THE TRAVELOGUE @ THE TRAVEL ROOM
"All out" in Albania...
Posted on Wednesday 25th April 2012
As a seasoned female traveller I really should have known better in Albania, and its not like I didn't have any inkling; the signs were there! And I like to think that I am organised; I currently carry more than 12 months stock of the pill, every drug (legal of course!) that I may ever need, a moisturiser for every part of my body (hand, face and body moisturisers!), sunscreen, insect repellent...you name it I probably have it! (This is probably why my backpack is 5 kgs heavier than Ted's!!). My sister, Flick also once told me, and until now it has held true, wherever you are going, they have shops, you can buy anything else you need!!
I perhaps should have realised when I ran out of body moisturiser and plied shop after Albanian shop looking for moisturisers and found only aisle after aisle of hair care products (when did the Albanians become so obsessed with their hair!). But, though I am particularly partial to a little body moisturiser on account of my very sensitive skin (my story and I'm sticking to it!), this I could live without short term and so quickly dismissed my failure to purchase moisturiser as only a temporary period of dry skin!
Maybe I should have twigged when a Swiss traveller we met on the road relayed a story to us of her female friend living in a small town in the mountains of Albania who was not allowed out by herself, only with her husband, nor could she walk between this traveller and her boyfriend whilst they were visiting lest the villagers think that she was trying to steal the boyfriend...
But I forgot the signs when I lay in bed that night in the little town of Borsch (yes I thought it was just a soup too, but no it is also a little seaside town in Albania about an hour north of Saranda with a beautiful long beach, and stunning sunset, and no people in off season) realising that I had forgotten to take the pill and weighed up my choices; get up in the cold (I did say it was the off season, beautiful sunny days but freeazing cold at night!), scrabble about for where I had put my toiletries bag and thus my pill or stay in the warm bed and deal with the consequences. Though knowing I had only one days worth of tampons, I recalled my sister Flicks wise words, they'll have shops, just buy what you need! I stayed in the warm bed (no surprise there!), and vowed to find tampons in Saranda!
It should not have been a surprise when I entered the first mini market in Saranda only to find that tampons were seemingly only a luxury item, one that they didn't stock! This should not have been a surprise as the Australian Government also decreed tampons a luxury item for tax purposes, to many Australian women's, including my own, disgust! As hard as I searched there were none to be found on the shelves. This is just a small supermarket I told myself, a bigger supermarket will have them.
I entered the big supermarket with hope in my heart, as I walk to the back of the supermarket (why are the feminie hygiene products always at the furtherest corner!) With every step my expectation rises, and then I spot the moisturisers. I am buoyed, if they have moisturiser, surely they'll have tampons?! (Note I have now been banned from using the word surely, and also I assume) I turn the last corner and enter the aisle, tena lady eat your heart out, there was floor to roof of every pad imaginable; but no tampons!
In vain I searched every other supermarket in Saranda but the result was the same. There were pads but no tampons. I can assure you that if men had to walk around with cotton pads between their legs that this would not have been the case; uncomfortable just doesn't cut it!
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So with only one day of stock of tampons in my toiletries bag (mental note to keep more in stock next time!) we confirm our descision to leave Albania and sail to Corfu....my first stop upon arriving was of course the supermarket where I once again regained the freedom to pay exorbitantly for my "luxurious" tampons ( 3 euros for 16!!)...
???a??st? (Thank you) Corfu!
Hair care product anyone?
The beautiful sunset over the empty beach of Borsch in Albania
Sunrise over the same long sandy beach in Borsch, Albania (and if you want to know why we were up at sunrise...well...that's another long story...)
My greek tampons...they did the job!
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