So….. there are a few times in our lives when we end a segment of our life and start a new one, usually when we move to a new area. We say, “This is the last time I’ll be going to church here or this is the last time I’ll be shopping here”. So it was, when time was winding down before we left. I remember saying, “well this is my last Costco $1.50 hotdog and drink, my last haircut here at Perfect Cuts, my last tennis or golf game, the last time I’ll drive down this street or over this pothole, etc.” Some good, some sad, while others I was glad it was the last time, ha, even if it is just for awhile.
So…..now we are experiencing in reverse order the “firsts”. First time I’m taking an Albanian shower, first time I’m on my knees in prayer in this foreign country, first time trusting in an Albanian elevator that we have heard so much about (more to come), first time to sit down and use sign language to communicate, “this is how I want my hair cut” (please don’t butcher me!!), have your first Montezumas Revenge, first time to look at a menu and if it wasn’t for my Spanish I wouldn’t have recognized a single word but I figure out Sallate Jeshile (green salad). Now point at it and nod your head, wait…. don’t nod no (that means yes), I mean yes, shake your head no, dummy, what was I thinking. Here some images of menus we first encountered. Have at it.
While eating at this one restaurant these people just got up and started dancing while waiting for their food. (video below)
What we got was chicken (fileto pule) and rice and salad.
Don’t forget FIRST TIME TOOOOO DRIVE!!!!!
I still remember the drive from the airport, even at midnight. It was crazy and wild. The AP’s (2 missionaries who are assistance to the Mission President) were driving us as if they were setting a new land speed record and remembering saying to myself, “You can’t do that, that’s illegal…….., look out for that other car, that’s illegal!!……watch out for that pedestrian!!…., bicycle!!….., horse!!!!!….. I’ll never do that, better yet I’ll never drive in this country!! There is no way!!! The next day I’m taken down to the second floor of a underground garage and told this is yours…. I look and see this very tiny dark blue Opel Corsa, made in Germany.
I felt like I was given the keys to a Cadillac, as I felt how in the heck do you expect me to return this vehicle in one piece, after what I’ve seen out there. Luckily a fellow senior missionary said, “Why do’t you come with me to run an errand and I’ll show you some of
the ends and outs, and what these weird traffic signs mean”. If it hadn’t been for that I would have had at least a dozen tickets my first week, not to mention what might have happened to the car. Nobody and I mean nobody can cut you off like an Albanian, especially when you think you can’t move an inch. An inch is all they need. “Every man for himself” is the Albanian motto for driving (very few female drivers). Living in the capital, Tirana (approx. 800,000) is a amazing congestion of city life that you have to experience to believe. The traffic is unbelievable and who so ever has his nose of his front bumper in the lead is king and has total right of way. You never look behind you and pedestrians beware, you no longer have rights. A pedestrian could be standing in the middle of the road with traffic going both ways and no one is going to stop. Believe it or not, after a while I realized that this kind of driving suits me. I like the fact that pedestrians are NOT supreme. When I see a pedestrian crossing the street I can actually speed up and go around them. Got to love it. They actually do have several STOP signs throughout the city, but they mean absolutely nothing. You not only do not have to stop, you don’t even have to slow down. You can see a typical stop sign in the second picture. Can’t figure why they are there.
Ok, so here’s your quiz. I’ve already gotten two parking tickets and i’m showing the exact
place where I parked and you are to tell me the reason I got the tickets. A prize for the winner. In the first picture I parked exactly where the white Mercedes is parked, thus I received a ticket. Tell me why. Second picture I parked where the silver Mercedes is parked in front of the other silver car. Outcome – ticket. Submit your answers in the comment section and good luck. Just so you’ll know I never could figure it out myself. I had to ask the “policia”.
P.S. The interesting thing is, this second ticket I got while….. I was in paying for the first. Not so funny at first, but quite hilarious now. I parked the car after that and did a lot more walking for a while.