Not much going on tonight. What you see on these photos is the fountain of Taiwan, a recreational center in the heart of Tirana, within Youth Park or Parku Rinia. The park itself, once home to hundreds of trees, became home of more than a couple dozen of tin shanties during the mid ’90s. Thanks to then mayor’s persistence (now PM), the park was freed from all the craziness of this lawlessness and the remaining trees started breathing air again. Unfortunately the park is nowhere near its former glory but let’s say it is on the right track.
Now, a funny story about the middle building on the background. First, it is against the law. It sits next to the Swiss Embassy and the Albanian law prohibits buildings of more than 4 floors when they share the same fence with a foreign embassy. Second, it is against the building guidelines since it does not posses an underground parking. It doesn’t have parking at all. Third, its owners were in such a hurry finishing its construction that they forgot about the elevator shaft. Can you fucking believe that? I used to work at the low building next to it and we had to listen to their jackhammers all day for a whole week while they were opening a new elevator shaft from the top floor to the ground floor. To be fair though, the owners weren’t the brightest tools in the shed, if you catch my drift. Violent and scary people, like straight out of a cave. I almost forgot, it’s also too close to the building on its right and that is against the law. So, in all its greatness, this is how we used to fuck the law from all holes here in Albania until recently. If it happened 70 meters far from PM’s office, imagine what has happened in other cities. Now it’s getting better but the pace is toooooooo slooooooow but let’s discuss it in another thread.
I’m sorry my post got dark pretty soon but as you see on the photos, the sun is setting. If you ever visit Tirana, stop by Taiwan for a coffee and if it’s summer evening, the water flow on the fountain follows the rhythm of operas playing on the background. A truly relaxing experience.
This place is called “The Aerodrome”. There is a long pedestrian street in front of the buildings, always packed with families enjoying the absence of traffic noise, a rarity in Tirana nowadays. The buildings are new, built in the last 10 years or so, but before there was an airfield for light planes. Now, the only thing remaining from that time it’s the Helicopter Service of the Civil Emergency.
This photo was taken a couple of days ago. The colors were surreal and I knew I had to get it on camera. I went to the other room, took out the bag, changed lenses and tried to catch it before disappearing behind the buildings in the distance.
The view from our summer apartment. Shamelessly I’ll promote it here as well, in case anyone is visiting Albania this year. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5509812
Patos is a small city close to Fier. The latter is the next city after Vlora on the way to Tirana. My mother is actually from Patos and my father is from Fier. Patos had its greatest days during communism. The regime built close to Patos the biggest oil refinery (there is the biggest oil field in Albania) and they brought engineers and intellectuals from all over the country to work and live there. With the fall of communism, things started to change, people would leave the city to move to Fier or Tirane or even emigrate to Greece or Italy. While the refinery is still there, it is outdated and not working on full capacity. We should also take into consideration that during communism unemployment rate was zero therefore every industry was overcrowded with people and technology was not that efficient. Most of the biggest factories in Albania were built during the 50’s-70’s by the Russians and after them by the Chinese. After the Chinese we were on our own and things started getting worse. There was no possibility to keep up with new tech and machinery so more people were brought in to do the hard work… Now it is depressing to watch the same city deep in unemployment and poverty. When I was young I remember there was a circus, a cinema, a culture palace and many other buildings for social gathering. Now most of them do not exist at all, those were demolished to make way for bars and coffee shops, the only profitable business in our country.
I guess I could talk for hours and hours about Patos or Fier, if you have any questions feel free to ask 🙂