Skalitsa Snake Talk

You see them on the Bulgarian roads you here stories about them every day in the village and to be quite honest most Bulgarians absolutely hate them. Were are talking about snakes. There are many varieties of snakes in Bulgaria, but two species are poison. Most that are seen are the non-venomous ones but they are frightening as they can grow to over two metres in length.

Now the reason I’m talking about snakes is that this last weekend we had our beloved neighbours Rosa and Sacho to sit with us in the garden on this very warm Saturday night. They work so hard it makes you feel guilty about stopping working yourself at around 8:00 in the evening! It is summer time and the work clock starts at 5:30 and finishes at around 9:00 in the evening. If you know about Bulgarians and what they call work then you know it’s not 100 mph throughout that time, but just doing things either at work or on the farm, it the duration that kills not the effort.

They agreed to come around at 21:00 but I knew that was not going to happen. So, I started some kyufte (minced hamburgers) on the barbeque at exactly 9:00 and Galia started making the salad at 9:30 both of us knowing that we had another hour before they turned up. Well I was wrong they turned up at 10:10, they were ten minutes late from their Bulgarian 9:00.

The talking eating and drinking commenced for the rest of the evening but the dominating talk was about snakes.

Rosa is absolutely petrified of snakes; no matter how big or small venomous or non-venomous she is 'out of her pram' just at the mention of them. Then there’s Sacho who just shrugs the fear by putting his head back and doing the traditional Bulgarian call of ‘Aaaaaaayyyyyy!’ This means lots of things but in this case because it wasn’t a very convincing call I know he’s not keen on snakes either.

I’ve seen him before when confronted with one, he is a nervous wreck but his Bulgarian manhood is at stake as he tried to defend his fearlessness with them. We often joke about the snakes that Rosa is so scared off and when the topic comes up, and it does quite often, we ask whether it is big enough for barbeques doing the slicing action with our hands. Each time Rosa never finds this funny but we still say it every time with both Sacho and myself cracking up.

Today Rosa found a very big snake in her house. Sacho was summoned and on the scene within minutes but on their return the snakes had disappeared. This snake had been in another neighbours house earlier in the day. This was known as Rosa described the snake as being over two metres in length and slightly blood stained around the head, she though it had just finished a meal. This was not the case as Sacho was called to help at the neighbour’s house, in the kitchen; they were just as scared as Rosa.

Sacho plucked up the courage to get a long stick and whack it a few times to stun it and grab hold of its tail and drag it outside. Then in a lasso fashion he tossed it into the field giving actions sitting down nearly hitting Rosa sitting next to him in the process as he explained.

This thin man who stood well over 6 feet high, then stood up and put his hand another half a metre above his head showing how long this snake was. Just like showing me how big the fish he caught last year that had apparently shrunk in during the freezing process in his chest freezer a few days later, I knew this snake might be a bit smaller than he made out.