January 2nd

Albanians celebrate the new year with fireworks and firecrackers, and at 300 lekë for 100 of the cheap ones, Tirana was awash in them. The crescendo had been building since Christmas, and it led to a 2-hour explosion of fireworks at midnight, 1 January. We were unable to see the main square from our vantage point, but it didn’t matter – fireworks were exploding from nearby rooftops, balconies, and alleys, some very close to our window, and unlike what the little kids were throwing on the streetcorner the night before (and almost every night before that), these were the real…