Today, the Greek Prime Minister was in town. While I was visiting the embassy, the city closed the main boulevard, which lies between the embassy and our house and which also transects the major east-west routes through the city. This brought traffic to a crawl; I left the embassy at 1.00 pm and arrived home, 2 miles away, at 2.00 pm. At 5.15 pm, I figured that the official activities were largely over, so I drove back toward the embassy; by 6.00 pm, I had to turn around after having gone about 1 mile. This was not a good day.
Yesterday, on the other hand, the city also closed the boulevard for the first breast cancer awareness march held in Tirana. It being a Sunday, the closure was not a big deal; the march, on the other hand, was, as Albanians generally don’t discuss these types of things (cancer, breasts) in public. Slowly, the country is entering the latter half of the 20th century.*
|Dignitaries, including Speaker of the House Josefina Topalli, U.S. Ambassador and Mrs. John L. Withers II, and Tirana Mayor Edi Rama, leading the march; marchers stretching down the boulevard; Cooper and his pink ribbon.|
*Yes, I know it’s the first half of the 21st century.