After an omelette at the hotel’s restaurant we were set for a day at the beach. Petrit and I swam to a nearby island. When we washed up to shore, we checked out the Island and saw two men sitting with a load of scuba gear. Petrit enquired and learnt that they were hiring out the scuba equipment to people for £15. It baffled me that there we two men on a secluded island with a bunch of expensive scuba gear, offering a service, yet nobody had any idea they were there. There was no sign, no boat which took them there, no indication of any desire to promote their business. Another nuts moment in this crazy country. We swam back to our beach and hired a pedalo to visit the surrounding islands. At one of them we swam into a cave, and at another we moored up and chilled on its beach.

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Back at the hotel I had realised that the hot weather had penetrated the pasty English guy (me). I was feeling a bit rough. Nevertheless, I slapped on the after sun and braved the still powerful sunset. We headed 20 minutes up the road to Sarande.

On the short trip we were stopped, once again, by the police and so prepared ourselves for another dose of corruption. Apparently we were stopped for speeding even though we were definitely not speeding. Petrit repeated his role of having to get out of the car and head over to the police car, where again there were two officers. He finally returned and told us he’d been fined for being on his phone – of course, he was not on his phone. He didn’t even have his phone in the city, it was in Tirane, but Petrit was OK with this. The proposition was to fine him for speeding which meant he also got given points, or fine him for using his mobile, which didn’t carry points. He took the latter, naturally. They asked for a bribe, not so naturally, but Petrit refused. It really is simply a case of stopping who they want for a payout, inventing the charges along the way. Terrible people. To add to the comedy of it, the Officer couldn’t spell Burrel. But then upon discovering that you can buy your Officer licence, rather than have to train for it or pass tests, it’s no wonder they are who they are.

We got to Sarande and you could instantly tell that this was a resort most accustomed to tourism. The stroll along the beach was buzzing, there was a market selling souvenirs much like those in those London shops which sell crap to tourists. There were also a couple of nightclubs here – the first nightclubs I had seen in Albania. Incredibly, I only saw one beggar the entire time, which surprised me. I thought that in a busy tourist spot I would have seen more. After an ice cream and coffee we headed back to our hotel where we had dinner and loads of free wine.

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