In travel news, the Monthly Cycle's roving reporter Ulver announces that on her latest sojourn to the former Eastern Bloc, she has found the new Southend on Sea.
The Port of Sarande, the Ionian gateway to Albania has it all, sun, sea, sand, pollution, fried food, organised crime, child prosititution, dead rats and a massively devalued currrency that will soon be replaced by the Reichsmark, or Euro as it has become known.
Ulver writes, "I arrived in Sarande aboard a small wooden sewage trawler, and was glad to swap the foetid stench slow-broiled human sh*t for a wholly different stench, that of rotting rodents in the crystal clear port waters, and diseased gypsy beggars dribbling pus across the dockside. It was immediately redolent of that heady day in 1969 when my Tallinn Prostitutes' collective was allowed to visit the socialist paradise of Southend on Sea in Essex. The smells were the same, the diseased half wit populace was almost identical, and the hordes of corpse flies buzzing around the fast food carts were just the same. I made my way to the nearest Bureau de Change and exchanged my hard-earned Euros for the local currency the Lek, the local vendor advised me that it has been massively devalued recently by flagrant abuse, European scheming and government agency incompetence, so in a way it was just like the quaint pounds we used in Southend. I was approached by diseased child whores, and immediately thought of our day trip to the self-proclaimed 'sunshine centre' of Essex, Canvey Island. In fact the entire ambience, of rotting garbage on street corners, over-flowing drains, fly-blown excrement, rampant rodent infestations, crumbling masonry and explosive diahorrhea caused by enteric worms living in kebab meat of dubious origin was simply a home away from home for this Estonian girl who's heart will always be battered in cod fat in a far-flung corner of the Essex coast."
So if Staycations aren't for you, yet you still want that fantastic feel of a jaded, faded England of yester-year with that touch of a people down-trodden and crushed by the wheels of Europe, then Albania is the place for you.
Next week Ulver reports on why Zimbabwe is the ideal place for your romantic weekend break.