Published: February 28th 2009February 24th 2009
the Albanian flag...there's something a little morbid about black on red though...
This morning, my boss strolled into my room and told me this: "Good morning...how are you doing? *beat* Well, I was thinking a little bit about going to Albania today..."
I think you already know how this story ends.
But God, you wouldn't believe what happened in-between!
Although the Albanian border was only a good 30 km away, there was something that stood in our way...
It was Tuzi, this tiny-ass, podunk little town only a few kilometers from the border -- land of the forgotten boasting a cow and goat population that was twice as large as the people who actually lived there. Nonetheless, we were surprised to find not only a functional ATM, but a supermarket and a post office to boot! Words cannot express how humbled we were, :P.
Main street was still only a glorified farm road around which the entire town was situated though, haha :D. And Steve made sure to take a picture of the squatting toilets, filled to the brim with good ole, old-fashioned sh**.
The most impressive part of Tuzi, however, was the juxtaposition of the mosques with the catholic churches -- talk about a conflict of
the likkle farm town of Tuzi, in which the livestock outnumber the people...
To give you an idea of how small the town was, let me tell you what conspired during our stay in the border town of Tuzi, Montenegro. On the bus ride to Tuzi, Steve randomly chatted up a couple of girls who happened to be sitting next to us, bidding them both goodbye after exchanging emails and taking the obligatory picture with them.
While we were walking through Tuzi, however, we met up with a group of high school boys who were on their way home from school. Turns out, the 2 girls Steve exchanged info with were 2 of these boys' older sisters! Now how's that for a small world?? :DDD
But alas, our journey to the border must continue...on the way there, we were picked up by some guy about Steve's age. Turns out, this guy had lived in the States for 27 years...and his name was Steve, too! And he served jail time, too! The retarded part of the whole thing though was that they kept forgetting each other's names...no, like seriously!
Driver-Steve apparently was rich as rich can be and owned a great percentage of the land we were driving
through...word is he turned down like a 150-million-dollar offer from the government to turn his land into a national park...crazy.
We hopped off just before the border crossing just so that we could complete the ritual...on foot. I'm not sure if this day could get any more random.
But it did. The border patrol must've fought to keep a straight face as they watched us physically stand behind a line of cars, waiting to get our passports stamped. Didn't really take a rocket scientist to figure what must've been running through their heads: what's with these American jackasses? lol!
After crossing the border, we passed through the humble village of Hani i Hotit, population of like 40. But wait, was this of people or of livestock? I swear, it totally looked like we were in Peru, not Albania -- the landscape was completely overrun by different varieties of sheep, pigs, goats...you name it. You would have thought they owned the place or something...
Oh, and did I forget to mention how random today was? It was certainly a day of firsts for me, and the night was still young...
It was dark, cold, and a
I told you the animals run the place!
long, long hike back to Tuzi. So we did what any two desperate Americans on foreign soil would do.
Yes, we actually offered our thumbs to any automobile that didn't have mind to run us over the edge of the mountain. Fortunately, it wasn't too long before 2 Albanian guys picked us up and saved us the 20-km walk back.
Back in Tuzi, I thought we would just take the next bus back to Podgorica, back to a nice, warm bed...mmm...
...But tonight, of all nights, just so happened to be Karnival (Mardi Gras). Did I mention that today was Tuesday?
We made it just in the nick of time to watch the parade...the first float was a Texan float (wtf, mate?), complete with rootin', tootin', shootin' cowboys with oversized spurs and exaggerated bowlegged dancers...followed up by a Chinese dragon dance. Again, I repeat...wtf, mate??
So the sum up today: it was a day of firsts for this little ignorant American tourist, complete with Albanian borders, pate, hitchhiking, Mardi Gras, and sheep. Lots of sheep.
I can't believe I'm still alive...that's all I've gotta say...
NOW, random facts for a random
Well looky here...even though WalMart failed miserably in Europe, "Home Depo" still managed to establish a viable market here, lol!
Famous celebrities who hail from the land of Albania!
Eliza Dushku (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Bring it On)
Jim Belushi (K-9, Hoodwinked, The Wild, According to Jim)
Mother Theresa (WTF, MATE???)
More to come!
There are more photos below