Apollonia, sheep and odd orators

Sunday, April 17, we visited the ruins of the ancient city of Apollonia near the coast and close to the town of Fier.  Carly was initially nervous about the possibility of eating in Fier but we only drove in Fier.

After a two hour drive (provided by friends Niles and Rebecca), the rough and always-under-construction roads of Albania yielded to the plain around Apollonia.  Covered with green grass and newly-sprouted grape vines growing on trellises around small houses, we also saw flocks of sheep, a few goats and some horses as we drove through the rural area.  Chickens were a common sight and, if you paid close enough attention, you would see the occasional turkey foraging along with the chickens or by itself.

The website from the Albanian Canadian League  Information Service ( http://albca.com/albania/apollonia.html )provides a good quick history of Apollonia:  “  Apollonia in Illyria (modern Albania), known as Apollonia, was located on the right bank of the Aous, the ruins of which are situated in the Fier region, near the village of Pojan, geographically located at 40*43’N 19*28’E.  It was founded 588 BCE by Greek colonists from Kerkyra (Corfu) and Corinth, and was perhaps the most  important of the several classical towns known as Apollonia.  The site was already used by Corinthian traders and the Taulantii, an Illyrian tribe, who remained closely  involved with the settlement for centuries and lived alongside the Greek colonists.  The city was said to have been named Gylaceia after Glyax, its founder, but the name was later changed to honor the god Apollo.  The city quickly grew to 50,000 residents by the second century BCE.  Apollonia later became a free Roman city after it sided with Julius Caesar during the war against Pompey.  It developed into a cultural center of the arts until the 3rd century CE when an earthquake rerouted” the Aous (or Vjosa?) river, turning the area into a malaria-infested swamp “and leading to the city’s decline.”

Surprisingly, a great deal of this site is still unexcavated.  That’s probably a good thing, for the site has been looted as recently as during the unrest of 1997 when people chopped the heads off some of the statues to sell them on the black antiquities market.  As you walk the area, you can see fragments of walls poking up above the grounds and, where the ground has been dug up or has fallen away on a hillside, you can easily pick pottery shards from the ground.  Another thing that has probably precluded excavation in the past was dictator Enver Hoxha’s unique brand of paranoia.  On the top of the acropolis, Hoxha built concrete bunkers and artillery emplacements.  Who knows what sorts of buidings those emplacements might have destroyed or be still hiding?

ticket for Apollonia. Cost: about three dollars.

The visible buidlings, though, are quite evident after you pay for your ticket (not at the little guardhouse that advertises tickets but from the man who comes down from the cafe and asks you to pay) and enter the gate.  The columns and architrave of the bouleuterion and the odeon beyond it are visible and breathtaking at first glance.  We walked up to them and I tried not to dash up to the old Greek/Roman building like a kid at Disney.

Here’s what that Canadian site says about the buildings:

Bouleuterion is an administrative building.

“The bouleuterion [is] an elegant and compact building from the Hellenism [Hellenistic?] period whose façade with six marble Corinthian columns was restored in the 1960’s.  Most of the marble architrave is original.  The building measures  15m by 20m and the columns stand 9m high.  The interior behind the columns is a U-shaped room surrounded by marble-faced brick walls.  A Greek inscription on the architrave states that the building was constructed by Quintus Villius Crispinius Furius Proculus, in honour of his deceased brother.  His identity is unknown.  Excavation in the interior of the building has revealed that it was used as the office of the imperial administration in the city, in particular of the official concerned with administration of the imperial cult ceremonies.  The date of the

Modern orator takes stage in the ancient odeon.

inscription is also unknown, but the building as a whole is thought to date from the second quarter of the 2nd century CE.  Immediately beyond the bouleuterion is the odeon, a small Roman building dating from the 2nd century CE.  It seats about 600 spectators, and the steps have been restored to allow it to be used for modern concert performances.  The two buildings are thought to have formed the edges of a small square.”

While we were there, I climbed into the seats of the odeon to see what it might have been like to sit there and watch a Greek play, Roman orator or some sort of religious ceremony being performed.  Surprisingly, a modern orator took the ancient stage and began to expound upon how greater allowances for eleven-year-olds would cause the empire prosper and how the gods–and god of music Apollo himself–would look favorably upon those giving young musicans new and expensive cellos.  While she seemed rather an impassioned speaker, I ultimately found myself unmoved by her arguments and suggested that she follow the philosophy of Marcus Aurelius and be happy with what she has.

