Monday, June 29, 2015

Prom 2015: Go Big or Go Home

Good evening peeps.   Summer vacation is underway, and I have spent the first week of vacation spending time with great friends visiting, cleaning out and rearranging stuff in the soon the be fabulous classroom, and spending four days with a sore throat and minor stomach flu.  That's right, Mr. Joseph got sick either from students, staff, or part of some X-file plan to pay me back for writing about driving in Bulgaria.   Since I am feeling a tad better after feeling like leftover rubbish even the gypsy horse carts pass by, I am finally writing the issue I've been meaning to write about:  Prom.

A high school prom may be quite the event in the United States, so of course Bulgarians have decided to taking celebrating prom to cray cray levels.  As I was speaking with one Bulgarian friend, she said there were things we'd do at 18-19 that we'd never do when we're 21 or older.  In Bulgaria, that is definitely the case.  There is the strong belief (especially outside of Sofia) that the end of high school is the high point of your life, and afterward your life will pretty much amount to nothing.  While it could be watching too much My Sweet 16 on MTV, Bulgarians really 'go big or go home' when it comes to prom season.

Prom in Bulgaria:

For a prom, it is not unusual for some families to take out a $3,000 - 6,000 Euro loan to pay for prom expenses for their son or daughter.  This is what 3,000 - 6,000 Euros could get you for a prom dress.   In the past few years, prom has been about showing your friends that you family has the funds to purchase the most fabulous dress you could ever want to wear, even if this dress is never easy to wear.

If you think the dresses are extreme, so are the cars.  In the U.S., you get a limo, but here it is you must get the fanciest car possible, and limos aren't the thing to drive around town hanging out the windows.  ,It is quite common for people to pay lots of money to rent out an expensive car for the evening.  This girl arriving to prom in a Lamborgini is very normal.  So are people counting to 12 and dancing away in the streets.

Prom season during the Peace Corps was nowhere near as pricey, as people didn't have the ability to take out large loans to do such things.  In the past 7-8 years, people want to show off and do, even if it puts them in debt forever.  In small towns, the prom is one of the big events of the year, and people will line up to take pictures of the outrageous dresses, cars, and drunken debachary.  Three years ago, George and I observed prom weekend in Plovdiv, and there were about a thousand people milling about the Princess hotel to see how cray cray people were willing to do, and they delivered like Dominos Pizza.

Sadly, I cannot find the pictures, but the videos below give you an idea out of some of the outrageously funny things we saw that weekend.  I strongly suggest we do a May 2016 prom trip to Pazardjik or Pernik next year.  Sure there is the Rose Festival and Kukeri, but how can we miss out on ALL THIS:

Arriving to Prom in a Tractor

Arrive to Prom in Style

Prom on Journalist Square May 25th, 2015:

This year, I was fortunate to have a high school class or two from Pernik has one of their stops actually be on Journalist's Square.  It's an unusual stop for a group out of town, as usually we're just a stop at 1am or 2am for drunken high school students to get alcohol for their after party.  New in 2015, people actually need to stay in cars, and cannot hang out like mad fools driving 180 kph driving around town.

While I was woken up from a nap and thrilled, it was not as funny the call I got from Rebecca, our librarian at school.  There was a 70s/birthday party that some people got quite 'happy'.  Rebecca was having a peaceful Sunday hibernation, only to be disturbed by serious honking and expensive cars.

Last year we were the drunken pit stop, so I was thrilled to grab shots of these Pernik kiddos celebrating their graduation.  Enjoy the picture show and the commentary, and notice how the prom dresses are much classier than they were a few years ago (I guess no one wants to be an internet sensation anymore).

The first signs something was going to happen on the square when a Corvette honks and parks on the street with three ladies wearing classy dresses.  
This son was driven by mom in the family Audi.  Kudos for not spending money on an outrageous car and for driving the family car.  Sadly, mom wasn't the best at parking, and I thought her car was going to be taken out by the 12 tram.  
10 tram driver in the back easily got behind schedule due to the entourage from Pernik.  The bell ringing on that tram lasted a good bit of time, all to no avail.   
The lead girls (the girl in the turquoise dress was riding in the Corvette, so her family had money, or took out quite the loan) heading their class up the hill to either Forno Cippolini or to play board games with Boris and Marinella.  I am going with board games.
The photographer recording events of the evening.  I was quite impressed that all the girls were in somewhat classy dresses, and there were no hoochie mama dresses to be found.  
The ceremony of counting to `12 on the walk up to play board games with Boris and Marinella.  I sure hope they had enough wine and whiskey for them.
The still sober crowd walking up the hill.  
The Pernik peeps even had a camera man to record the night's festivities.  That way, when they're 40, they can relive the memories with their families, or be shamed for what they were doing on the internet in future years.  
The traffic jam caused by the entourage of cars were not pleasing the tram 12 or 18 drivers.  There were lots of tram bells ringing to no avail.  For these Pernik kids, this was their moment and that tram is going to have to wait, no matter what.  
This guy was the 'I'm too cool to be with the rest of the group' from Pernik.  While he wanted to be participate in prom, he obviously did not want to walk with the others.  
The 10 tram has moved about 100 meters in 15 minutes, and is ticked off by the Mercedes driver parking in front of the tracks.  
The owner of the Corvette was proud to show off his engine to the other luxury car drivers.  
Allegedly, a 28 year old man in the blue shirt escorting his 19 year old girlfriend to the prom.  
These two were my favorite, because it's 6pm on Sunday, and they've done a half a bottle of Jack Daniel's each.  But, it isn't enough for one of them, as he has to take the bottle to play board games with Boris and Marinella.  Please note these two weren't rude, just funny.  

The boys realizing they've lost the rest of the group, and cannot share in the festivities at Boris and Marinella's.  Allegedly, they're calling their friends, but like Owen, appear lost even though their friends are about 100 meters away. 

Since the phone didn't work, they managed to get it together and politely asked a guy for directions.  He showed them the correct way to get to Marinella's to play board games.  

Board games are over, and now it's time for the next stop, which is probably to take pictures in front of Parliament and Nevski before the sun goes down, then to a club to dance the night away. 
The first to enter, and the last to leave.  These ladies are showing their peeps they're going to take care of their tribe for the night, but forgot to stop at Avanti for discounted spirits and wine.
Leaving Journalist Square

This BMW made up for itself by some great balloon coverage.  

The red car could have racing stripes, but no balloons sadly.  

I wonder how much it is to rent a Corvette for the night with a driver.  
The entourage leaves Journalist Square around 7:30pm, and luckily didn't come back for alcohol around 1am to wake me up.  Asante Sanaa prom, and until next May 2016.