To continue my entry from last night…
After I left the shop, I found a minibus heading to Tirana. The way these things work is that they leave when they are full or mostly full…which meant that you sometimes get to wait. As the only female, and obviously the only American, all the other bus drivers came over to peer at me, tease me and attempt to communicate. I brought out my translation book for even more amusements.
The driver asked to marry me so he could move to America, and another driver managed to get me to say something along the lines of “I want to make you strong” in Albanian, and apologized for it later via the translation. At no point did I feel intimidated, only amused and slightly embarrassed.
In the bus were the only two other travellers I have met – hikers from Slovakia. They invited me to join them to watch Euro qualifying games (Bob at theoffside would be so proud) that evening before jumping out of the car.
After getting back to town, I wandered around town and looked at the old communist buildings and at the quarter formerly closed off to citizens during the regime. I had my first and probably last actually legal money-changing on the street experience (I changed over 20 bucks because I thought I would be short…I now have 1900 extra Albanian leke (about 19 USD) after buying my ticket to somehow blow at 8 a.m. Doh.) and then met the guys for some yelling at the TV. Albania was playing, actually, in the late game but the combination of smoke, smog and my current nasty cold left it really hard for me to breathe, so I had to retreat to my room with my inhalor and listen to the yelling through the door of the receptionist at the front desk.
It is now off to Ohrid, Macedonia for maybe two nights and then onto the capital.