Albanian building regulations.



Albanian building regulations., originally uploaded by Big Al!.

Now in a hotel in albania, after a very long, tiring, wet, muddy and very wierd day. The shower is inches from a dodgy socket, hanging out of the wall with exposed wires. It’s nice to be inside, warm and dry, but it makes me nervous not sleeping right next to the bike. Albania has been bizarre. The road from monte negro was the worst yet, a bumpy and in parts single-track back lane, yet used by trucks and leading to an international border crossing. The crossing was much easier than i thought it might be. Just passport and V5, and we’re off. Into the worst cr@phole i’ve ever seen! Dead cats and dogs on the road, too numerous to count. Terrible road. Beat up old mercs seemingly the transport of choice for those with money, beat up old bicycles for those without. And for the first time, no other bikers. There were few in monte negro, but none here. We’re really starting to draw attention now. Kids wave, and look gleeful if you wave back. We head onto the main road to Tirane, a single carriageway of craziness. Some vehicles doing 10 mph, others 100. Overtaking where they like, when they like, never mind what’s coming. And every quarter mile or so, huge immaculate petrol stations on both sides of the road, incredibly incongruous, the only modern or new buildings to be seen. And more police speed traps than you’d see in 5 years on english roads. Amazed we escape being pulled as we’re now amongst the fastest on the roads, the opposite of italy. Then we hit the capital and it’s a crazy mass of cars and people. We seem to have arrived in the middle of a political event which has drawn the whole city on to the streets. Some kids pull alongside in a clapped out old piece of junk and start shouting. I immediately fear some kind of aggro, but when i look over, the driver / ringleader is making "rev it up" gestures. I oblige, to their great delight, and they pace me for a while wanting more. Dave does a sterling job steering us through the mayhem, and on the other side of the city it starts to rain. We find a hotel, cause a bit of a commotion with our arrival (how many english hotel managers would come out to over see your parking and direct you to park right outside the front door), finish the cheese and ham we bought for lunch, with a bottle of monte negro wine that tastes like vinegar, and call it a night. The hotel s a welcome dose of relative familiarity after the culture shock. Hard to believe this is a european country. Tomorrow, macedonia.