Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Sleep is for the weak
I'm likely to complain and make fun of a lot of things when talking about Malta. That's just the way I work. I'm at my most creative when making fun of things (especially things I like). I'd like to say up front that Maltese people are great. They're friendly and have a good attitude to life.
Malta is a country where almost nobody can drive half as well as they think they do, where holidays and festivals are very important, even if many people don't actually know which one it is, and where the crime rate is the lowest in Europe but the law is held in low regard.
The company flat I am staying in at the moment is on the 4th floor of a seafront block of apartments. The road beneath us is a fairly major one - both for traffic and for passagiata (which is best translated as "wandering around to see and be seen"). It provides us with numerous people watching opportunities.
Now, I don't drive, but I'm fairly sure that overtaking on a busy two lane street, then jumping on the brakes to make a left turn (they drive on the left here, so left is easy) is not particularly talented. Nor is not jumping on the brakes before trying to take a tight corner. Actually, maybe the Maltese are good drivers - I haven't actually SEEN an accident yet (just heard a lot of screeching and sirens). They can't park to save their lives though. The British introduced the concept of parallel parking, but like many British things here, it's just slapped on top of an older layer. The execution is determinedly Mediteranean in most cases. Drive up to somewhere near the space, then reverse in a bit (usually in a straight line), then swing the steering wheel round and drive forward.
Malta has lots of important festivals and holidays, even if the guy in the DVD shop can't remember why exactly he has a day off tomorrow, he knows he's got one. I'm just going to leave everything else I brought up for another day, since I totally lost track of where I was going with this.