In fact, I spend a considerable amount of time sitting on the balcony drinking beer and reading detective stories. When I'm not doing that I'm often in restaurants, cafes and bars. On Monday afternoon I ended up at Floga with some friends.
How about a drink later?
Sure, but I've got a friend with me.
No problem, bring him along.
At the cafe James called Ryan, another Peace Corps guy in Tirana for the weekend. Dritan phoned.
Where are you?
We're downtown - there's another guy with us now.
OK. See you soon.
We met up. Introductions were made.
You want a drink? How about something to eat?
We made a few noises about something light, some salad maybe.
We'll go to Floga. They do good salads.
We got to Floga - that's it in the picture above - and Dritan ordered. Either he was ordering a very complicated salad or there was a lot more than lettuce coming.
Beer. A basket of fresh-baked bread. Salad. Grilled mushrooms. And then... inevitably...the meat plate. Previous visits to Floga had always involved the meat plate so I should have expected it. Always very nice though.
James and Ryan had to get a bus that afternoon so we started getting ready to move. Dritan paid for everything. I tried to persuade him that since I had brought along two other people he had never met I should chip in something, but it was futile.
Before we left the table Beni arrived - a friend of Dritan. We were introduced and Beni insisted we should have a drink on him. We could stay a few more minutes. Raki and coffee all round.
The raki was superb - smooth, full of flavour and with a delicious aftertaste. I believe it was made with muscat grapes and came from Permet. I made a point of commenting on how good it was and before I realised Beni had ordered a second round.
He also ordered the fruit plate - which we are working our way through in the photograph - and another dessert: jellied oranges and walnuts in a sweet syrupy sauce.
Inevitably he paid for it all.
Definitely time to go now so we headed out. On the way Dritan bumped into another friend and stopped for a chat. We left with Beni who took us across the street to another cafe - his own as it turned out.
Well, five more minutes.
Beni disappeared behind the counter and reappeared with a tray of macchiato and yet another round of raki - on the house of course. Dritan turned up. It was time to go. If James and Ryan hadn't had to catch the bus we might still be there.
Thanks Dritan. Thanks Beni.