Thursday, September 25, 2008


One of the reasons I enjoy living in Albania is the sheer unpredictability of the place. You never really know what awaits you when you wake up in the morning. Sometimes it's as pleasant as a soft rain shower that makes the morning stroll envigorating. Other times it's unpleasant like the incessant screeching of some death-metal wannabe band in Mother Theresa square at midnight. (Rally Albania, I'm talking about you!) Other times it just weird. Like bicycle boy a few posts down.

The same sense of anticipation applies to driving around the country. You never know what will be around the next corner. Usually, it's just a clapped-out Mercedes straddling the center line while its driver chats on the cell phone. Every now and then it's entertaining like this gaggle of well-mannered turkeys being herded across the road.

This always brings a smile to my face. Herding turkeys. I ws raised with the conventional wisdom that turkeys are so dumb that if you leave them out in the rain, they will look up to see what is happening and drown because they aren't smart enough to shut their mouths. Turns out these little geniuses are more clever than I thought. Not only do they herd well, but they can be made to sit peacefully at the roadside as the locals haggle over price. I now have a new respect for turkeys; mildly intelligent and very tasty too!

Other surprises around the corner are less amusing, yet not entirely unwelcome despite the delay and inconvenience they bring. This sight greeted me last weekend on my way down south between Qeparo and Borshi.

I was a little annoyed that these intrepid workers couldn't find a way to route traffic around the worksite. My annoyance was counterbalanced by the knowledge that each rock chipped off the side brought this road one step closer to completion. Overall, almost 60% of the road between Vlora and Saranda has been improved. Still lots of work to do, but it's going to be a super drive once it's done. I may have to buy a motorcycle so I can appreciate its winding, smooth pavement and stunning views the way it should be enjoyed.

I also had grudging respect for these guys who were doing the job with a hand-held jackhammer. Although, during the 20-minute wait for the truck to fill up, I did wonder why a country that has thousands of tons of excess ammuniton can't spare a few kilos of TNT for something constructive.

Once past this roadblock, I rounded another curve and there was a second crew, hammering away at the rock. This time I spent 15 minutes listening to the "Saranda Seranade" of the backhoe-mounted super jackhammer as it chunka-chunka-chunka-ed a pile of rock onto the road and an old bulldozer pushed the rubble off the side of the road. I drove past I waved and wished them 'Pune te mbare' as I accelerated down the road. From here to Saranda it's an hour of winding road. I can't wait to see what's around the next corner!


1 comment:

traveler one said...

Thanks for the needed reminder to appreciate the unexpected rather than be annoyed :)