End of Gozo

http://ww.visitmalta.com/en/file.aspx?f=14127I

To see the maps of Malta, just click on the link above.

It’s been since October 10/11th that we have been in Gozo.  We leave tomorrow for Malta which is about 30 minute ride across the water on a ferry.  And I take the liberty now of making some general comments, takeaways, if you will, on the island.

Squirrels don’t seem to live here.  There is squirrel habitat but where are they?  Perhaps they have been killed by all those gun shooters that start firing their shotguns in the morning.  The firing range is on top of a hill here, near the village of Gharb…that’s where our hosts are hanging out for 3 months.  The only dead thing I’ve seen here is a dead pigeon, no doubt a victim of gunners. 

Speaking of pigeons.  There aren’t many of them here.  See paragraph above. 

No foxes, no prairie dogs, no vultures (who’s scraps the bones, I wonder?).  Haven’t smelled or seen a skunk.  There are plenty of lizards here.  They are small and quick and live in the all the stone walls that line the roads.  One suspects snakes but this kid ain’t looking for any because I might find one and then what would I do?  There are lots of flies.  Apparently there are not enough natural predators because they are everywhere, all the time.  We, therefore, became the fly’s un-natural predator with the canary yellow flyswatter the Morrow’s own.  I heavily suspect that fly swatting could become a national sport.  Some entrepreneur could make a fortune marketing fly swatters if they would only develop it into a game.  Perhaps someone should working on this immediately. 

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Speaking of things that fly, there are bees here.  This is good news.  Local honey is stocked on the shelves of the local markets and I saw a few with my own eyes so I suspect the honey is not from, say, China.  They were buzzing around the lavender plants that grow like weeds…along with wild fennel and thyme.  The yang …of ying and yang are mosquitos.  Had to pop into a drug store here to buy “bug wipes” and, curiously, after I purchased them, the mosquitos went missing (and I only used one wipe).  The mosquitos must be as clairvoyant as my dog, Beau, who knows exactly what time it is at 3:00 because that’s when he gets fed. 

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Beau in repose. He’s clairvoyant.

It is reported that goats live nearby.  And by nearby I mean a few doors away behind the garage door.  Interestingly, all the houses on this island are built with quarried stone from the island.  They are two or three stories tall.  I’ve only seen one one-story home.  Most are connected so they qualify as the original condominium island, perhaps.  Some are freestanding but the majority are not.  Each has a garage and garages can hold from up to four cars stacked fender to fender in a long line…or, apparently, a herd of goats.  I don’t know.  Maybe the door there isn’t a garage door but a large door to a lot.  You know goats live there because of the odor.  And the flies.  See second paragraph above.

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Pictures of a garage door and a new house under construction.

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We have seen and heard chickens.  There are cows in the fields.  And horses in the street.  Upon our arrival, our cab found itself following a fellow in a buggy holding his buggy whip while his horse trotted down the street, holding up traffic.  We are told that  “chariot” racing is a Gozitan activity here and the horsemen need a place to work their horses so they use the public streets when the race track is unavailable.  The locals also use the streets to move their tractors and it’s a quite a sight because the streets are narrow.  Very narrow. 

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Taken from the bus. See how close we are?

Speaking of moving, I would not want to move here.  The attitude of the men on the island is brusque toward the gentler sex.  Several times we felt invisible and or ignored by shopkeepers, baristas (haven’t seen a Starbucks here) in local coffee shops.  And it feels like it did in Greece where men hang out together on sidewalks playing games or just smoking their lives away.   The women stay home and hang out the laundry.  (driers are non-existent).

Being a very Catholic country, see previous blogs, I am perplexed that I have only seen one nun (running to catch a bus…nun on the run).  Have not seen a single priest.  Where are they?  What are they doing?  My suspicion is that they stay in their churches so they can supervise the ringing of bells.  The bells here get “rung” every few minutes.  Every 15 minutes to be precise.  They have a coded bell system.  It goes something like this.  There are 6 hours.  1 a.m. is one dink of the bell.  1:15 is one donk followed by one dink of the bell.  2 a.m. is two rings.  2:45, for example, is 2 dink rings and 3 donk rings.  And so on until 6.   7:00 a.m. is 1 dink.  7:15 is one dink and donk and so on.  It is somewhat practical.  Who wants to hear 24 rings at midnight?  And who does the ringing?  I believe it’s all pre-recorded.  Just like the call to prayer in Istanbul, perhaps.   In this day and age, it seems quaint…unless and until it starts ringing while you are sleeping and wakes you up.  Then it seems rather annoying.  Just sayin.

So as you can see, I am perfectly capable of contradicting myself with free abandon.  See paragraph above. 

Gozo suffers from some of the same things we suffer from in CA.  See the story below:

http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/environment/townscapes/75060/disused_hondoq_desalination_plant_to_be_reactivated#.Wes-IxNL81g

We are not alone in the struggle for water.  I think if we don’t blow ourselves up with North Korea, water may be the war to worry about.  Water wars. 

But I digress.

Certain people of the world are quite beautiful, both male and female.  Not so much in Gozo and I’ll leave it at that.  Well, no, I won’t.  This island was invaded by nearly everyone and ruled by the the Roman, Brits, the French, Middle Easterners etc.  The list is very long.  Why attractiveness is not evident, I do not know.  Now, I will leave it at that.  Well, no, I won’t.  It is a relatively modest country in terms of means.  They don’t spend much on their teeth.  Okay.  This is it.  I’m done with that line of thought. 

Did I mention the pomegranate trees?  There are lots of them here.  Fig trees too.  Olive trees.  When I say a lot, I mean here and there.  The island as a whole doesn’t have many trees and apparently never has.  There are no orchards.  There are, however, fields of crops and I mostly don’t know what the crops are.  Farming seems to be a big part of the economy only surpassed by tourism.  With all the ancient ruins, and beautiful vistas, the island gets a lot of tourists.  So, why those surley baristas exist ( they remind me of  the waiters at Tadish’s in San Franciso, if you have ever been there.  Or Sarah Huckabee Sanders doing a presser )is beyond me.  Charm school wouldn’t hurt.  See paragraph 8, I believe. 

So…those are my observations of Gozo.   Hope you enjoyed it.  Today Gozo.  Tomorrow Malta.  The island of Malta is Malta’s main island.  Gozo and Comino are part of Malta.  They are the ugly stepsisters, I think.  Not because the are ugly but because they are smaller and generate less taxes/revenue.  I’ll only have a day to see Malta so I hope it is a good one.  A journalist was murdered there a few days ago.  Apparently there is a lot of graph and corruption ala mafia type stuff going on.  I’ve been reading the Malta Times.  It has caused quite a stir because the journalist, a woman, was speaking truth to power and they needed to get rid of her.  The EU is concerned about this young democracy circa 1960 when they were given their independence from England.  And apparently they were up to their necks in the Panama Papers  (money laundering scheme) yet the government here turned a blind eye.  Interesting times.  Sad times.  Dangerous times.  Glad to be returning home to my Rayman and Beau and all my friends!!

See you soon!!!

 

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