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.