Category: Uncategorized

The House in Dojan

Today was the eighth day in a string of oddly perfect days.  Even the weather has been ‘perfect’ – if you don’t mind climate change.  Warm in the sun outside, just a jacket.  Sitting on a blanket on the ‘shpati’ or hill-bank next to my house, with the sheep grazing around me, eyeing the ever-increasing […]

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Tropojan Security

Up until now, I’ve lived in New York, the land of  crime and theft – both informal and professional.  Accordingly, I find some things hilarious, in Albania.  Alfred carries a huge bunch of keys, which lock doors all over the place — but when I look at the doors . . . . I could […]

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What’s in a Name?

I do love a good coinkydink. As you may notice from other writing elsewhere in this website, the handiest analagous cultural reference for Europeans unfamiliar with Malesori culture is probably to the “Highlanders” of Scotland. You know the rap: fiercely independent, wild by reputation, appearing lawless to outsiders, honorable to the point of insanity among […]

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On the Death of a Much Loved Dog in Winter

I have just returned from spending two winter months in the north of Albania. On January 31st, a particularly heavy snowstorm tore down all the electrical wires and closed the only road – a 25 kilometer dirt road – to the nearest town. This effectively sealed off the whole valley from any form of modern […]

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Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig

I’m just waking up at 3 am, back at Freddy’s Hostel in Tirana. In an hour I have to get up to meet Eri and catch the minibus up to Bajrum Curri and then on to Valbona. You would think that after 24 hours of traveling, involving four airports, no sleep for 24 hours before […]

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Dr. Robert Elsie, Foremost Authority on Albania Checks Us Out

On my way out of Albania the last time, I discovered (the the shock of my credit card) a sneaky secret resource of the Tirana Airport — its bookstore! In ten minutes in that bookstore I spent more than I had in two weeks in Albania (and then limped my way across several continents, hauling […]

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At the Natural Science Museum

It’s a beautiful morning in Tirana, October, 2009. I am what is still new to me, but what I suspect could become habit, the guest of the Selimaj. The Selimaj are a fis or clan or family and without it having been stated, I am under their besa, and if you remove the old-world terminology, […]

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Thinking about Traveling

I have had a stunning new realization. It’s simply this: That when I’m in New York, Albania is imaginary. And when, tomorrow, I get on those airplanes, New York will fade and become strange — just a story I tell. And for these interim days, I’m neither here nor there — existing somewhere in between. […]

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