I was walking back to my hostel in Shkodër, Albania when a couple of men at a cafe made a gesture of hello and stopped me, then insisted I go inside to buy a drink and join them.
During times like these, instead of asking myself, “Why?”, I find that it’s often better to ask, “Why the hell not?”
So I bought an ayran (a salted liquid yoghurt drink) and sat with them. They spoke absolutely no English and my Albanian is limited to a mispronounced “thank you.” But I was able to introduce myself and tell them my background and nationality. Beyond that, they talked a lot and I couldn’t decipher any of it. It was a lot of fun but no less sufficiently awkward.
Isn’t it great, though, to have these interactions with people with whom you can barely communicate but who are so welcoming and curious to know a bit about you and why you’re in their country? That’s such a great part about travelling that too often gets lost in the scuffle when you’re principally concerned about just getting somewhere…