Friday, February 27, 2009

Just Give a Straight Answer!

Go read Chelsi's post and then come back here :)

I just want to add a couple more of these interesting conversations that happen in Albania...

1. "Your dog must have been expensive. How much did it cost?"

2. Regarding a gorgeous (mid 30's) Albanian friend: "Oh she (pointing at my friend) USED to be really sexy when she was young!"

3. Sitting at coffee with about 5 Albanian ladies: " Eda- you really need to colour your hair., it's ugly like that." And Eda has lovely salt & pepper natural hair colour.

4. Still at coffee with my Albanian friends: "She used to be so slim but now she is too fat." Said in the presence of the friend.

5. Two Albanian friends: "So Anna, how much do you weigh?" "55 kilos." "Nooooooo you can NOT weigh less than I do and I weigh 56 kilos!!!!!" (Astounded). Then they both stand up and touch each other's waists etc, making minute comparisons about all their measurements. They twirl around for everyone else to check them out as if it was a real competition. In the end one claims to have bigger boobs and must just look fatter.

6. How much is your rent? How much is your car? How much is your salary? Etc, etc. Nothing is sacred- Albanians just need to know the price of everything!!

Now, there's another problem. You can tell them the EXACT cost of everything and they DO NOT understand!! Foreigners are annoyed to no end by this. You see, MANY years ago - I don't know maybe 30??? - the government revalued the currency and everything got an extra zero. For some reason, ALL Albanians have refused to give up the old system, but ALL foreigners only use it. So if they say something cost 100 Lek, like a 1 Litre bottle of Coke for instance- you will be shocked (like I was) thinking that is way too much to pay for a coke (about $10) They actually mean about $1. But believe me, they're not trying to rip you off, they just can't grasp the new numbers. Even school children do this!

So, when you are asked the cost of something, don't worry about it. Just tell the truth and they'll be confused anyway!


MsTypo said...

I have found that "how much did you pay for it" culture in a lot of expat communities.

Gezuar said...

OMigosh, okay first off, the how much you weigh comments are HORRIBLE! Secondly, you're exactly right, EVERYONE asks me how much I pay for everything, EVERYTHING!

But the thing I laughed the most about was this system of old and new lek, it is absolutely RIDICULOUS!!!! People, can we please get it together???

Di Mackey said...

Kind of unrelated but I've lost your email address in my big inbox clean-up. There were thousands going back a long time and my system of clearance seems to have involved quite a bit of human error :(

Anyway, I just found your comment stuck in the backend of my blog for some reason. I forget to check as so few get caught there but there were 2 this time.

I asked Gert and he gave the thumbs up to the EOS 1000. Sorry for putting you wrong. I knew he had researched it but thought he had found it lacking however ... it was the opposite. It's good.

Okay ... enough from me xo

Di Mackey said...

Then reading the post ... I ended up smiling, I guess it's never dull in Albania :)

ITS said...

This is hilarious. Politically correct is definitely a foreign concept for Albanians. None of this stuff is malignant. We are not too sensitive about issues of weight, looks, and hair-color.
And honestly, you DON'T "need" to tell them anything "exactly". Nor do they really "need" to know exactly. This is small talk for Albanians. So feel free to make things up and confuse them even more. Just tell them you paid half the actual price for anything they ask. They will have immense respect for your deal-making abilities. And again, you can answer anyway you like. It's just small talk and it will be instantly forgotten.
The new and old Lek is also funny. We go by the "old lek" cuz it makes us feel wealthier.

Tinsie said...

I'd gladly tell them how much it cost, but I'm not telling them how much I weigh! Haha!

Ginnie said...

CULTURE! Can't live with it, can't live without it!

Annie said...

I read both yours and the post you recommended and laughed. I don't know WHAT I'd do! I am quite reserved; I'd be so shocked!

GMG said...

Hi Kim!
Sorry I couldn’t visit you for the last weeks! I’m trying to catch-up and see the wonders you have around!
Amazing post on the numbers; currency changes always create problems, even for well advised: imagine the Euro change... ;)
Great pictures of the kids!
Happy belated birthday, and Happy International Day (on time)!!

Meanwhile, the last of the beautiful Forts in Jaipur waits you and your comments at Blogtrotter: – The Nahargarh Fort! Enjoy and have a great week!

Miss Footloose said...

Hi Kim,

This is the sort of thing I love about living in another culture! It keeps you entertained (if you have a sense of humor) and surprised and confused. In Indonesia people often giggle when they're nervous. One time in the garden, the washing line pole broke and hit my daughter -- not badly, but she was shocked by it. The gardener stood there and just giggled and she was so upset! "He laughed at me!" she wailed. But actually, he was just worried and nervous!

Miss Footloose, loving this stuff.