Upon arrival in Albania, it became quite apparent that women do not have a similar lifestyle to American women, or even the men in their communities. Women do not go out after dark. Can you believe this? Men go out and have a good time with each other at coffee shops and bars while the women sit at home. Even women who are married to not go out after the sun goes down.
During my short stay in Elbasan I ventured out of the hotel one evening to check out the "scene". I left the hotel at around 6 pm, as the sun was beginning to set. At first, I felt completely comforatble out on the street as the sun went down. As I traveled further and further from my hotel I began to notice that there were ONLY men out on the streets and in coffee bars. Once I connected the dots, I immediately felt out of place, embaressed, and even a little uneasy. I could not believe what I was seeing. There were men everywhere! I mean hoards of them. Upon noticing this I quickly returned to my hotel and discussed what I had experience with the other girls in my Peace Corps group.
Later that night, after dinner, a few of the men in our group went to a bar. Luckily for them, their server spoke English. They asked him all sorts of questions about Albanian Culture. One of them asked if the next night they could bring women with them or if it would be completely inappropriate. The server answered them by saying, "Do not bring women into bars." He continued with, " Women do not go out after dark."
Once I had heard this story and experienced the streets crowded with men, I, sadly, came to the conclusion that while I am in Albania I will not be going out after dark. I am going to have to learn how to knit or some other domestic skill.