I Heart Albania

I blogged about our image abroad as Ugly Americans and included our government’s new guidelines for reigning in our American-ness when we travel overseas, and we’ve all noted the more than occasional anti-American rants here in blogland. So what to do when you’re an American who wants to get away to a foreign country and be accepted and even welcomed (gasp!)? After watching our president’s reception in Albania, I’m pretty tempted to consider a vacation there. Check out what CNN is calling President Bush’s “rock star” greeting by the Albanians:

It’s a beautiful thing. And it turns out that Albania itself is a beautiful country (um, if you have no idea where the heck Albania is, here’s a map), just take a look at some of these pics here and here. The country also has a rich history, and did I mention they like us (Americans) there? Always a plus.

There are a couple of tourism sites (here and here), and there’s even a Sheraton to stay in, too, if you’re like me and like to absorb the culture and local character during the day but snuggle up in a toasty and soft bed after a nice hot shower at night. There are beaches, shopping, temples and mosques, castles, and shopping (yes, I said that twice). The exchange rate on the Albanian lek is $1 USD to 93.010 ALL, if you’re interested.

Also of possible interest is the list of famous Albanian Americans (yo, Tally, Faith is on there!):

This is a list of notable Albanian Americans (from wiki).

  • Avni Abazi – actor/film producer[1]
  • James Belushi – actor[2]
  • John Belushi – actor[3]
  • Joseph J. DioGuardi – congressman[4]
  • Arben Perlleshi – Social Services [5]
  • Tony Dovolani – professional dancer[6]
  • Eliza Dushku (1980 – ) actress, has appeared in the television hit series Buffy and Angel and several Hollywood films (i.e. Bring It On and Wrong Turn)[7] (Albanian father, Danish mother)
  • Gjevalin Gegaj – businessman/activist[8]
  • Bill Kovach – journalist/editor[9]
  • Donald Lambro – journalist[10]
  • Masiela Lusha (1985 – ) television actress (George Lopez)[11]
  • Gjon Mili – photographer[12]
  • Andi Mitre – mural artist
  • Ferid Murad – Nobel Prize winner[13] (Albanian father)
  • Regis Philbin – TV-show host[14] (Albanian mother)
  • Stan Dragoti– Film director, Producer, Artist


    Anyway, it’s just an idea. There’re no pyramids nor roads of water, no (in Chevy Chase voice, “look kids”) Big Ben, Parliament, but it looks pretty interesting all the same. And did I mention they like us?

  • 35 thoughts on “I Heart Albania

    1. hmmm, it looks like, from the map anyway, that you might be able to take a ferry or something from italy to get over to albania. i don’t know. i’d be happy just to get out of this state, let alone out of the country. i wonder if they’ll still love us by the time hubby and i can afford to travel?

    2. Yeah that was news of the decade actually… that Albanians not only like America, they actually like Dubya too! But then, they have nothing to lose by liking anyone (except the bossy Slavs like Russians who mess them around all the time) The journalists tried to do street interviews with Albanians and they asked their views on War in Iraq etc. They’re not sure but they do like Americans.

      In any case, liking someone is a good thing. Love and friendship gotta be shared and multiplied. Ummm… it’s also interesting that 70% of Albanians are Muslims. That’s another plus. 😉

    3. Oooh, fly into Italy for a quick look around and then a ferry over to Albania for the bulk of a vacay . . . sigh. Yes, would that I had the money, too, Kerry, but we can dream. And if you want to leave the state and find yourself on the east coast, I’ll buy you a cup of coffee (or two). 😀

      That’s so true, Eskimo, that’s a huge plus! I think it would be news to many Americans (those who still believe we’re in a “religious war”) to know that Muslims don’t hate us, indeed there are many that like and accept us. It’s also interesting, along those lines, that there is so much interreligious marriage in Albania; do you find that odd? I mean that the national identity supercedes the religious beleifs? I think it’s food for thought and probably a good example for the rest of us. Albania sent troops to Iraq, so they support it as a nation (not sure about individuals, I suspect it’s like everywhere, some do, some don’t). Thanks for the great comments! 😀

    4. Firstly, get to bed.
      Secondly, never been to Albania (I don’t think), but it looks gorgeous, that area often is. And yay @ anywhere that gives a nice, welcoming reception. I could certainly name several places that don’t.
      I’m still on my first coffee and not forming much rational thought yet.
      But yay shopping, and yay-er Faith 😀

    5. Yay! for Albanians and Yeah man! Love should transcend race, religion and nationality when it comes to choosing your life partner for lifelong bitter sweet suffering of matrimony.

