Welcome to my first post from the sunny country of Malta! Where’s that, you ask? Chances are that unless you’re European, have visited relatives in southern Italy, or happen to have worked on a cruise line around the Mediterranean, you probably aren’t 100% clear on where this country is. Well, it’s here. If you ask what I’m doing, the short is that I’m a scuba diving travel journalist. For the long, read two posts down, an entry titled “Exciting News!” which is conveniently…here.
I’m living on an island, and you know what they say about that! “When you’re on an island, you figure out how to solve all your problems because there’s nowhere to run to—you’re stuck.” Actually I have no idea what they say about islands except that a lot of people want to leave. Strangely enough, Malta will solve all of your problems! I picked common fears, phobias, addictions, and problems folks in the world face these days, and I have to say that this island country has truly provided answers—no, not just answers, but real-world solutions—to all the problems I could possibly imagine.
Problem: You’ve got a gambling addiction and can’t bear the thought of being away from gambling, or at least not having casinos nearby.
Solution: There are mini-casinos all over town. Seriously, if you walk down a street you’ll find a mini-mart, a butcher, a hair salon, a mini-casino, and a shoe shop. Called Fairplay or Bestplay, these tiny “stores” have about 5-7 slot machines and are nestled in high-class, frosted-glass storefronts. Open most of the day. Obviously for addicts. Come on! Also, there are three regular casinos, a horse track, and loads of online better companies that run betting all over the world. Then there are bingo and slot floors in small shopping malls, hotels, and more. I know it’s common in Europe, but it is definitely weird to me to plan a trip to buy a shirt, a rack of lamb, and some candlesticks, and then stop into these undercover-looking rooms to use slot machines.
Problem: Global warming? It’s a huge problem, yes it is! And what’s being done about it?
Solutions: Don’t worry; every time I jump in the water to go diving, the world’s water level rises 1.46 inches. Statistical fact.
Problem: You’re sick of all the NYC sheep wearing their white headphones 24/7, completely oblivious and unable to hear you even when you try to be nice and tell them they dropped their pink iPhone cover.
Solution: Almost no one owns iPods, iTouches, iPhones, or even MP3 players in general here, so don’t think they’re not hearing you; they’re simply ignoring you. Oh no, wait, those are just French tourists being rude. Nevermind.
Problem: You don’t understand these solutions. There not helpful, you say!
Solution: Read something else. A grammar book, for starters.
Problem: You’re watching your figure and don’t want to have your flab showing while in your bikini.
Solution: No worries! Everyone here is on a strict diet of pasta and bread, so looking pregnant under the afternoon sun helps you fit in.
Problem: You’re superstitious and are worried about black cats, the number 13, and all that jazz.
Solution: In Malta there’s almost always construction going on, and almost never anyone on the ground directing traffic. Cranes are overhead holding heavy objects above your head, road crews are oblivious to the backhoe clawing a foot away from your car, etc. There’s so much construction, in fact, that whenever you walk the city streets, the likelihood that you’re walking under multiple ladders is about 103%. And I haven’t even told you about the…oh shoot, wha—
Problem: Your vote doesn’t count unless you leave in Ohio or Pennsyltucky. Whatever. You want to live in a free country where they listen to the people.
Solution: There’s a big election coming up in Malta, and the politicians are advertising heavily on the billboards. If you want to know how they vote, read it here: http://bit.ly/VJHc8S. What are their stances? Labour laws, the economy, no divorce, domestic v—wait, no to divorce? Where am I???
Problem: There’s a company here called Enemalta.
Solution: The solution is in the name! Actually it’s an energy company, but in a largely English-speaking country…research those words, people!
Well anyhow, I better get back to work. Around here you’ll see some photos of hikes, famous cliffs, the sea, a trained falcon, old Maltese cliff homes, and more. Next up will be a bit of photography from my lovely hikes around this island, the villages of Malta, and snaps of me riding on a Segway around cliffs. Seriously.