Friday, 10 September 2010

Journey in Balkan Countries- Berat

How often people who walk past you look at you as if you are some very important people in this world or celebrities? May be if you have attire malfunction or people make fun of you by sticking paper saying you are a turtle or wadsoever, they would probably staring at you. Well i had that experience when i was in Berat, Albania.

We were like near extinct spesies walking on the streets of Berat. After spending some time in Berat, we figured out why they stared at us. We were the only 2 asians in Berat. may be for some of them we were the first young asian in Berat. Well tourist who comes to Berat are most probably those hardcore travellers with backpacks. Most of them are Europeans or Americans. Asian travellers are rare. if there are, there is a big posibility that they are Japanese or Korean who are in their middle age and can afford trips like this.

Here in Berat, they have an event every night where the local people would gather on a particular street at a particular period of time. the event is called Giro or Jiro (i am not sure). it somehow reminded me of pasar malam in Malaysia but without stalls. when the time came, the street was crowded with people in proper nice attire. i guess this is an event for the people to get to know each other and for the guys to tackle gals. Well when you are in a country where the people don't speak any language that you know, you just have to keep guessing about the things going on around us. But we confirmed with local people here nad they were very friendly and kind to explain everything to us eventhough their English was not good.

Language is indeed a barrier here in Berat, but that doesn't mean you should not try understand the people here. They are surprisingly kind and friendly. At the beginning,i had difficulties understand their facial expressions and hand gestures. Tim, on the other hand, was really good at understanding them. But i managed to keep up after a while.

Have you ever tried sitting somewhere on the street waiting for other people to come to you to talk to you? Well if you are living in Germany, most probably that won't be happening and you might just end up sitting there all day long alone. Tim and I decided to try our luck for the way people have been looking at us so far. We sat on a busy street in Berat to see how the locals would react. Some said hi, some looked at while walking past us, some looked at us again even though they have walked past us. Some asked me to take pictures for them. Not very often they could see tourist with big camera. So i took a couple of pictures of them. At first they were very shy in front of camera, their shyness was shown by them covering thier faces but after some persuasions they posed and smiled to my camera. It was a whole new experience for me to take pictures of people instead of buildings during the trip.

if you travel in small group(max 2 person), you would have different experience which on no account you would have if you travel in big group. People aren't so affraid of you if you are in small group. Therefore they would approach you and talk to you. Trip like this is the trip that gives you the chance to blend yourself into the local culture and learn more about the people. That made a big difference to my trip. Travelling is not just about being at a place and taking some photos to prove that sometime in the past i was there.

Another thing i like about Albania is the food here. Well the food here was not really special, but the food here was really cheap. With 5 euro you can fill your stomach to the fullest with 3 course meal with lamb or steak as main course and beer.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


Today is 6th September. Summer holiday ends in 3 weeks. I have been working at Asia Wok as waiter for one month. I hope this week will be my last week working there. Working life of a waiter in Asia Wok is never fun. Mundane is the word to describe my job. if i were to count the frequency of saying "Guten Apetite" and "Schonen Tag noch", i think it would be at least 30 times. At the beginning, i have always said them with passion and a very sincere smile. At time goes, the passion is slowly vanishing. What is left is no more a sincere but a forced smile to the customer.

Sometimes I would wonder how the people who have to work like this for their whole life could bear with the mundane working routine such as this. Perhaps my shoulders are still free from any burden that involves people whom I care about. Every evening after working, they go back home and awaiting them at home are children and wife or old aged parents who gives them reason to continue working despite of the mundane routine and spare them from misery. For a single man who has nothing but himself here in Germany, what keep me moving forward? I would say the word which starts with M, not Michelle, not Megan, not May, not Mary. It makes my life more interesting and I could afford the stuffs on my wish list.

When you make money as your purpose in life, you are in the same group of people who worship money. I would say it is pathetic actually. And that makes me a pathetic person. I know it is wrong to worship money or in my case to make money as one of my purposes of life. I dare anybody to say whatever they do now has nothing to do with money. If you are a student, you need money to pay semester fee. If you are a father, you need money to feed your children. If you are a politician, the reason of being one is to get money, either legally or illegally. If you are church leader, you need financial support to grow your church. This is how the present world runs. It revolves around the M word.