Monday, September 19, 2005


This is Xlendi Bay, Gozo where we have spent the last week, after a couple of nights in Valetta. Our apartment, which had a view of the bay, is just out of picture in the top right hand corner. It is a deep-water harbour, safe for swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving, apart from when it fills up with deadly jelly fish just after a storm as it did last Friday and Saturday. Liz and I sat reading in the sun whilst a succession of Germans, rather than wondering why no-one was swimming, jumped in, got stung, swore and got out again. I think scheister is a bit rude but I can't spell it.

The rocks around the bay fall hundreds of sheer feet, at the waters edge resembling heaps of grey sugar-icing, chunks removed by the bite of a giant sea-monster.

Xlendi (pronounced shlendy or jlendy) has lovely harbour front restaurants and bars doing great fresh fish, local gozo cheese pasta, huge pizzas and Cisk (pronounced shisk) which is a beer best served frozen.

We walked round Valetta's Grand Harbour and got the ferry back across. It is one of the great sights in our limited experience of the world.

September in Malta/Gozo is still hot but not deadly burn-your-feet-on-the-patio hot and I only scored seven mossie bites, six of which were on the same evening when I forgot to put any repellent on. See. I'm not repellent. As usual Liz got no bites, her best ploy to avoid them being to take me on holiday with her, which should keep our marriage going as long as she remains a sun-worshipper.

Things I learned on holiday:

  1. To make a coffee filter use a funnel (always available in holiday flats), filter papers and the top of a plastic water bottle cut to fit over a mug.
  2. I look like a Maltese TV presenter called Ray. Have decided to assume he is suave and good looking rather than make any effort to find out.
  3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding in Italian is Il Mio Grosso Grasso Matrimonio Greco.
  4. Two hours of prime-time Maltese TV was devoted to a demonstration of knots, global positioning and distress signals. The names of the knots were all in English.
  5. It is no good trying to speak Maltese to Gozitans. It is like trying to speak BBC English ordering a pie at the Gallowgate End.
  6. 'The culprit, who belonged to a group of youths being chaperoned by Joey, supposedly had been diagnosed with chronic attention deficit disorder. Oddly, the young man's capacity for concentration was not so diminished that he'd failed to focus on a genuine Prada handbag amid the heaving throngs of tourists. Nor had his focus wavered even slightly as he stalked his elderly victim from the Giant Anteater exhibit all the way to Dinoland, where he'd made the snatch ... While holding him for Disney security officers, she'd shaken from his pockets a Gucci key chain and a Tiffany cigarette lighter, casting further doubt on the nature of his disabiity.' (Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen. Baby - read it and weep.)
  7. Straw Dogs by John Gray. Compulsory reading for all who count themselves members of the human race. Re-assess any faith you have in the light of this book. 'Which untruths might we be rid of?'

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