Sunday, 4 July 2004

Albania 3

Something about the country now as that is something important, because I chose to go here. I wanted a small embassy, preferably in a developing country. Out of the 12 positive reactions I received on my open inquiry, I picked Albania. It is for sure a poor and developing country. In fact it is still the poorest country in Europe, although the economy is growing very fast. It also is a more or less forgotten part of Europe: people didn't know where to situate it when I told that I was going there. You also don't read a lot about it in the newspapers, but I know now that there is a lot going. You can see that the country is poor by the status of the roads, the pavements, the buildings, the people, the garbage and the street dogs. It's a dry country as well and every 10metres you can find a carwash due to all the dust that gets on the cars. Mercedes is the most favorite car brand here and it's a kind of srtatus symbol: everyone wants one. Yes, they are mostly all very old, but some very recent models also drive around here. Tirana is very busy to upgrade the town and to build new and modern flats. It is somehow strange to see the old and new next to eachother. The people here are friendly and polite. My blond hair has no importance at all, which is quite a shame, as the female population here is one of the prettiest I have ever seen. I always thought that the Czechs had the most beautiful females, but now I have to reconsider that. Communist symbols are almost all destroyed after the communist regime was teared down and you have to look hard to find some of the many mozaics that were here in the early days.
Of course there is a great number of expats here as well and of the 5 days I have been here now I already had 3 parties. One for football, one leaving-party and yesterday the birthday of the fish ("if we don't have a reason to party, we will make one"). So I won't get bored here I think.
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