The Maltese system

I was busy considering a venture into the Hannibal Restaurant and Bar, having, only moments earlier, decided against the Princess Diana Café, mainly because of the haunting and crude facial stetch of the fallen dame, covering the entrence. Was this tiny island taking humour to new heights? Probably not, I felt, as an ex-British colony, the Diana tribute was surely heartfelt and in good manner. I arrived at this conclusion with the realisation that things fly a little differently in these winds, and that should be respected.

 

Malta is a caricture of Ireland 30 years before, with all the traits that made the Irish culture a global envy. It’s not that people are ghostly white, or even the promise of a dancer or two with elastic legs – but the leniancy in law allows for many startling observations.

 

The bus driver, for example, with cigarette in one hand, phone in the other and knees guiding the wheel is not out of place on the twisting and demonic roads. He will break from this posture, but often only to overcharge with a smiling face, or perhaps to scream at the slow advance of elderly tourists. It is entirely reasonable to suggest that the bottle stashed under his seat is not actually lemonade, as the label suggests, but a bitter mixture of vodka and gin. The breaks are well tested too, often as you attempt to rise from a seat, with an ending vaguely mirroring the gravity defying float of a space trip – bodies dispersed much to the harrowing cackle of the bus conductor.

 

Experiences like these could rise resentment, but they are rather viewed as the ‘way things are’, and why not indeed? Across from my balcony two immigants paint a beach scene onto a 60ft wall. They have nimble balance, which is required, to keep them on the single supporting wooden plank, with a mislaid step meaning death. 

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