Another playdate and President Wilson


The neighborhood fans waiting
across the street for a glimpse
of the new guy

To the left you can see Round Two of the boxes we’ve been emptying … anyway, today we took in Dougall, one of Viki and Alwyn’s dogs, while they enjoy a weekend away. Dougall’s arrival excited a lot of local interest, and Cooper was very happy to have a playmate. Abby and I have been eager to have Cooper* socialize with other dogs, in the hope that he’ll calm down and stop chewing on us. However, as before, Dougall wants nothing to do with Cooper. It’s as though our dog is that weird kid in the neighborhood that none of the other kids ever wanted to play with. (This actually isn’t true, insofar as the neighborhood kids love Cooper. It’s just the other dogs that look at him as though he takes the short bus.)

So Abby and I spent the day emptying boxes and figuring out where the various paintings are going to go. We then went out with the dogs out for a long walk. We took them to the river, and walked away from town. Abby commented on the abundance of horse poo along the river, and then we saw the stray horse walking along the street. This is strange, but not too strange – last night as we walked home from the Bllok (the bar/entertainment section of Tirana), we saw a man riding behind his horse in a two-wheeled cart, absolutely tearing down the street. So there are horses in town. (And a cow that grazes in a field half a block behind our house.) We also passed by the Roma shantytown, which is situated in a light industrial block – more on that later. As we proceeded along the river, we were stopped by small boys who wanted to talk to us in rapid-fire Albanian about our dogs, and then by an older man who, on learning we were Americans, said (in Albanian) “America – strong!” and “President Wilson!” Communication isn’t always easy here, but it is nice to be appreciated.

* (a.k.a. Box-o’-Rocks, as in “dumb as a”)