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Idiots in Fast Cars

Last Wednesday, the 'Gumball Rally' was in town. This is an event involving rich, stupid people driving fast high-powered cars in countries and over roads they are totally unfamiliar with. Since Albania is already cursed with more than enough stupid people in powerful cars, I ignored it and went to dinner instead.

Sadly, instead of telling the organisers where to go, the Albanian government, aided and abetted amazingly enough by the UN, bent over backwards to accommodate these idiots. According to the Times, the UN claimed the event would "highlight Albania’s potential as an eco and cultural destination" - possibly the first time ever the concepts of 'eco' and 'lamborghini' have been associated.

The same report quotes Prime Minister Berisha saying, "I guarantee the organizers of our highest esteem and willingness to fully support Gumball 3000 in its endeavour in Albania." Full support turned out to include a get together with the President for those taking part. And so, on Wednesday evening, a Porsche 911 Carrera running late for the Presidential blowout crashed into another vehicle near the Macedonian border with Albania.

Two local people Vladimir Cepuljoski and his wife Margarita ended up in a ditch in their VW Golf, he dead, she fatally injured.

The Albanian government ought to be ashamed of itself for encouraging this event. It's good to work to try to give Albania a profile as a tourist destination, but they should have the wit to discern what kind of publicity is good publicity, and the judgement to know when their enthusiasm is being exploited.

As for the UN, they are a disgrace.


Anonymous said…
when i told my friends about the 'gumball rally' passing through Albania, most of them didn't believe me. might be sad, but it's true. there are so many reasons why it is this way, as well as there is so much to do in order to change things. i don't think the Albanian government has the power to impose rules to big organisations or to the UN. that's our curse.
nick said…
usually every publicity is good publicity. That does not have to be the case for albania with all it coul offer in that department...but what do you expect from a country where the minister of turism is a puppet who simply collects salary!
ITS said…
Yeah, I thought this event sounded stupid as well...

I was hoping on the possibility that the Lamborghinis would be torn to pieces in the Albanian sized pot-holes...
Anonymous said…
i didn't thought it was that stupid at the begining. i actually never thought about the Lamborghinis and stuff. all that came to my mind was publicity, visibility. which of course doesn't necessarely mean good publicity, but it could have been a start.
strangeMAN said…
I partially disagree with you, OMIT.
The quality of publicity recieved by Albania in this case may be arguable, but since the quantity of publicity of any kind that we recieve is 0, this kind (Gumball3000) may be positive in a way. You, better than anyone, should know the stereotipes of Albania and Albanians in Europe and abroad in general. So, I personally wellcomed the event. This, of course, does not change my opininon on this government or Albanian govts in general: incompetent, unwilling, amateurs at practically everything
strangeMAN said…
one more thing:
Why do I have to post a comment twice, for it to be accepted?
Anonymous said…
our man said…
Hi Strangeman. I'm not sure what the problem is with posting. Is this happening with anyone else?

Regarding the Gumball rally incident, it turns out that the guy in the Porsche was trying to leave the country after the accident and was only caught when the border police stopped the car he had got a lift in.

Having been released on bail he then tried to arrange for a private jet to take him out of the country. He sounds like a fairly disgusting character. This ids the type of person who was being honoured with a Presidential reception.

The rally people themselves have been trying to put a gloss on the whole thing by claiming that the victim died of a heart attack. In fact, he died of head injuries.

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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.

Petrela Castle

This is Petrela Castle near Tirana. The site has been fortified since the 4th century, but the oldest surviving parts are from the 13th century. Today the castle is a restaurant where you can enjoy lunch while taking in the views.