Things that make life very interesting!
This is where we put our trash. This was taken right after the trash was picked up and is a relatively clean condition. A few hours later the bins were full and laying on their sides. A small truck comes along early in the morning with two men with their shovels. As I lay in bed I often hear the scrape- scrape- scrape of their shovels sorting the trash and tossing it into the back of their truck. I have no idea where they take all the garbage. We have no possibility for recycling (yet), so everything is tossed here. Within minutes of putting a bag of trash in the bin, you can count on someone coming along and tearing it open, dropping everything on the ground as they look for treasures. When I have a bag of "good stuff", like old shoes or clothing, I just place it beside the bins hoping someone will be able to recycle it for me.
There a quite a few so-called "casinos" in Tirana. I've never been in one but they usually look quite small and dark. I'm not sure I'd want to go in. This sign made us stop and go "hmmm". Open 25 hours? Interesting idea. And doesn't it look ever so glamourous? A sexy woman, a glass of champagne, colourful chips!
When we first moved here we noticed this interesting phenomenon. This gentleman sits outside of the National Library, beside a phone booth. Lots of people actually use phone booths here, but you need a telephone card, which you might not have on you, so this gentleman sits there all day with a card for you to use. You pay him for the time you use and I guess he adds a small fee so that he makes a profit. But even more intriguing is the desk phone on the right side of the man. Follow the line and you can see it goes up behind the tree... and straight through an open window of the Library! I wonder who's getting the kickback here?
Near the old bridge that I blogged about last weekend I spotted this really imaginative display of knitting. Someone has attached these colourful poles to the old tree and voila! the beautiful handmade items are displayed very creatively. These vests and socks must be very popular because they are really the only knitted things I see around the city. Maybe I should bring back a few new patterns when I return from Canada next time?
Another fabulous Balkan tradition is to hang a large doll or stuffed animal on the top of a building as it is being constructed. Here I suppose the home hasn't yet been started because it was just hanging on an old tree trunk. This cute guy is in really good condition! Most of the ones I've seen are black with polution and almost unrecognisable. I think these are used as a type of talisman to keep evil away- like the Turkish "evil eye" charm. Maybe an Albanian out there can give us some more information?
Also in my neighbourhood is the Opera and Ballet Theatre. Last week I noticed a man putting up posters for something and I went over and asked him what it was for. He told me there would be a ballet on the weekend, so I got tickets and went with 2 friends. The ballet is called Migjemana which I can't figure out the meaning. I think it is a nickname of an Albanian writer. It was quite an interesting modern ballet with some pieces set to music, some to very well read poetry, and some to choral singing.