After a while of exploring the area near the odeon and the bouleuterion, we walked up the hill to the site of the acropolis.  Along the way, we came upon fragments of walls that suggested the buildings lying below and one wall of massive stones probably from the earliest Greek settlement.  Carly and Shawna were especially thrilled to find flocks of sheep jingling along with their little bells and accompanied by Albanian shepherds and their sheepdogs.  The sheep were enthusiastically munching on the greenery of the mountain (grass, sedge, flowers–didn’t matter) and I could see how they could easily keep the grass down for an area like that.

At the summit of the acropolis hill, we weren’t greeted with the majestic sight of the bouleuterion as we were down below, but instead the stark concrete of Hoxha’s gun emplacements.  Originally an adherent of Stalinist communism, Hoxha moved Albania

reads something like "don't unbreach your weapons here, comrades"

further away from that version of Communism in his search for “pure” Communism.  At one point he allied Albania with the Chinese.  Eventually, though, a combination of his paranoia and socialist vision caused him to close Albania to the outside world.  While the social cost of his vision was a closed society, the physical remnants of that vision are apparent throughout Albania in the thousands of bunkers that were built during this period.  The bunkers on the acropolis are tied to the central gun emplacement by tunnels and some of the instructions to the original occupants are still visible on the walls there, as are pro-Hoxha slogans such as “Parti Hoxha” which we assumed was not a phrase meaning “this way to Hoxha’s party.”

MORE OF THIS POST TO COME

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Happy Birthday, Greg!

We had a little fete last night for my 46th birthday.  We met with both Albanian friends and Fulbright fellows at the New Berlin restaurant. 

Our plan was a simple pizza and beer sort of gathering but the head waiter there sprung into action and brought out green and antipasto salads, sparkling and nonsparkling water and three sorts of pasta for the fifteen or so of us there.  Shawna brought a cheesecake from Acropol Pastisserie which was graced with some dark chocolate on top (I didn’t get to taste the chocolate).  The cheesecake itself was light and not overly sweet.  While we didn’thave candles, the staff at New Berlin decorated the top of the cheesecake with American flags and other things.  I had a big beer.  I mean a liter of German dark beer.  The restaurant also bought us a bottle of Albanian champagne served in long, straight flutes.  It tasted different than any champagne I’ve had and had a hint of raki, I thought, though no one else seemed to notice any of that.

Our Albanian and American contacts from the embassy came, as did some of the other Fulbrighters here: Symeon, the international relations scholar, and Kimberly, the comparative lit specialist, and her Albanian husband Dorian.  I was especially touched that my program director, Lida Tabaku and her colleague Shpresa came.  Even moreso that Carly’s cello teacher, Teuta (“tay-ew-ta,” same name as an Illyrian queen), her 18-year-old daughter Jona (say “yona”) came along.

Part of the reason Teuta and Jona were there has to do with the present I asked for from Carly.  She made me a great birthday card with an owl on it and I’m sure she would have been happy to get me a tie or something, but I asked that she play “Happy Birthday” for me on her cello at the restaurant.   This is becoming somewhat of a tradition.  Last year, as we celebrated my 45th at our house, she was showing some of what she had learned to do on her cello to her grandparents.  On a lark, I pulled the cello music for “Happy Birthday” off the internet and she sight-read it pretty much accurately right there.  She’s usually nervous about playing in front of people, so I was surprised she was willing to play in a restaurant, but she did so, right next to her teacher, the notes ringing clearly and smoothly with a happy vibrato that was more than accompanyment for the singing of the song.  In addition to the whole gathering with good cheer and vibrant conversation, Carly’s playing was my favorite present.

There are no pictures here because I charged the battery for my camera, put in the memory card and then prompty left it on the desk next to my computer.

Shkoder weavers

Saturday March 26 we took a guided trip to Shkoder (aka Shkodra) in the north of Albania.  While I usually abhor guided trips due to their predictability and herd mentality, this trip was wonderful.  It was arranged by the Tirana Womens International Group (TWIG).  There were twelve or thirteen of us plus our guide, Drini, and the driver of the minibus.  The trip was something like an hour and half from Tirana.