      Today, on NPR’s website I read that it was in June 1967 that United States Supreme court struck down the laws against interracial marriages (which were illegal in many American states) in the U.S. Weird that things like that existed when people were listening to Beetles’ Love Love Love.

      America is great. Nothing to hate there. I would rather hate the slimy Frenchies. lol.

    6. Here in the UK we love Americans, we have to, the PM told us too lol. As it happens I love the Americans, I have many good friends in the US and one of my kids god-parents is someone I met in Chat-land on the Warner Bros site and we went on to become great friends. It is true that some Americans make it hard for the rest of you, but it’s no worse than any other country in the world expecting all Brit’s to be soccer hooligans. Gotta love them stereotypes!!

      BUT eskimo has a point, lets all rally together and hate the french, they deserve it!

      I love all people, Black, White, Yellow, Tan …….. even people with ginger hair!! BUT THE FRENCH……..ARGHHHHHHHHH

    7. Hmmm I thought I was the only one up so late. 2nd I am happy that he got a wonderful greeting. He has had some tough years. Not that he hasn’t brought some of the anger on himself. But I do not believe he is as horrible as most people treat him. But thats just my opinion.

    8. Dubya got a great greeting not only in Albania, but also Bulgaria too. I think some of the public sentiment towards the States in Albania is tied with the support for an independent Kosovo, over which Bush has been [rightly in my view] quite stridently supportive. Personally I love Americans, but as I have posted before, there is an increasing tide of anti-Americanism over here [UK and Europe generally] unfortunately.

      Much of the Balkans and Eastern Europe is open to increasing tourism, and I agree with you that there are some beautiful areas there. I have always wanted to visit Slovenia, but that will have to keep, seeing as this summers holidays are already pretty much agreed.

    9. “The brightness and warmness of the sun, the clean air and healthy climate, albanian hospitality, oldest tradition, its natural and cultural patrimony will engrave in your unforgettable memories.” Thanks Fuzzy for giving a glimpse to this wonderful place.

    10. Italy is definitely on my list of places to see and, like Kerry said, looks like a ferry ride side trip.
      I would love to cruise the Mediterranean & Greek Isles. I checked the Princess website to see if they stopped in Albania. Close but no cigar. But you have me drooling for an exotic trip. Too bad it won’t be anytime soon.
      I’ll bet we see W going back for more. I’m sure he can use the ego boost. Not that he doesn’t seem to already have a big ego but he has been beat up a lot especially lately.
      Good work, Fuzzy. You have the skills of a honed travel agent. :0)

    11. my eldest is engaged to an albanian, so grandson is half albanian. you will always get the anti everything brigade. personally i love americans. come visit me.

    12. I have been fortunate in my life to have traveled to many places around the world. Both in business and personal. The idea that the world hates us is BS. Everywhere I have gone people have been great. (Except maybe in Quebec” They are friendly and go out of their way to be helpful. I have observed that if you behave in an aluf fashion or snobby like some of our leftest government and media types you’re not going to be liked anywhere. Not even here. Isn’t it odd that it’s the same people here that behave that way are the same ones saying people hate us.

    13. Hi Fuzzy, Italy and Albania are very near each other, I live in a very European area of NY, mostly Italians (like myself) but there are many Albanian’s and they are good hardworking people and I was surprise that many of them speak Italian (I guess because they are neighboring countries.)
      I was so proud that the president received a warm welcome in Albania, it is sad that so many countries hate us! I crossed France off my list of “Place/Things to do before I die” for this reason! I can only imagine that Albania is beautiful, and I have heard many lovely details of Montenegro.
      I agree with Heyman—The french Canadians do NOT like Americans! I have been treated rudely by them on many occasions, unfortunetly most of my family live in Montreal and I visit quite often, so I deal with it and instead of being rude back, I am as sweet as sugar, seems to piss ’em off even more…lol (Oh and in Rome, Italy too, but I think those people are just nasty to everyone…lol)

    14. You go girl! Go explore Albania!

      I am so happy Dubya got such a warm welcome there. He must have been over the moon. He is a human being, after all. I bet he cried a river when the cameras weren’t around, from being touched and all. I know I would have, if I was in his shoes.
      I am just wondering what must have been going in his head…on such rare occasion. Ah, Dubya!

      While in Italy, don’t forget to check out Milano. An absolute paradise for shoes! After that you won’t be interested in Albania. At all. They do have Sheratons in Italy too:)), so may as well just stay there. At least the food will be more to your liking, I think.

