was cheap and the sun actually shone quite alot.There are well in excess of a million British people in Spain.

Bulgaria was a relative 'Johnny come lately'. It offered what Spain could no longer; cheap property and a very high standard of living for little money.

Now things have changed yet again, Bulgaria is nowhere near as cheap as it used to be, the pound has slumped and the world is in recession causing the property market to collapse.

Now the underlying tensions in the ex-pat lifestyle rise to the surface.People are starting to run out of money and are having to return to the UK, to restart their lives yet again.Many marriages are breaking up under the strain (Although many cannot survive the pressures of the lifestyle out here).

Many people are resorting to drinking heavily, principally because it's cheap and freely available as there are no licensing laws here.

Basically it's Spain all over again.The Bulgarian press delights in stories about the antics of the 'English'.

Meanwhile those of us who work out here continue to struggle with an abysmal economic situation.

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