Our first stop was an artisan weavers’ shop in the mountains of Shkoder.  We passed quite a few sheep (some of which were later converted into wool) as our bus climbed up the winding roads.  When we arrived, we climbed a tall set of steps to a small house which contained the looms.  The work space looks exactly how you might imagine 18th century cottage industry to manifest itself.  The room was as big as an average bedroom or a small living room and four looms–two large and two small–were packed into the space with piles of wool and other things taking up some space.  There were no lights on but the area was lighted well enough by the one large window. 

Three women worked the larger loom.  They sat next to each other in the comfortable way that folks who have worked together sit.  They neither spoke much nor sang; they neither rushed their work nor dawdled but threaded the colored wool of the woof across the white strands of the warp according to the paper pattern in front of them.  Then, according to some silent and unspoken cue, they released their foot pedals, reached forward and pulled the bar towards them with a solid whack! which tightened the woof in place.  Then they began again with nimble fingers to weave the bright colored yard which had been off-white covering for several of the sheep grazing outside.

In addition to the three women working the big loom, one woman worked the small loom, concentrating on a mostly red and black rug (colors of Albania).  Somehow, whether  it was she or the owner I don’t remember, Miranda, the 13-year-old, and Carly were beckoned to sit down and work the smaller loom along with the woman.  Carly, usually shy at first in these circumstances, agreed to go along if Miranda tried it first.  Soon Miranda was sitting at the loom and twisting threads across the warp and, with a nudge of the weaver, pulling the bar back with its loud whack! to set the yarn in place.  When Miranda was finished, Carly took her place and as soon weaving the bright red yarn through her section of the rug and pulling the bar back with a whack! as what were shortly before only bits of thread piled about the place became a rug someone would keep in their home.  It was exciting to think that Miranda and Carly’s work would be part of that rug for who knows how many years.  Carly was the last one to leave the weavers’ room, working silently with the weaver and loving the silent and focused work as she always does.  I am sure that, if it were possible, she would  have stayed there all day, weaving and whacking and working quietly and purposefully.

The retail part of the enterprise was downstairs in a room about the same size crowded with rugs hanging on the walls and in piles on a long dresser.  The only obvious concession to anything touristy were a few very small red rugs (mouse-pad size) with the black Albanian eagle printed on them.  Some of the rugs were special orders and were not for sale.  The owner of the factory told me that they did make special order prayer rugs for Muslims and they also made other rugs according to whatever design the buyer wanted.  The rug I bought, for only $20, was maybe two and half by five feet long.  Shawna and Carly bought some placemats and two purselike bags.  Transactions like these always leave me feeling just a little ambivalent.  On the one hand, I know I should have dropped $100 or $200 there and found a way to take home those wonderful tapestries I could never afford at home.  On the other hand, I thought of the hours it would take to make those rugs, to card the wool and spin it, to color it, to weave it.  How many different ways my $20 would have to be split up and how little of it probably ended up in the hands of the weavers.  But I also know that little bit goes a long way here and the work they were doing didn’t seem to be something that was onerous.  From the looks on their faces, it seemed to be a pleasant way to pass an afternoon rather than slaving in a sweatshop.

Berat, poetry and castles

House in Castle Berat with Mt. Tomorr in the background

Monday March 21 was Bach’s birthday.  It was also International Poetry Day, the day we went to the ancient city of Berat in the south of Albania so I could read poetry at the city library.  I was invlted by Arian Leka, a famous Albanian poet and head of the Poeteka group which sponsors a Struga-type poetry festival in Albania every year.  Riding shotgun was his friend Julien.  Both Arian and Julien were kind enough to translate seven of my poems (my poems have been translated!) so that folks in Berat could understand what the heck I was talking about.  Carly and Shawna came along, too, though Carly took some convincing and Dramamine after our trip through the mountains to Elbasan earlier in the year included Carly barfing on Albania on one high mountain pass.

Berat is only about 50 miles from Tirana as the crow flies, but in the land of the double-headed eagle, apparently the crow never flies.  Roads here are often in bad repair or, more commonly, they are in the midst of being rebuilt and widened.  In addition to the winding nature of some of the roads, the need to take the best roads and confronting morning traffic, it took us about three hours to arrive in Berat.  Even this, however, didn’t preclude our stopping for coffee at one little cafe along the way.  Here we were able to experience “Turkish style” toilets for the first time.  More on that in another post but let me say that, yes, they are porcelain and flush but no, you don’t sit but squat.  ‘Nuff said.

