17 September 2016
Upon entering the city of Tirana, it strikes me as a typical capital city, a 1950s square concrete modern; Communist architecture at its “best.” Buildings are crowded, unremarkable, overbuilt. Streets are crowded and noisy. There lacks the charm of the smaller villages and cities mainly because it is so crowded I don’t see it. Newer construction has discovered the joy of color and stands out like a ripe strawberry among slices of day old bread. I miss having a pedestrian street to enjoy. If there is one, I would have to risk life and limb crossing streets to get there. Maybe this is as good a time as any to explain my version of “Albanian Rules of the Road.”
- Don’t hit anybody.
- No matter what, just assume nobody is going to hit you.
- Assume waving your thanks is enough to be forgiven all sins of driving and the other guy really meant for you to cut in front of him, make a u-turn, or park in the middle of the road.
- “Shiten” is not an expression of frustrated drivers, it means “For Sale” in Albanian.
- Kostrati is not what one driver threatens another, though he may think it. It is the name of a large oil company.