From the coast of Corfu, where we were staying, from the beach, seated at the local taberna, eating freshly caught sardines (my choice) , oven baked vegetables (dad's choice) and about four or five other dishes which we shared amongst the family, the bleak, desolate Albanian coast could be seen.
Our waiter ?Costa would throw the kids off the side of the boat jetty into the calm sea.
Concrete pill boxes could be seen and Costa, he looked about 20 and was studying in Athens, but came from Albania, explained that that is where the lights would shine out from , trying to catch swimmers who were trying to escape from the communist regime of Enva Hoja.
I remember as a child of twelve or thirteen reading an article in the daily newsapaper we got delivered at home, the Telegraph, saying two people had tried to swim to their freesdom. One had made it to Corfu and one had not been found. They had trained in the evenings. They lived in communal type arrangment working on a collective farm, and barely had enpugh to eat, thts is my recollection in any case.
It was amazing to sit there some 25 years later and imagine the area which looked so different to the gorgeous Corfu , but surey the two places are almost identical, climate is good in Corfu, and must be almost the same in Albania. Why is it not a tourist mecca like Corfu? No doubt because of the regime it was under for many years which kept it back in the Dark Ages.
Why is Albania so backward?
Why does it have this criminal element which apparnetly flourishes so well?
I heard that there are car stealing rings in Europe and that they nearly all lead to Albania, and that all the BMW's stolen across Eurpoe end up in Albania.
I saw a film, which was a fictitious drama but was done in a documentary style, and had a realistic edge to it, which followed these girls from somewhere in Eastern Europe, and ended up in Serbia, I think, and they were put in prostitution, and were to scared to leave the Albanian who ran them.
Then I saw another factual documentary about Albanian criminals who buy and sell these girls in public, saying how much money they can make over their working lifetime as a prostitute.
So what is it about Albania?
In the future is Alabania not the jewel in the Meditaerranian which has yet to be shined and gentrified, developed, dragged up into a civilised beautiful country. Surely it must be the same as Dalmatia, Corfu etc.