On arrival in Berat we went straight into the city library.  A varied group of 50 or so people were waiting in a nondescript multipurpose room for us.  Julien, who also served as my interpreter, myself, Arian and the director of the library sat at a couple tables in front of everyone and there was a guy with a beard who stood at a podium.  I was then told that the guy with the beard was the actor who had been (hired? recruited? volunteered?) to read the Shqip (Albanian) version of my poems.  I managed to keep my composure and just say “wow, very good, great” but inside I was thinking (“holy crap!  They hired an actor to read my poems!  How @#$%^&*ing cool is that!”).  The director then read all of the bio I had given Arian and then talked about Arian, whose poems are read by schoolchildren here.  A local poet and scholar then came up and gave a scholarly introduction to Arian’s poetry.  And then there was little ol me.

Arian had me read first and Julien translated anything I said in the form of introductory comments.  The mayor and someone else important and official sat right in front of me, next to Carly and Shawna.  It was odd reading poems in English.  Clearly, a few people in the audience understood English well enough as I could see them responding as I ended a poem, but most of them just applauded politely as I finished.  I wouldn’t have blamed them if they just waited until the translation was read.   After each poem, The Actor (I never caught his name) would read the translation and he did so very well.  I tried to follow along on the translated poem to see how it sounded and to catch the audience’s reaction as The Actor came to certain parts of my work.   Overall, it seemed to turn out quite well, though the mayor kept looking at his watch near the end.  I ended with “Short Hair,” which is basically a love poem to Shawna and a way to tease her about how she likes to get her hair cut all the time.   They liked that one.  Arian read only two of his poems and then it was apparently too late for discussion.

We finished around 1:00 p.m. and Shawna, Carly and I would have happily dived  into a local cafe for lunch but the plan was to do sightseeing first and then go to lunch.  And it’s good that we ended up that way.  We headed up the mountain on a steep road behind a red Mercedes carrying the library director, an aged and respected local professor, one tall guy in a sweater and striking jacket whose name I never caught and perhaps someone else.  We wound up the little road for only five minutes or so before the citadel of Berat came into view.  Especially with the majestic Mount Tomorr in the background, it looked . . . well, historic.  Carly was especially blown away by her first opportunity to visit a real castle.  The road leading into the citadel itself was paved with large cobblestones that were slippery even though they weren’t wet.  Shawna asked “how did those princesses manage to climb up this hill in their fancy shoes and clothes?”

While the museum was closed, the Byzantine church inside the walls of the church was opened to us by the man who was in charge of the castle/museum.  We were led through the church with its amazing collection of icons by a hired English student who gave us the background on the church and many of its salient points.  Julien emerged as a dark horse at this point, chiming in with detailed explications of parts of the church, icons and Byzantine Christianity in general.  Carly was visibly taken back, amazed as we opened the door to the church itself and the iconostasis came into view.  As the church is a museum and not a working church, we were allowed to explore all parts of the small church where we wouldn’t be allowed to visit in a working church.  My one disappointment was that the artwork on the domes (there were three domes instead of one) was mostly destroyed.  Apparently, the Communists had whitewashed it in a fit of antireligious zealotry before realizing that they had artistic merit and then coming back two years later and trying to restore them.

After viewing the church, we came back into the courtyard and wandered around a bit.  Our guide pointed out that the castle has been continuously occupied and that there were still people living there.  The castle traces its earliest foundations to an Illyrian fortress built some 2400 years ago and then improved upon by successive occupations of Romans, Byzantines, and eventually Ottomans who held Berat until 1912.  One of the best parts of the castle being occupied is that it had a cafe, right there among the stones and ruins.  Little did we know that this was where we were eating lunch.  We were all ushered in and the owner began bringing us drinks (raki to start) and different dishes.  There were salads, different vegetable dishes, something with meat, roast lamb chops, wine, a cheese pie, a cheese and spinach pie, and then finally coffee and a dessert called “Milkie” which was something like custard in a crust with honey.  The cafe owner didn’t believe Carly when she asked for a coffee, for it was Turkish coffee she was drinking but he eventually brought it to her after he had served everyone else.   I don’t know if she liked it but she made sure she sugared it and drank it.

