One Week in Malta

Un libro scritto per chi ha un inglese di livello intermedio.

 

Qui di seguito il video del primo capitolo del libro con audio. E’ letto da me. Non sono lettore professionista, ma, a questo prezzo vi conviene accontentarvi – scusate ma non riesco a prendermi troppo  sul serio.

Clicca sulla copertina per acquistare il libro su Amazon.

Di seguito propongo il primo capitolo del libro. Buona lettura.

17th October, 2018

Yesterday was my first day in Malta.

I am in my room now. I decided to write a diary about the days I will spend on this island. This is why I bought a nice notebook in the Chinese shop right in front of the hotel where I stayed with my family during my previous trip on the island.

The notebook says on the cover:

Sometimes words are hard to find

I’m looking for that perfect line

To let you know you’re always on my mind

I decided to write this diary, to share my vacation with my wife who is at home, in Sicily, working and taking care of the house and of our turbulent son.

She read the original, hand-written version of this diary, which is partly preserved here. What you have in your hands is the printed edition, which is a bit longer and also conceived for the potential readers.

Let’s start from the start.

The flight was great. I love flying Air Malta.

On board I met an Italian couple going to Malta, scouting to see if they liked the island and its potentials to start a company there. They were from northern Italy.

It is so strange how the huge crisis we are going through in Italy has been able to have us put aside all our differences. Today, maybe for the first time in our history, Italy is permeated by the same feelings of discontentment and fear for the future – or, should I say, we don’t see any future at all.

These guys had already paid the price of an economy ruled by blind t(v)axation, which has put on their knees so many honest business persons. They were trying to find hope in another land. They were as sad as I was. I love Italy. Italians do love Italy – we must leave only because we have no alternative. So, our comments were bitter and sad and ended up in silence as we landed.

The landing was awesome: Air Malta pilots have been very good so far!

I wished the best of luck to my flight friends and I got out of the plane, enjoying the very moment I put my foot on Maltese ground.

I took a deep breath, looked up at the sky.

Yes, it was Malta again!

First thing I did on my way out of the airport was try to help a woman who stopped me saying she was looking for someone who spoke Italian. She needed help to find her way out of the airport. She was colored and obviously not Italian, but mine was the only language she spoke, besides hers, I guess. She was on my plane, since she told me she came from Catania too.

She made her way out following the suggestions of another guy who stepped into the conversation showing a clear interest in her. So, I simply faded off the scene, eager to begin my time on the island undisturbed.

First thing I did was buy this pretty convenient card which lets you catch all the buses you need for one week.

In my hometown I am compelled to drive. There is no time for buses, plus the service is pretty cheap – never on time, if they show up at all.

In Malta some tourists complain about the bus service too. But the Malta Public Transport compared to the Catania AMT, it is like heaven. It lets you get anywhere you need to go. Reasonable fee. Clean, air-conditioned buses and a punctual, reliable service.

One time I witnessed such a wonderful thing. Two old people got on the bus. Then the bus driver stood up and made sure the two would comfortably sit in their reserved seats. Then and only then, he sat back down and the ride continued.

I got on the island too early and the appointment with my accountant was at around 10 am. So, I decided to take a bus to ‘The Point’ and have breakfast there.

I enjoyed the air, the nice weather, the trip on the bus and the sea view as soon as it showed up on the way to Sliema.

I took a little walk from the bus stop to the Moll, enjoying the view of Valletta from Sliema. In Catania I am used to look at the sea, which ends with the horizon. I love it here. You look at the sea and on the other side you find Valletta.

I had breakfast in a small place you find as soon as you enter ‘The Point.’ They were Italians. But I had just gotten in Malta and I sure did not feel like speaking Italian. I know it’s not common for Italians, but if I speak English I don’t have an accent, so people tend to identify me as an American. I take advantage of this in Malta, so people don’t realize I am Italian until I tell them. That is what I did, as I ordered a slice of pizza and an espresso.

It was too early. Most shops were closed. Plus I had to go to my appointment, so I headed out towards Sliema to catch a bus.

But before that, on the small bridge that takes you from ‘The Point’ down to walk along the sea, I saw so many lock pads, one next to the other, but only on a delimited area of the bridge. At both ends of which were two signs: “Love may be eternal but padlocks are not. Any padlocks attached to this section of railing will be removed. Thank you.”

Soon I realized I had gotten lost.

The previous times I was on the island, I depended on Federica or my wife to know where we were or to catch the right bus. Now I was alone. I wasn’t able to catch the right bus to get to my accountant’s office. After roaming for about two hours, at last, I accepted his availability to come and pick me up. It was then, after five minutes in his car, that I realized how close I was to his place.

He has a nice house. It is his office, I learned later. He works with his sons and, if I am not mistaken, with his daughter too. Well, if I understand the deep respect for older people I see everywhere here, I’d better say that his children work for him.

We had a nice, long conversation. I like his patriotism. It is something us Italians have lost quite some time ago. Of course, we love our land. The sea, the mountains, churches, monuments, buildings: everything is beautiful about Italy. But we feel strangled and oppressed by our government. We feel even worse about Europe, the EU: we don’t like the Euro currency, which was imposed on us and for the adoption of which we never voted.

If I can be honest, I don’t like the Germans and the French. Hitler failed to unify and dominate Europe with weapons and Italians have the feeling that now the Germans succeeded in that through economy and diplomacy. It is honestly a mystery how we can be so stupid. After all that has happened to us in the past, we decided to ally again with the Germans. History – and blind stupidity – repeats itself.

My accountant is a very nice person. I do enjoy his company and I see we are aligned on quite a few topics. Plus, as he said, we are colleagues, since I had to confess to him I had worked as an accountant for over twenty-three years before the Lord set me free. He told me about Malta, its history and its Jewish background. I did not know about it.. Now I understand why this land is so blessed. During this nice conversation I was taught a lesson: ‘give a Jew a glass of water. In time he will give you back a pool.’ A sentence which is open to be interpreted and discussed at length. But it reminded me of the words of Jesus (Mt. 25) and of the biblical principle of sowing and reaping.

I got to my hotel and could check in late in the afternoon. I was pretty tired for the early morning flight, so I simply relaxed and enjoyed bed and the comfort of my silent room.