On Saturday, we were at the Rogner meeting with an expat friend who was leaving Tirana. It was breakfast time, and as our friend was finishing his tea the breakfast room started to fill up with over-dressed (or under-dressed) young women wearing blue sashes.
These were the contestants for the Miss Globe 2007 beauty pageant being held in Tirana tonight at the Palace of Congresses.
High heel boots and mini-skirts - or in a couple of cases micro-skirts, or possibly just belts - have never struck me as obvious breakfast attire, but the girls seemed happy enough tottering and wobbling around with their tea and toast. I'm not sure why they were wearing their sashes - perhaps in case they forgot which country they came from.
As we were leaving they were boarding a large coach which I had seen a number of times around the city in the last few days for their next trip. I'm not sure how some of them made it up the steps, or how they managed to sit down, but perhaps these are the kinds of skills you learn at beauty pageant school.
I had never previously heard of Miss Globe but a search on Google found the relevant website.
It seems it was started years ago by some dodgy looking American called Charlie See and is now licenced to an Albanian company, Deliart, run by Petri Bozo. (No English language jokes about his name please.)
According to the website there are 51 contestants so there are a few holes in this globe. Some come from fairly unlikely places - Mongolia and Pakistan stand out - while others seem to prefer an air of mystery - Miss Romania
has supplied neither photograph nor information.
provided one of the lengthier entries explaining how she would like to be like Princess Diana - presumably by doing charitable works rather than hanging around with drunken playboys in Parisian underpasses.
It all sounds a bit corny - among the requirements listed on the website for the 'girls' are 'high hill' shoes, not to be confused with the 'sportive dress and shoes (needed for mountain climbing)'. Appearances can be deceptive but they didn't look to me like mountain climbing types - dancing seems to be the preferred activity judging from the participants' biographies.
Along the way there are various parades, presentations and day trips - including a chance to visit the 'Hydro Energetic System of Vau i Dejes'. Still, people do seem to be taking it seriously. There are receptions and meeting lined up with various mayors, ministers and their deputies, and with the Prime Minister of Kosovo and President Topi.
Personally, I'm backing Miss Venezuela
, (on the left) Julia Thaís Mendoza Quintero. As we try to find a home for Dougal and look out on the multiplying dogs in the street, anyone whose ambition (apart from becoming a famous international model, which goes without saying) is to set up an animal rescue foundation gets my vote, although the expressed ambition of Horka Lada, Miss Czech Republic, (on the right) 'to be a good people' would presumably also involve being nice to animals.