Aside

View outside our windows

Our apartment is close to the Blloku, the old area in which the Communist leaders lived and was closed off to everyone else.  We’re actually very close to Selman Stermasi soccer stadium in a densely packed area (all of Tirana is densely packed) near the Edith Durham School (named after a British woman from the early 20th c. who did a lot of work recovering Albanian customs and history).  So we get to see kids coming to and from school everyday.  Below us is a dental clinic (there are lots of those here), a nail place and an appliance repair shop.  Those of you who know me well will realize how ironic this is, since I grew up working in my dad’s appliance shop.  It seems a rather middle-class, average neighborhood.  I mention all this so that you’ll see the pictures outside our balcony in context.  Clothes hanging outside people’s apartments is a common site (few dryers here) as are exteriors of buildings in various stages of repair.  The interiors are often quite different and kept in nice shape, I gather.

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5 thoughts on “View outside our windows

  1. I’m glad to know you have satellite tv access, assuming from the photo that you do…what programming is available?

    1. We do indeed have a dish but our TV feed is cable. We could get satellite but it would be more costly than is useful. On cable, we get mostly Albanian stations plus one French, one Italian, one German and apparently on Swiss. One of the Albanian stations carries sports but seems get get hold of different stuff than we’re used to. Carly and I watched a tense match between two Norwegian men’s couples teams in . . . badminton last night. It was actually rather exciting but the Albanian sports announcers often just let the opponents play without saying anything. They’ve also shown a men’s luge tournament and a World Cup gymnastics tournament (in Norway). There’s futbol, of course, but some of these other sports come up a lot. No curling exhibitions so far.

      1. Appliance repair shop?? What’s that?
        Travelling, I’ve been amazed at things that, lo and behold, can actually be fixed. I remember Mansie’s sister visiting the US and I helped her pick out a little portable DVD player to use in hotels when she traveled for work. One of those cheapo $40-50 things at Best Buy. Wasn’t long that she blew it up with the wrong current overseas. Kind of expected that. I figured “well just trash it, it’s done” But between her and her mom, they said no, we know someone who will fix it (in Bombay). I was dubious, I admit, but the guy fixed it. Probably for 2 bucks or something US.

        I’ve seen guys fixing cell phones on the sidewalk in Bangkok. (Plus mountains of used ones for sale). Hell, they’ll bring a toaster in to get repaired. When was the last time I did that? Never.

        Perhaps many of our gadgets are considered by us to be “disposable” only because we have the luxury to just toss them.

  2. I’ve seen them mostly working on the small split units that are so common here (no ductwork) which are also reverse-cycle units that warm as well as cool. They also have a bunch of small, front-loading washing machines stacked up down there. When we had our cellphones simm cards changed over, we saw people working on cellphones at that shop. The guy had a sort of microscope to see the small circuitry and a very fine soldering iron he was using. But our culture makes it impossible to keep an older cellphone for very long when the companies won’t support them and they give new ones free with your contract. Sometimes it seems that the “old American ingenuity” is overseas now.

  3. Hi Dr. Byrd,

    Please tell me where to ship my two broken vaccuum cleaners! I have been waiting to find some place that fixes them in the Clearwater area. Doesn’t seem to be such a thing here. 🙂

    What TV news stations do you get there? Anything like CNN international?

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