Remember when you were just a wee one, six month baby ? Ok you don’t, but when as a child we were like a sponge with all 5 senses just going like mad, taking it all in and not fast enough.
ALBANIA!!!, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches. Just going like mad trying to take it all in. Nothing is familiar, except being lost at every turn. Arriving around midnight and finally to our room\apartment about 1 in the morning, exhausted but happy we are finally here. From underground garage to 2nd floor, some by stairs, entrance door that Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn’t knock down to color shock at the decor, outside blinds that are like underground bombshell metal apocalyptic shades, that are opened by pulling this strap that is coming out of the wall, that feels like your hosting 300 lbs of pure metal (yea you are), strange food items on the counter called “welcome glad your here”, weirdest light hues emanating from the light fixture, electric plugs that you can’t plug anything into and “you call this a bed”. We love it.
Just a quick update. Albania has been under communist rule up and until about 1991 where the people or at list most fought back and gain a more democratic regime. Mind you I served my mission in 1969 some 48 years ago and this country reminds me so much of the conditions that existed back then. Some very up to date things and places but in large measure very behind. Some people we have talked to actually preferred communism, largely because the government took care of you and you did not have to worry about supporting yourself. Everyone worked for the same wage, so no one was poor nor rich. I believe it is rated as the second or third poorest country in all of Europe. Not a lot of outside influence “yet”, but it is coming. For instance it is one of the only European countries that has never had nor now does possess a “McDonalds” it it’s borders. Population is about 72% muslim. We are finding that shaking your head no means Yes, and nodding yes means No. Very confusing when trying to buy something. Their claim to fame is that Mother Teresa was an Albanian. Third largest city in Albania in which we now live has not “one” traffic light, despite an abundance of vehicles. “Makin’s” as they call them (the word “car” is a dirty word here) are everywhere. It is somewhat chaotic but does somehow work, just be sure you look both ways before you cross a street. The oddest thing to us is that Mercedes, new and old is the number one Car here, more than two to one, and the reasons “why” are just as many. No one can give us the same answer, from “corruption” to “they rather have a Mercedes than a house”. I never knew Mercedes had so many different choices and models.
Colors, has you will see in the pictures color explosion on their buildings is apparently a declaration that they are no longer under communist control.
P.S. Some of you asked how we got our laptop stolen. Stay tuned and we will tell.