    15. Fuzzy, never-ever think of travelling Eastern Europe on your own.
      Yes it’s a beautiful scenery, but there are a LOT of poor and desperate people. They are the ones who never appear in the videos. You gotta be REAL careful. Unless you know some locals, of course.

    16. Okay…I’ll admit, I totally had to click on the map link to see where Albania was. Sheesh…geography. On a side note, I did a silly game thingy online one day…in which you had 3minutes to locate each European country. I failed miserably. Sigh.

      It does sound like a lovely place. There are soooo many “non-mainstream” placed out there in this biggo world that I would love to visit someday. Heck…there are even a bunch of mainstream places that I would love to visit.

      Great blog about it though! And you even included a list of Albanians….how cool!

      Lol @ shopping twice…my kind of woman!

    17. I guess even Albania is starting to recover from the effects of communism….they have a Sheraton!! It’s still the poorest country in Europe and it’s economic progress has been a lot slower than, say, Romania or Poland. Call me an old cynic, but it would be in Albania’s interest to stroke old George’s ego (and wallet) a bit.

    18. LOL! On the European Vacation reference! 🙂 Sounds interesting and hey if they even like our president…there might be hope for the average American tourist! One wonders though (me being the cynic I can be some times) was it real or staged by the government of Albania? 🙂

    19. I heard Mr. Bush had lost his watch after Albanian warm greetings :-)) if u watch the vid carefully u’ll see it on his hand at the beginning and oooppsss… it’s gone at the end :-))

    20. Hei Fuzz.

      I am with Mitch on this 100 per cent.
      They will be yet in the EU and then they will get all the aid to boom.

      Fanta’s advice is valid as well. Life is no picnic. So one must use the noggin while travelling hither and tither; yet, still enjoying it obviously.

      The Albanians are looking for BIG, B-I-G BUCKS now that they were so ‘nice’ to Bush…
      Take care and do keep so well, Gal.
      Rii xx HUGZ

      It is only a boatride off Italy and they did escape there by the thousands not so long ago!!

    21. They like us! They like us! We should all support Albanian tourism ….not too many other Europeans want us right now anyway…. But when a country treats George Bush like a rock star you have to wonder at their sanity…. (:

    22. The French are still pissed off we helped them with two wars…the little peacocks…dislike them all you want. My dad traveled widely for his job..three weeks out of the month and he said the French treated them ATROCIOUSLY!! Rude, miserable little snots.

      And it looks like their teenagers don’t have any better manners than the adults do lately, either.

    23. Hmmmmmm…interesting.
      I like Albanians, but I am not sure that I would travel the country alone.
      Maybe we should get a group tour together and head across the Big Pond. Of course Italy is a must stop-over on the way.**Smiles** I have my camera ready.

    24. lolol Tally @ yay! shopping, warm welcomes, and Faith. I’ll drink coffee to that! Huggs fab TFT

      hehe, Elmo, yeah, the French do seem to beg to be hated, don’t they? 😉

      roflmao, Monty, hate the French, love the ginger haired (what about a French chick with ginger hair? If she’s hot? hehe).

      Hey Bert, yes, I was very pleased and happy that he got such a warm and wonderful greeting; his job is not an easy one, that’s for sure. I don’t think he’s horrible, either!

      Tal, ginger is red, right? Like me. And you? 😀 I’m on board with hating the French, truly, they’re not very pleasant in my experience.

      Yeah, Fabi, I’d heard that he got a similar greeting in Bulgaria, and I think that’s great! Like you, I think the idea of a trip to that region sounds very appealing. 😀

      You’re so welcome, Mercy! Thank you for reading about it. 😀

      hehe, Nancy, when I first wrote this blog in my head, it was very very travel agent, but then I decided not to bore everyone with pics and gushings about a place I’ve never been and went with the links. I, though, would love to go to Albania now; I think it’d be a wonderful trip with wonderful sights. And I’m sure, given their economy, that it’d be cheap, too. 😀

      On my way, Pilgrim!! 😉

      Hmmmm, yes, I guess that a lot of people share your perception of individuals in a variety of countries, but . . . well, I wrote about this a lot in my linked blog post about Ugly Americans if you want to see what I think/feel/believe. I’m SO glad, though, that you’ve always had great experiences, I think that’s marvelous. 😀

      I was proud, too, Maggie! That’s just the word for it, and I couldn’t think of it (maybe because we’re so often bashed and boo’d and burned in effigy). Proud. Yep, that’s just it. I love Albania and AM going there before I die! 😀 France isn’t worth seeing, truly, so don’t bother. Talk about cultural nastiness! :))

      Exactly, Fanta! He is a human being, and as such, I’m sure that was wonderful for him. Such a shame he has to go all the way over there to receive a warm welcome, though. Sigh. And NO WORRIES, I most certainly am not going to Albania (or anywhere else) on my own. I won’t even go to New York City on my own, so no worries there! (and I’m not joking) I dunno is garlic is a good enough reason to like the French again, Fanta . . . lol

      hehe, thanks, Ang! I know what you mean about mainstream and not mainstream places; I’m sticking to places that I feel safe (and welcome) in nowadays, though.

