Wednesday, October 20, 2010


When I lived in Cochabamba, I became aware of a class of older gentlemen whom I thought of as the "Latin gentlemen." They would pace through the plazas with their hands clasped behind their backs, wearing suits and fedoras, getting their shoes shined by scruffy urchins, invariable courteous and able to quote Aristotle at the drop of a hat.

I've noticed a similar type of gentleman here, about the same age and affect, although I wouldn't know about the courtesy or Aristotle since I can't talk with them. Last Sunday when we walked to church I saw lots of them congregated in one little plaza gathered around tables playing dominos. I wonder about all the changes they've seen in Tirana over the years, and I wonder what they think about it all - the end of communism in 1992, the financial collapse in 1997 - I doubt they're old enough to remember the German occupation, so for most of their lives Enver Hoxha would have been in power.

I also wonder what they think of us wandering around Tirana with our SUV stroller and Baby Bjorn - probably very little, come to that :-)

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