Entering Albania Through the Back Door

Albania Blue Doors

Retired MIGs greeted us beside the runway as we touched down at Mother Theresa Airport in Tirana, Albania. These footprints–left behind as Soviet Russia turned around and departed–felt comforting and familiar. International development is like religion, a tide coming in not so much to erase the footprints as to fill in the depressions decades past any real struggle.

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An old man with a gold watch clasped around his whitely hirsute wrist told another aging man he just met that he hoped they may meet again in Vienna, but until then, “let us enter Albania through the back door.” I followed them out the rear exit of the plane.