Bulgaria wanted to make a surprise for President Bush by adorning its capital with American flags, but failed. Every second flag was facing the wrong way.
"Sofia greets U.S. President George W. Bush with flags upside down," the Trud newspaper headlined Monday about the gaffe.
As it turns out, the flags were not upside down. But every other flagpole along Bush's motorcade route, which followed Sofia's central Tsarigradsko Chausee boulevard, had the stars and stripes mounted in the wrong direction.
Traditionally, American flags are flown with the blue field of stars in the upper left corner. These flags were hung so the blue field was reversed to the right.
Officials in charge of the Bulgarian presidency's state protocol told local media they had received assurances by the company that Sofia City Hall authorized to put up the flags that everything had been coordinated with the U.S. Embassy.
An embassy spokeswoman declined to comment, and by midday Monday, most of the flags seemed to be properly displayed.