Monday, February 26, 2007

In My Neighbourhood

I thought I'd share a few photos from around my neighbourhood.
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.
This dancer Enada Hoxha (above on the floor) is exceptionally talented and I loved watching her perform! As always, the set design is quite simple because of the budget, but I still thought it was effective in creating the right atmosphere. There were two rather tall blonde dancers (they looked like twins!), dressed all in white. I really wondered where they came from, tall blondes being rather rare in Albania!
I did something else really nice last week but I'm going to blog separately about that!


james said...

I remember seeing the old man and the phone booth during one of my first strolls through Tirana. I too followed the phone line up the tree and to possibly dubious source. Ah, "free" enterprise.

CanadianSwiss said...

That's really funny to see the old man with his phone. I wonder if the business is good.

christina said...

I'm loving the old guys's outdoor office. Way to invent your own job, eh?

In Germany they put a small coniferous tree up on top of a house as soon as the bare bones of the roof have been constructed. Aftert that there's a party called a "Richfest" to celebrate. Lots of beer.

Anonymous said...

Great photos!

It's interesting to read about the garbage being essentially the same as Romania. Toss stuff out, someone rummages through, municipal works scrape it up with shovels.

And the casino is another familiarity. I've been meaning to post some advertising examples as well a few photographs about that. Maybe I'll get to it soon, since I've seen yours.

Let me join the chorus of voices! The old man sitting at his "office" and playing entrepreneur is absolutely fantastic. What a sight and what a story.

Anonymous said...

"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. "

Yeah rgiht...we are all after you Shit Kim!

You are SO SERBIAN! Their way of lying! Did they pay you for propaganda?

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the movie "Unfaithful". Did you see how Richard Geere killed the french lover? Then he wrapped the body with a carpet and took it to the garbage dump. You want to end up the same way? I mean since you asked where all these garbage goes! I can show you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kim,

you know that you can track the computer IP of this primitive guy in site meter?

Miss Kim said...

Thanks Anonymous #2... I have been tracking this person that way, but I don't know what to do with this information. Can anyone suggest some ideas? I have a few of my own but welcome some good strategy!

For now... comment moderation will go back on. But I will leave these two comments so that everyone can see what kind of nutcase I am dealing with.

Anonymous said...

Kim, this post has made me smile several times. I like the way to tell about your life in Tirana. Please continue doing so ! Have a good day, hugs, angelika

Ll.T. said...

Kim, can you block specific IPs in blogger? Or perhaps you could change your settings to "allow only registered users to reply", you'll loose a few people initially but it evens out in the long term.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kim
First time i write in ur blog , I've checked it once in a while to get news from Albania(not those from the newspapers ) , I'm an Albanian living abroad.Now I just feel like saying that stupid people have no country of origin or belong to no particular state or so , so this anonymous dude writing is just part of that universal group of stupid (or completely idiot) people and they need no more comments.
I know Albania is different from Canada , yes we have our problems witch i do not consider as small , but we have also a lot of good things going on and a lot of better views than those trash bins.

Miss Kim said...

Unfortunately you can't block IP's in Blogger. Anyhow I don't mind moderating comments.

From other nasty comments I have receieved from this person, it would seem to be an Albanian female living abroad in a place which she hates, and is taking it out on me. Oh well, c'est la vie.

Thanks Anonymous #3, I understand Albania is different from Canada, and I truly hope my blog presents a balanced point of view, good and bad, but with a lot more of the good. I am a positive person and look everyday for the beauty around me. It is here in Albania in large measure!! It's not my job to change things, but I think I can point out things that can be improved. An Albanian moving to Canada could also see things that need improvement.

And remember, I also blog for my family back home so that they can see the interesting reality of my new life.

Turtle Guy said...

Thanks for this delightful pictoral tribute to "a day in the life..." It gives us readers a glimpse into your world.


Anonymous said...

Kim, judging from what the anonymous person writes, it seems that he/she has serious mental problems. If you have reasons to believe that it's from someone you know, maybe you should take measures to protect yourself. Otherwise, I'd just keep deleting his/her comments, and maybe they'll take another hobby.
As for your writings, I visit this blog once in a while, not because I hope to learn anything about Albania that I didn't know before, but because it makes me live a few moments in Tirana, although virtually. Please keep writing what you see and experience, good or bad, because that is the reality. I understand why some people get touchy sometimes; Albanians living abroad have experienced racism and xenophobia perhaps more than any other European, thus they tend to get overly-protective of their country, of their people, and want it to be seen in the best light possible. It's not that they don't know about the trash problems, poverty etc.

Miss Kim said...

Thanks everyone for your support- it means a lot to me!

Arjan, what you say about Albanians facing racism and xenophobia is absolutely true and as much as I try I cannot walk in your shoes. This is a spectacular country with warm, generous people and I am fortunate to be able to live here for a few years.

John Gerard Sapodilla said...

I was told about the man who queues for you in Tirana . And times ago in Italy we had the man who would sell his seat on train to the late traveller.

Anonymous said...

Great photos..Reminds me of living in Hungary! They also seem to have a dingy little casino on every corner in Budapest. Definitely don't look appealing!

Anonymous said...


if you have the IP address of that guy, than you go at this address
and give the IP address of the user.
You will usually get a long list possibly with an email address of the administrator and an email address for abuses. You should couple that information with the time/date of the postings and write an email to that address.

Ginnie said...

As always, Kim, when I come in late, I get quite an earful! I do so much enjoy hearing the give-n-take of your life there and am glad you are free to express it all as you deem fit.

Carry on!

CanadianSwiss said...

I'm not sure if you're getting this for the 3rd time. If so, I'm sorry. Just delete two of them. :)

Kim, this worries me a bit (much). Have you found a way to track anonymous her(him) down? Those are serious threats and they need to be reported. Maybe Expattraveler can help - directly or indirectly. I hope they have stopped in the meantime.

BTW: An IP address that comes from another country does not necessarily mean that the person is physically there, too. In my last job, I sometimes replied to comments during lunch time. My site meter showed me an IP address (mine) coming from France (our server was in Tours) and I was close to Basel.

Take care :)

Tirana Interior Design Community said...

Where does this guy come from?! He should go at the Tirana Municipality(,10,178) and see the before and after photos of various projects in Tirana. If that hurts, tough luck!.. Deal with it.
Kim, I'm looking for a link to your email address but I don't see one. Anyway, I would like to ask for your permission to use on my blog, one of the photos at the "Crazy buildings of Tirana".

Cynthia Rae said...

I love the idea of taking us for a walk where you live! I might just have to do a similar post. Maybe one day Danilo and I can come and see it all in person!


Anonymous said...

Hi Kim

Thanks a lot for mentioning my book The Global Table. I didn't even know it's sold in Vienna. I have another book to be published in May if you are interested in interior decorating inspired by Asia..


Owen said...

I think you know how much you've done to communicate your delight in life in Tirana to the rest of us. Your Anonymous#1 has a serious problem. Fortunately it sounds as if they're remote enough not to be a threat to you personally but that sort of intense emotion is going to be a danger to someone somewhere.