      Okay, Old Cynic (lol). Mitch, I do think it’s a bit much to imagine that was staged, though it did make me think of that movie Wag the Dog where they staged a whole war! And frankly, if they stroke our ego like that, I’m happy to let them stroke my wallet! Better to give my hard earned money to people who like and appreciate it and my American-ness, I say!

      LOL, Jenia, they showed that here, too! Actually, the Secret Service told him to take it off, so you can see this one part where he slips it off his wrist and sticks it in his pocket. No worries, no one snagged his Timex!! 😉

      Hey Rii, well, as I implied to Mitch, I hope the Albanians GET those big bucks they expect!! Truly, I do. 😀

      hehe, Rivergirl, at they like us! It’s such a shocker, huh?

      Aw, Shell, how great is that? Thanks 😀

      Seems like another vote in favor of the We Hate the French club from you, Kate. Hehe!! 😀

      I would SO do a tour thing like this, Rainy! Just a group of us, our money, a map, a camera . . . yay!! Oh, and our stuff. And shoes. Don’t forget those!

      Thanks Everyone for your fab comments!! Huggs All ‘Round!! 😀

    25. Oh, LO!! I missed your comment somehow; I’m so sorry, and you’re the one who said something about the European Vacation reference. I had it originally as just “look kids,” but then I thought if people didn’t know the movie, they’d think I was disparaging Big Ben and Parliament. 😀 I don’t see how that could have been staged, but then again, I guess they can do all sorts of things with cameras and actors/actresses. Look at the movies.

    26. Never heard of this Pitkin fellow, Neil, but it sounds like he likes Albania, too! yay!! Italy, while not as vocal about their hatred of us, just doesn’t love us as Albania does; besides, Albania is undiscovered country for us over here. And probably cheaper, too, so we can get more stuff for our money. Yay!! 😀

    27. Okay, I just can’t handle the scrolling back and forth here and on my comments page thingy. I suck. I’m a pedant and a perfectionist. What can I say? Anyway, here’s what Neil said (with the substitution of a tiny url):

      Neil … Aw, Fuzzy, you mised the key ref – President Bush wasn’t the first hero in Albania; Norman Wisdom got there first. See: http://tinyurl.com/2rhzc6 If it’s so near Italy, why not go to Italy? Personally, I think this whole anti-America thing is a French plot; they spread stories about how awful the US is and now watch, I bet there’ll be some Sarcozying up to Bush now.

      Friday June 15, 2007 – 10:37pm (BST) Remove Comment

      Forgive me . . . please, but that long old url really screwed up my page’s formatting. I am petty and stupid, but I had to fix it.

    28. Hi Fuzzy, I saw this video, where one of the crowd, an Albanian stole the watch of Bush, but the Bush’s people denied the story. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKDdF6vfjoo

      We need more countries to love America, but I am sure it will change with the next president. Everyone hates Bush, but I don’t think they hate America as a whole. Once they know Fuzzy, they will change their mind :). Cheers.

    29. So sorry about the URL, Fuzzy? Norman Wisdom was a minor actor/comedian (I hope that description doesn’t offend any Albanians) whose films were considered so harmless, his were the only foreign films shown in the country during the isolation period. When the country opened up, NW found himself an unlikely hero and was given a medal or something by the President.

    30. Aw, thanks Chris, that’s great of you to say. I’m not really convinced the world will love us with a new president; let’s not forget that though our unpopularity is pretty solid these days, we’ve been loathed for decades (half a century at least) in a lot of the world. It goes back far longer than Bush (either one) in the White House, I’m afraid and will take more than him leaving to rectify. I could go on a tour, though, if the taxpayers want to foot the bill and make the world love us again. You could come along, too, to keep me sane and grounded! Huggs

      Oh, that’s a relief, Neil. I was worried you’d be offended that I didn’t leave it here. Yay!! Naw, I think it’s fair to say that this Wisdom fellow was minor, major would be someone I’d heard of, maybe? I want a medal or something from the President of Albania, wouldn’t that be grand? Maybe he’ll read my blog and send me one. You think?

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