Albanian Pizza

If we consider nation famous ones as its business card at some level, what could we say about country which offers us a century-long lived woman proclaimed as a saint?

There are many ways, doors and holes how to reach deeper layers of the nation. If we are talking about the last ones, you couldn’t be more right while walking through the streets of Tirana, although this might be beneficial for car services only.

Albanian woman eyes have the same dark colour, only falling into them gives much more pleasure feelings. “I don’t like Albanian boys”, she told me one evening while enjoying her coffee. I asked why and she gave me some typical macho-style oriented guy description, which you can meet anywhere in the world of course, not only in Albania.

Identity searching struggles are very familiar for those who comes from a small countries, living next door to some very well recognized cultures. In Albanian case it seems nearly impossible mission when surrounded by Italy, Greece and former Yugoslavia republics.  “We take only the best from them”, they are saying and laughing that Albanian pizza is even better than Italian one, what is not far from truth at all.

At the same time it is hard not to notice an intense gap what separates rich and poor. Against every luxury class Mercedes or BMW there is someone sleeping on the streets. “There is no job”, I have heard so many times. “You can find something if only you know someone”, they are repeating and filling their time with watching some football game, from the Italian Serie A most likely.

Albanians are not shy into their sympathies to Italy. T-shirts, food, fashion, they love the Italian way and seems that almost everyone speaks some Italian, many of them fluently. Almost million of Albanians have found their promised land there, hundreds of thousands Albanian people live also in Greece, Turkey, Germany and perhaps there are more Albanians abroad than in Albania together.

For those who have stayed, their promised land seems to be European Union. At some moments it is really funny to see how those standards they are trying to integrate, meet typical southern chaos and very easygoing attitude. Like those buses in Tirana they have bought from China with inside screens still running in Chinese..

So possibly the most accurate description gives some big inscription on a wall near central marketplace by saying: “Is it look like I give a sh**?” And why should you, if a thermometer shows +25 degrees by Celsius at the beginning of November and the mandarin-tree grows in your garden, while some of the most important standards of humanity, like hospitality and simplicity Albanians have already acquired in another level than many others.

Janis

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