Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter is here

After the rains of a week ago Tirana was inundated by gorgeous sunshine for a couple of days and throughout the weekend.

On Wednesday, the 8th, Albania celebrated another national holiday: it was the 20th anniversary of the student upraising that challenged and eventually initiated the crumbling of the old dictatorial regime in 1990.

For those of you that might be interested in history, I refer you to a short article by a young foreign author, whom I met over a decade ago, that describes the events of those days. Lots of interesting historical videos of this happening have now surfaced and are also available on YouTube.

On Friday, the temperature suddendly dipped about 20F degrees within 24 hours. The crisp air was rushed in by unually strong wind, and people that nornally stroll around, have stepped up their walking pace, bundled up in heavy coats, scarves, and gloves.

Now, this week is giving us a first look at sprinkles of snow on the mountain tops surrounding this capital.

The early morning rain and cold did not stop the beggar mother that every day shows up on the nearby bridge over the Lana canal, with her young girl. Regardless of weather, and without any cover, she squat downs for a few hours on a blanket and awaits handouts, while chatting with local streeet vendors, who also park themselves on this narrow passage way to sell their ware.

It's sad to think that the homeless situation that, unfortunately, exists in every country, continually produces loss of lives. Provided shelters where alcohol is not allowed are avoided by the lost souls that remain in danger on the streets to maintain their addiction to drinking.

In most cases here and throughout Europe begging is done by women and children, who maintain their male partners' bad habits with their quests, otherwise, unfortunately, they would suffer their abuses.

As soon as the weather clears a bit Tirana's municipal street cleaners in their green uniforms are out, as usual, to perform their duties, which include raking fallen leaves in the parks and the green areas, such as the one along the canal below my apartment.

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