Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Day Trip to Skopje

Travelled to Skopje (capital of Macedonia) to apply my Bulgarian visa yesterday. It is ridiculous that I must apply the visa abroad though I’m currently staying in this country. To make it more fun, I received my work permit 8 months after my first application, the bureaucratic process is tedious.

At the Bulgarian custom - border to Macedonia, my finger prints and photo were taken (like fugitive) for profile record. I was ordered to sign a Bulgarian language statement (no one translated to me and I couldn’t understand at all), confirming that I have no objection to be penalized for overstaying in the country. The decree will be given later.

The roads beyond the custom authority of both countries are well paved, but the 50m potholed zone between the 2 offices is an eyesore. A tiny duty free shop is available, selling only liquor, tobacco and perfume.

Skopje is smaller than
Sofia (capital of Bulgaria). In general, the roads are narrower, drivers are less disciplined than Bulgarians, insufficient parking place, more Islamic mosques in the city…

There was a long queue in front of Bulgarian Embassy, guess these Macedonians were hurrying for last minute visa application. Note: The diplomacy status between the 2 countries will be changed when Bulgaria will join EU on 01-Jan-07. Till end of this year, both countries’ citizens could travel freely without visa.

Unfortunately visa section was closed at 12:00pm. Thanks to my colleague’s relentless effort, the Ambassador granted special permission to process my application. The gentleman is polite and helpful.

We took a taxi, but was charged €5 for a couple of km distance, obviously we were slaughtered. A friend said it should cost €1 only!!! Shit! We have to learn from experience.