OUT AND ABOUT:
Yes (Da) and No (Ney)
You will undoubtedly be confused, and confuse your hosts, as nodding your head up and down in Bulgaria means NO, and shaking it from side to side means YES!
Tap water is perfectly safe, although in towns and cities may be unpleasant tasting due to chemical treatment. Many drinking fountains are scattered throughout Bulgaria, especially along roadsides in the rural areas, and these natural mineral springs provide excellent and safe drinking water. Many city dwellers 'stock-up' with water from these springs to use at home!
Toilets (WC, Toiletta, H [male], D [female])
It is relatively common to find a small fee being charged to use the toilet (0.10-0.30 Leva). Frequently this fee is for toilet paper that is usually placed next to the money collection bowl outside the toilet! Many places still have 'squat pots' (two steps!) rather than a regular toilet (sit-me-down!).
Two tier pricing
With the relatively low economy in Bulgaria the operation of a two tier pricing system is relatively common, especially in hotels, museums, art galleries, and public monuments. The visitor can expect to pay substantially more than their fellow Bulgarians, but take consolation in the knowledge that the average monthly salary in Bulgaria is approximately 200 Leva.
In some restaurants and hotels a staff gratuity percentage is added to the total price and this is explained on the bill.
Tipping is a personal preference and is provided for excellent service. For small purchases i.e., drinks, any Stotinka given in change can be left, otherwise after for example a meal 5-10% of the total amount can be given as a gratuity.
Many of the musicians in restaurants i.e., in the Mehana in Bansko, play for gratuities received from customers and payment of 10 to 20 Leva is reasonable.
Most street entertainers are simply trying to earn a little extra money, and frequently are jobless. They enrich the daily street life in towns and cities and if you enjoy their entertainment a few Stotinka will be sufficient reward.
You will undoubtedly come across some old people begging through economic hardship and any assistance will be gratefully and humbly appreciated.
In the larger towns and cities, as occurs in almost every country, you are likely to be accosted by gypsy children, and young gypsy women with babies, begging. They are usually highly persistent, frequently belong to organised gangs, and have to hand over their money at the end of the day. Be extremely careful about your personal belongings as such beggars may be operating as a gang with one trying to distract you whilst others try to pick your pockets! Be extremely firm, even to the point of rudeness, and do not give anything as once you give to one you will be a target for all the others working in the area!
Street dogs are usually harmless and are tolerated by the locals. Rabies is a minimal risk, but if you are unfortunate enough to be bitten seek medical assistance immediately.