Friday, October 28, 2005

Flashes from Friday

I woke up early to the loud crowing of our neighbourhood roosters. I looked out my bathroom window and saw the rooster and chickens rummaging around in a huge pile of rubbish which is piling up in the backyard of the house next door. It's not a pretty sight. I assume it's partly responsible for the huge brown rat my dog was interested in yesterday as we walked through the neighbourhood. I wish someone would deal with the trash problem here. And I wonder about the bird flu problem and when it will hit Albania if it already hasn't.
Driving to the new hypermarket this morning my driver decided to take a 'short cut' and show me a side of Tirana that I have not yet seen. The traffic on the main road is attrocious these days and he thought it would be a bit faster, which it was, even though we actually drove much slower. I was happy for the opportunity to watch out my window and see another way of life. But I didn't expect to see two live cows tied to the door handle of a meat shop, standing under a handmade sign that said "Fresh Meat" in Albanian! Ewww. Not appetising.
Driving home I spotted a small shop selling arms (guns)-- the sign above it said "Shotgun Americane", the name of the shop. A sad commentary on America.
I got home from doing my shopping laden with 7 bags of heavy necessities. I had put off buying laundry detergent and other heavy things for as long as I could because it's such a chore lugging them from the car to the elevator and up to our apartment, but today I gave in and bought the works. Sazan (our driver) helped me to the elevator with everything but as we approached the door my heart sunk. Arggh. No electricity. I hopefully thought that perhaps it was just the elevator needing repair, but no, the power was off in the area. I was NOT hauling 7 heavy bags up 10 flights of stairs. Uh uh. No way. It's hard enough etting myself up those stairs. so I grabbed the bags and dumped them in the office of the owner of the building and said I'd be back when the hydro was back on. I took one bag (of bread) and headed up the stairs. Luckily I know I can do it. And I did. The power was off for about 4 hours and I wandered around the apartment like a chicken with its head cut off for a while. It's weird being without electricity. What do you do with yourself? I finally decided to grab my book and sit on the terrace and read, which turned out to be a lovely idea and I even caught a bit of sun!
P came home a bit early carrying a huge box and when I saw it I jumped for joy- it was filled with a dozen tins of Tim Horton's coffee (that's a very Canadian thing), and a copy of last Friday's Globe and Mail newspaper. Oh the simple things that bring me pleasure these days. Now I'm sitting here with a mug of my favourite java, having just read the newspaper and I feel completely happy.


Cynthia Rae said...

It really is the simple things in life that count. My mom sent another box this week with People's magazines and peanut butter cups! I had the best bath that night reading and eating in the tub.

Enjoy your treats!

ITS said...


Just ran a google search with "Blog, Albania" and ended up in yours. This last post, made me smile as it vividly brought a vision of my beloved hometown.

I haven't had a chance to read the other posts, but my best advice is that you need not look at things in Tirana with critical eye. You need to learn to love all the imperfections.

It's not about the garbage, the bootleg butcher shops, and the absence of electricity or water. Tirana has more charm than any other city in the world, and I have been around :).

Anyway, I am looking forward to read all your archives and dig out the gold. So, congratulations on this blog and keep on posting!



P.S. Be grateful about the Mediterranean weather. Polar season is starting up in Montreal!

melusina said...

Ah, electricity outages. Hopefully now that we live in downtown Thessaloniki it won't be as much of an issue. In Litochoro it wasn't too bad but on Kos (an island) we got used to frequent power outages for LONG periods of time. Ugh.

Packages from home with simple pleasures are great. They make everything better.

Prairie Girl said...

What a good post! I really do believe that as expats we really do learn to enjoy the simple things in life.

Sometimes under duress, but nevertheless enjoyable :-)

Joni said...

So far i'm loving your blog! I'm an Albanian expatriate in Canada (your countrary right?). Anyway believe it or NOT when i'm in Albania i LOVE power outages (especially during the day). It makes you stop EVERYthing you are doing, sit on the couch/chair/bed and start reading under a natural light. As for the birdflu, I am still amazed at how there is no reported case yet in Albania, I mean it has travelled as far as France but not any reported case in Albania yet. (Though, that might because Albanians do not control as much as the Fhench :D!)