e premte, maj 30, 2008

Crime of fashion

I ask you, who would wear a white suit?

This is a photo from the shop at the bottom of our apartment building. I wonder who will buy this, and when they will wear it and why?!

In fact I did see an Albanian wearing a white suit once. He was with his father and they were trying to get on the ferry to go to Italy. I was with an Italian and he turned to me laughing and asked,
" Does he really think he is going to walk about Italy in a white suit?!"

In the end he was refused entry to the ferry and was turned away, with his father shouting and arguing that their documents were all in order.

It left me thinking that maybe his documents WERE all in order and it was really the "fashion police" that had arrested him! ;-)

e premte, maj 23, 2008

Death of Top Channel owner

Waking up to the news of the death in a road accident in central Tirana of Dritan Hoxha aged 39, the owner of Top Channel media.

Hoxha was married with 4 children.

Prayers are for his family.

Still a little unclear as to the actual cause and exact circumstances surrounding the accident.

Pictures and better information ( as always) can be found here.

Video below.

e diel, maj 18, 2008

Albania 1987

Delighted to find this link on the internet.

A fascinating read, of an Englishman's visit to Albania.
Covering Shkoder, Lezhe, Kruje, Tirana and Berat.

here is a short extract...
"Albanian vehicles were produced but many old diesel vehicles from the People's republic of China were still in use. We looked in at a watch repairers shop, where behind the screen an old man was working on clocks and watches that would rarely be seen in junk shops in Britain. Perhaps one of the few digital clocks in the country is the big one over the State Bank of Albania in Tirana.

"Make do and mend" is common; one of our group related the tale of a shop where holes in plastic buckets are repaired by a man with a hot iron, melting and joining the plastic. Plastic goods are produced by the country's developing petrochemical industry, and can be seen in shops. But perhaps due to the low national wage (said to be kept within a 2:1 ratio of 500 to 1000 Lek a month) and the thrifty nature of Albanians, all kinds of goods are kept functioning as long as possible, if at all repairable. Another example was a motorbike windshield which was apparently broken at some time and had all the pieces glued back together like crazy paving. "

Some great photos as well.

Hope you enjoy it!

I certainly did!

e shtunë, maj 17, 2008


I was back in Tirana again this week , a couple of times getting the car fixed - £1000 of repairs :-(

Anyway, as there was no point in sitting around the garage, I walked around Tirana. It is far less stressful walking than driving!!
Still, Tirana is far too busy and noisy for me....so I decided to walk through the lanes and backstreets rather than the main roads.

What a change!

There were a number of times I couldn't hear ANY traffic, and I was alone in a quiet, peaceful street with few high rise apartments to be seen. the birds were singing and I felt like it was the old Tirana that I saw on my very first visit almost 15 years ago.

That inspired me to go back to the apartment I visited on my first full day in Tirana.
As it was on a main road, I had to walk on the busy street...but I was looking for any kind of shop or sign that reminded me of my first visit....but so much has changed.
Then I saw this....

What a breath of fresh air!
That must have been there for many years, and I must have passed it on a number of occasions, and have never ever noticed it.

And so i went in...

I could only think that this library has not changed since the time of communism. Although I hope that this man has not been sitting there for the last 20 years! ;-)

I took a look around the books, but I would have loved to get inside their archives which were kept in another room.

Right on the main street, a glimpse of old Albania.
That made me so happy!
It was a place of peace and tranquility in the midst of chaos...and although I have passed it many times, I had never ever noticed it!

I wonder how many other "treasures" I am missing as I rush through the streets trying to get my work done and not stopping to enjoy the beautiful moments and places that life brings us!

e shtunë, maj 10, 2008

Hear, Read , Taste.

Listening to Bob Dylan - The Rundown Rehearsal Tapes Disc 2 - Just Like a Woman

Just added to the sidebar 3 links that i hope to update from time to time.

They will include music, short stories/poems/articles , and food that I like.

These are not meant to be particularly linked to Albania, although the food may well be.Not worthy


Anyway, I am starting with:

HEAR - "To Love somebody" ( BeeGees cover) by Ray Lamontagne

READ - The Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury.( I did this as my short story for my Higher English MANY years ago. I still love this story!)

TASTE - Patlixhana te skuqur ( as long as there is plenty garlic with that then it is a meal fit for a king!)


Hope you take time to listen, read and taste!

( Click on the pictures to go to the sites)

e enjte, maj 08, 2008

Congratulations Vllaznia

Yesterday Vllaznia won the football cup, winning 2-0 against Tirana.Thumbs-up

There was a celebration in the streets with many fans celebrating in the main square. There was lots of noise and fireworks going off late at night.

I wasn't there, but was trying to get my boys to sleep - especially the little one who is 3 years old and scared of lightning and fireworks.

Then when I went to my bed, my wife was watching one of the local channels which had live coverage from the main square.

She said to me...

" Did you know, they were handing out free beer?"

And I reply " No"...but really I am thinking..." Now she tells me!!"Sad

Imagine a Scotsman missing the opportunity of ANYTHING free!!

Anyway, congratulations to Vllaznia, who enter the UEFA cup. What are the chances that Celtic get drawn with Vllaznia. Unfortunately, it looks like we could be heading for that competition!

e martë, maj 06, 2008

What's in YOUR suitcase?

Summer is coming, and I guess more than a few Albanians will be returning home to catch some sun and enjoy their mum's cooking!

However, surely the temptation is to try to take some of Albania back with them on the aeroplane!

Wine, cheese, byrek, raki, ...some things that you just can't find in the "land of plenty"!

My parents tell me that once returning from Israel someone took strawberries as their carry on luggage. As the plane dipped and turned the strawberries started to drip down on all the passengers. No-one owned up to be the "strawberry-owner".

Just be careful though....as this article will tell you...I sometimes take a kilo of groshe with me, but I certainly wouldn't have thought of taking a whole goat!( I hope it wasn't in his carry-on baggage, or that would be one smelly trip)

e enjte, maj 01, 2008

First for Photos

1st of the month again...so here are some photos taken when I was in Vlore.