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Dangerously Fashionable

Two more Western newspapers carried stories on Albania at the weekend. The San Francisco Chronicle published a piece by Bill Fink on Sunday, Not Such a Joke. Here is a sample:
I arrived in Tirana expecting to see a city with a new surface but rotting at the core, a painted pig of a capital wallowing in its own filth. But as disasters go, it was another disappointment. Central Tirana parks are now filled with kids playing around new jungle gyms. Parents sit on public benches amid neatly manicured, trash-free lawns. Multicolored buildings create a skyline resembling a postmodern Lego set. Couples stroll through the formerly forbidden and now fashionable "bloc" district of bars, cafes and restaurants. At night, young groups order cocktails and listen to chill music in Euro-hip bars, while men sip their thimbles of coffee and smoke away the time in sidewalk cafes. People walk home without fear of mugging.
The same day, The Independent on Sunday published a piece by Alex Wade, taking issue with AA Gill's recent hatchet job in the Sunday Times. Here is a sample from his article, Wild Albania-Coming in From the Cold:

As I reflect on various trips to Albania, I recall sitting on a veranda in Gjirokaster, sipping a glass of raki, watching the sun set on the Lunxheria mountains. I think of swimming in the glistening Ionian sea, drinking coffee in Tirana, wandering among the exquisite ruins of Butrint.

I remember all the instances of friendliness from Albanians, and I think of Byron's words: "[The Albanians] are brave, rigidly honest, and faithful ... perhaps the most beautiful race ... in the world."

If anyone comes across good - or bad - articles on Albania why not pass them on? I will mention them here and maybe put together a post containing all the articles that I have mentioned and linked to in previous posts.


Anonymous said…
Great articles and keep up the great work... i enjoy reading this page and reading news from back home
aldoPlepi said…
Thanks for your frequent links to articles about Albania. And, of course, thanks for your posts. They are wonderful. I love that idea of having all the articles in a list of their own.
DAI said…
Will gladly point to articles of interest when I'll come across them, but you are way ahead of us...and I don't mean only time zone wise....:-) !
Keep up the good work, Alwyn -- the proposed collection is an excellent idea, and thank you for the great service you provide to many of us.
ourmanintirana said…
You are all very welcome. I'm glad people find this stuff useful. I'm also thinking of putting together a single page linking to all the official reports I have highlighted in the past year.

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And now the end is near
and so i face nanananana...

Never did like that crappy song.

But it's true nevertheless.

Tomorrow in the wee hours of the morning we will be heading for the airport for the last time. I suppose it was too much to expect that I could have kept this going while getting ready to leave. So apologies for the lack of postings over the last weeks. This is post number 380 something so I suppose one post every two days is not a bad average.

There were probably 380 more in my head or scribbled down on scraps of paper, but many of them are perhaps best left there.

I suppose I should be penning - or typing - my final thoughts and reflections on two years in Tirana, but right now I don't have any. Maybe in a month or two though I might come back with something.

Thanks to all of you who have read this blog - especially those of you who have become regulars. Thanks also for linking and thanks to all who left comments.

As for the other stars of the blog, Bella now has her own …


Welcome to Our Man in Tirana. I moved to Tirana, capital of Albania, in October 2005 and left in October 2007. This blog is a mix of photographs, reports, links, impressions and, undoubtedly, prejudices relating to the city and the country.

Since I am no longer in Tirana I am no longer updating this blog. However, there are over 300 posts covering this two year period and I hope that they are still of some interest.

So if you are curious about Albania or if you are planning to visit I hope this blog will be of value.

Miss Globe 2007

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 o…