L to R:Arian Leka, Unknown Guy, library director (obscured), Julien, Greg, Carly, Shawna (holding wine glass), castle administrator

The drive home was less trouble than the one in the morning but I slept most of the way so I can’t really say a whole lot about that.  Arian and Julien were very gracious with their time and talents as were the people of Berat.  That seems to be a common theme here.  Geez, I hope we’re showing Albanians as much hospitality when they come to America, but I doubt that’s so.

Bike Bazaar (but no bizarre bikes)

I’ve finally figured out where the bicycle bazaar is here.  Actually, I didn’t even know that it existed until a few days ago when another Fulbrighter told me about it.  You go to the Old Market near Skanderbeg Square  and work your way to Qemal Stafa.  More than one website I saw refers to it as the “antique bicycle bazaar” but most of the bikes I see in Tirana, maybe half, are “antiques.”  At the actual bazaar, though,  most of the bikes  I saw, dissapointingly, were fairly contemporary bikes.  Most were of a great variety of manufacture—Germany and Italy but also China and South Korea.    Some looked very good and were almost new; others were cheaper models a la Wal Mart and others were used better built bikes.  Many were either mountain bikes or commuter bikes.

                The bazaar is less like the wonderful disorder you might imagine of a bazaar (as you see in the New Bazaar here) and more a street with a bunch of small bike kiosks lining each side.  Some of the bikes are hanging on the outsides of the buildings and some line the edge of the street.  One of the first vendors I met was quite excited to show me everything he had.  Despite trying to fit in (or perhaps because of wife and daughter being there) I’m sure he tagged me immediately as an American or European with money to spend.  How do I explain in my limited Shqip all the bikes I have in America are at least twenty years old, that the oldest one is forty years old and that I haven’t paid more than $50 for any of them?  I nodded politely and put him off so I could look at the other shops, but I wasn’t really ready to buy anything and certainly nothing of the price and polish that he had. 

                I’m hoping that I can find something for about $50 here, a beater sort of commuter like I see on the streets, something that’s in solid shape but doesn’t look like much.   I’ll have to sell it or give it away when I leave anyway and I don’t want to worry too much about when I lock it up.

                While it initially seems suicidal to ride a bike around here, I’ve decided from watching traffic that the drivers, while they don’t really follow the sort of rules we’re used to back home, do usually yield to pedestrians and cyclists in a way that Florida drivers don’t.    Florida (and probably most US) drivers have the attitude that the road is theirs and no one else belongs there.  This attitude leads to motorists continuing to accelerate or head towards a pedestrian or cyclist when they really should prepare to stop.  Here, motorists prepare to stop, even if it’s very close to cyclists and pedestrians.  The route down Ismail Qemali, which I sometimes take to work, doesn’t look too bad and I sometimes see older men and women in professional-looking outfits cycling to or from work, sometimes with briefcases or other sorts of portfolios strapped to their Pletscher racks.  If they feel comfortable doing it, I imagine I can if I exercise due caution.  Other roads look a lot more dangerous so, as usual, it’s important to choose one’s routes.

                I want to spend a little time with the camera documenting the different bicycles around Tirana.  The cycle use here definitely refutes the general arguments in Florida that bikes are for recreational use primarily.

De-Peshk mode

We bought fish last night–peshk–for dinner.  Fish shops are fairly common in Tirana and since the coast is only a half hour away, the fish gets here fresh.  At the fish shop, they had something that looked like skinny mackerel, some small red sorta squirrelfish-like fish that I couldn’t imagine how to cook, shrimp (karkalec), squid, some smelt-like fish, salmon and something that seemed a cross between a pinfish and a porgy.  These last were decent size so I bought two for about 600 leke.  Most things like fish and meat are in kilos (2.2 pounds to the kilo, I know now) so I really have to think about how much I’m ordering.

I filleted the porgies and had almost enough for the three of us.  Shawna brought home some of those little hard toast things and I crushed them up for bread crumbs and mixed them with flour.  She made a good effort at picking up cornmeal, too, but it’s a challenge when you’re not quite sure what words are used for certain things in the grocery store; the packaging is not always the same as one would expect in the States, either.  I opened up the little box with the corn on the front and found that we had corn starch instead of corn meal.  Useful for Chinese food and other things but not quite what I was hoping for.
“I imagine they didn’t have grits, either,” I said.
“Now, Sugar, grits is just down the aisle yonder,” she replied with a roll of her eyes. 
If I were a restauranteur I’d work on introducing grits and fried fish to Albania.

