Hi all,


Here is my first email to most of you.  I wrote it on the 6th, but haven't

been able to send it until now.  There will be another one following

shortly.  I welcome comments and greetings from all of you, but may not have

time to answer all.  Hope you are all doing well!


June 6, 1999


Albanian Chronicles 1:  The Adjustment


Well, here I am, in Albania for 5 days now and it feels like a month!

Each day is packed with new experiences, which take so much

energy to process and absorb.  It has been non‑stop since arrival,

which is why it has taken me so long to get a decent letter out to

you all.


I still don't have internet access from my apartment, but I wanted

to get something written before it all starts to blend together.


Well, to start from the beginning... it was a shorter flight than I

thought it might be.   The stopovers in Amsterdam and Budapest

were uneventful, since I only had a few hours in each.  The best

part of the transatlantic portion was a beautiful sunset/rise that

never quit... it literally lasted the whole flight... the midnight sun



The NATO helicopters parked along the runway and soldiers with

automatic weapons were a sobering sight as I stepped off the

plane onto the tarmack, and I felt oddly protected.


The worst part of the flight was the arrival in Tirana, where I had to

wait for one and a half hours to get my passport stamped in a

crowded, hot, smoke‑filled room, with lots of angry foreigners.  If

you knew someone, you could move to the front of the line.  If

not, you had to wait impatiently.


Dale, my boss for the second time, had to wait outside the airport

for me to come out into the bright hot sun.  And then when he

asked me where my suitcases were, I realized that I was so happy

to get out of there that I totally forgot to pick them up!  Finally,

after arguing with the guard at the entrance, who didn't want to

let me back in, I went back and fetched them.


That's all for now... look for Chronicle 2 coming to an email address near

you soon!


From Albania with love,