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Childe Behar’s Intended Pilgrimage

‘Morn dawns; and with it stern Albania’s hills…’ Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage   Our porter Behar’s village crams a pass, lidded by this great mitre of new hotel for rich Albanians. Doubled in its glass, an EU flag lops, widens. Time will tell. The birds have started, as everywhere; personnel arrive to make us breakfast, as everywhere; the kitchen vent breathes pork and pastry smells. Your swimsuit is stretched like a cat on the balcony chair as you wake and groan conscious, still here, still not quite anywhere. So, morn dawned. With it, stern Albania’s hills grew ridges down to dark, convulsive streams. At check-out, Behar, half a child still, offers a cigarette, and shares his dreams: ‘Here we have US lottery. It means if you win, you get Green Card like Americans. My brother did, now I’ll go!’ ‘Where?’ He beams. ‘Detroit. That place has many Albanians...’. I bet. We pass him our keys. He nods and shakes our hands.


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