I’ve been a little surprised that the fish isn’t cheaper here.  It’s a little better than home but not that different in price, at least not so in Tirana.  The porgies we bought were about $4/lb whole.  That’s on the low end of what I would buy at home at Wards Seafood in Largo, but still close to US prices.  It’s got to be tough for regular Albanians to buy fish.  But maybe it’s not for the folks who regularly buy it.  It’s much more of a deal in restaurants, either.  Of course, if I came here from Kansas, I’d be thrilled just to see fresh fish (as are the tourists in Florida).  I also haven’t seen trout in the seafood markets, only saltwater fish.

There are rivers and lakes here, though, so there must be trout somewhere.  My American friend who lives here is game to go trying to fish for trout in lakes or streams so hopefully we can do that  before too long.  There’s a trout that’s supposed to be delicious, the Lake Ohrid Trout, but it’s  been overfished and is a protected species.  Other areas have been stocked with European trout and I’d be just as happy to catch those.

Words, words, words . . .

The poet David Kirby, in his little book Writing Poems once said something like “try to go through life being dumb. When you’re smart everything makes sense but when you’re dumb you have to think through things you see in fresh ways and sometimes you get an idea for poems that way.”  He was suggesting that we look at the world we are so used to seeing in fresh ways, that we always look at the world with what Buddhists call a “beginner’s mind.”  Well, I’m blessed here in Albania as someone who knows very little Albanian language because everything with Albanian words on it is fresh and new to me, makes me feel like a beginner and . . . often makes me feel quite dumb.  But sometimes I revel in my dullness before resorting to the dictionary to straighten things out. Two words so far are my case in point because they look, on the surface, like words–sorta–in English. 

One ubiquitous word, from TV to shop windows to billboards is njoftime.  The problem with this word is that it’s not sufficiently different that it would mean absolutely no sense to me as I look at it.  C’kemi, for example (informal hello) doesn’t look like anything.  There are no English words hidden in there.  Njoftime, however, has three  English words in the quick succession: NJ, of and time.  So we have the great state of New Jersey’s initials, the word “of” and “time.”  Having recently endured a twelve hour layover in a New Jersey airport with nowhere to take a nap, airport kiosk food and lack of sleep from making the Tampa to NJ flight at 6:30 a.m., I looked at this new word as being “the New Jersey of time,” meaning, I imagine, “an amount of time that seems neverending where you are stuck someplace uncomfortable.”  It would seem a useful word in particular situations.  For example, you could ask someone “how was that dinner at your in-laws’ last night” and they could respond “oh, it was a njoftime” and you’d know exactly what they meant.  Or you might say “good thing you missed that budget meeting–big time njoftime.”  Or, I just finished reading Greg’s blog–what a njoftime!  Sadly for my simple brain, njoftime just means “information.”

The other seemingly useful Albanian-English word I’ve seen is “mallrash.”  And they apparently deliver the stuff all over town because I’ve seen numerous big trucks with MALLRASH on the side or on the front dash driving around and parked in places.  Actually, I greeted this new word with some recognition and relief because, being one who loathes going to shopping malls, I find that I often get “mallrash” when I make the mistake of allowing myself to be hauled along by my wife and/or daughter.  There are several ways to get mallrash.  One involves trying to perch oneself somewhere while one’s companions spend three hours trying on shoes or looking at that cute shirt or exchanging that item that “will just take a minute.”  Unless you get lucky and find one of those chairs or benches, you have to perch on a rail like a pigeon or sit on some small step or maybe on something that was supposed to be an architectural accent, like a bowling-ball sort of thing that is high enough for a small seat but leaves you looking like you’re laying an egg and, of course, leaves you with a bad case of mallrash in indelicate places.  You can also get mallrash from carrying other people’s purchases or from the painful grating of removing one’s bankcard from one’s wallet too much.  My wife and daughter, however, are somehow immune to mallrash no matter how long or how often they have visited the mall.  I suspect that my wife my be a carrier of mallrash but immune to its effects. Surprisingly, she’s quite sensitive to hardwarestorerash. In Albania, though, mallrash is just “cargo.”

If I keep my eyes open, though, I’m sure I’ll find some other useful words, as long as I don’t get mallrash from staying in the mall for a njoftime.