1st August – My CS’s are already leaving again because they have been too tired the evening before and was looking for accommodation in Rabat. After a Mediterranean breakfast they left with not many words. Ok, we were talking a little, but I did not get to know a lot. I am disappointed, of course. Would they have told the day before, they want to come in and go to sleep around 10pm, it had been OK, but they did not tell me, that they think midnight is too late for coming back and going to sleep. Anyway I should have been more careful and should not have accepted their request because they wrote, they need a place to sleep. My flat is not a hotel!
2nd August – Coming home from work I sent congratulations to me youngest son because it was his birthday. I was surprised that he answered me soon, he was still awake.
3rd August – Getting interested in health food During the last weeks I have had some problems with my legs again. I have had spasm from time to time and was remembering that my oldest brother was telling me, that it can be a lack of magnesium. So I took time and googled about it and found a health site explaining not only that, but also what I can do against it without medicine. The most important thing I was reading about there, was the fact that autoimmune diseases can depend on this. The second important thing was, that I do not need artificial medicines but can eat nuts and other healthy food for getting rid of it. So I decided to give it a try.
I went to the nearest grocery shop (the one around the corner) and looked for almonds, pine nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds and I found them all. They have more healthy food there, but it is a very little shop. I did not buy any milk, as I usually should have done.
4th August – Finding a Health Food Shop I started the day to enrich my breakfast by the healthy food I bought the day before. I was thinking about buying more kinds of nuts, because they are all very healthy. I was also looking for guacamole because Avocado is a very healthy fruit, but it is hard to know, when they are ripe. Therefore it happens for me often, that I take them to late when they already are black inside. I did not find any guacamole, so I have to learn when to eat the Avocado. Chickpeas are very healthy, too and I like humus and bought a can of chickpeas and tahini (a paste made of sesame) in my grocery shop, too. Another time I was surprised about the assortment of my local shop.
Anyway I remembered that I cannot eat hazelnuts, when they are not ecological grown. It was just fortune, that I’ve got to know that, because I was avoiding hazelnuts for getting a thick throat of eating only one hazelnut and I cannot breeze as usual. I am afraid I will not be able to breeze at all by eating hazelnuts. So I was visiting one of my best friends who is using health food at home. She call it eating “whole food”. For making it short: I was eating breakfast at her home and in the home-made muesli were a few hazelnuts, but ecological grown ones. I did not know that before I had one in my mouth and thought, one will be ok – so I did not spit it out. I did not get a thick throat and I ate another one – nothing happened, and another one – again nothing happened. At least I ate four or five of them and did not feel any allergic reaction.
For this reason I was surfing the internet looking if there are one or two health food shops on Malta. I was not expecting one, but here are and I felt happy. I took the bus to a place I know and was looking around in the shop and buying some healthy ingredients. Unfortunately I have not had a bag with me and could not buy so much. I’ve got a paper bag and it was not sure, that it would hold all the way home, but it did.
5th August – Go and see the feast in Hal Lija I started with my healthy breakfast and because it is my other day off I was looking for what happened that day on Malta. There were some events in the evening, but I would like to make my experiences during day time and found, that there will be a feast in Hal Lija Parish. I did know where the city is, because when going by bus to Mosta or Naxxar, I could see the sign. Also the city is one of the more rich cities. In former times rich people built their homes there. I thought it might be interesting to see the city as well as the feast. I took a little box with my own blend of nuts with me and thought I might buy a small bottle of water somewhere, because I never have these small bottles at home.
On my way to Hal Lija I left the bus at another health food shop because I have seen on the internet, that there is one more – anyway of the same brand where I have been the day before. I was just interested in to see, if that one is like the other one or maybe bigger and with a wider range. It was good, I took this time, because that shop indeed is the way I hoped for. I bought a bottle of coconut water and a can with coconut oil. It sounds interesting and I read at the health site that coconut oil can make gallstones disappear. Furthermore i bought a can of Almond butter. This shop became my favorite health shop from the first moment.
There is no bus stop in Hal Lija, so I had to leave the bus at the bus stop outside, but it was not difficult to find the way into the city. It was no long way either to walk. Before arriving at the Parish church there were a kind of very little park with a playground, but also with a nice fountain. Furthermore there were made preparations for the fireworks, which are included in all feasts here on Malta. I read on “Visit Malta” that the fireworks in Hal Lija are known to be the most famous of the island.
Looking around and continuing walking the streets I came after a while to the church. There were people in front of the church and I was looking inside – that was for me one of these seldom possibilities to look inside a church. Because I was wearing a top with straps for the high temperatures I was not dressed for church and could not go inside. Anyway I saw the most of the halls. There were draperies with red velvet and nice paintings on the ceiling. It was really beautiful, but it did not happen anything at this time, so I strolled away looking for the buildings and streets behind the church until I came out of the city to the country side.
I tried to wander back another way as I was coming, but there was none. Back to the church I chose another direction and was very surprised when I was in front of the German embassy because there is one in Sliema, too. Later I heard that the ambassador is living in Hal Lija. The office is only in Sliema.
I strolled around a little more coming back to places I have been before. Therefore I went back to the market place in front of the church and was looking for a bench. On the one in the shadow and with the best view on the church there were a man sitting on one side. Though I asked him if the rest of the bench is vacant and sat down. First I was just looking around, than I saw the procession leaving the church and starting their way. I tried to take some pictures from the bench, but there was a man standing in my way and a van did not gave me a clear view either. Later on, when the procession came back throughout another street, the man on the bench told me that and added “you maybe want like to take pictures”. I thanked him of course, took some pictures and went back to the bench. Now the Maltese (he told me now, he is) made conversation with me and told me a little about the feast, e. g. that the main day will be the next day and a band will be playing on the stage close to us.
As you already can see on the pictures, there are stalls on the street. After the procession they opened for the public and were selling Maltese traditional nougat, Maltese traditional pastries, food like kebab, meat skewers, Hamburgers and pizza. There were also one selling Maltese ice cream. Down the street were they selling toys and there was also one stall with fashion jewelry. A band where coming up the street after a while, but it dit not remain at the place. I did not buy a lot. I tried the Maltese nougat and bought some, I still have it at home. It is really good, but I think it will be a nice gift for my Swiss hosts. In addition to that I bought two pieces of the Maltese pastries – I really like them – and eat them the day after, because I was full from the nuts I have had with me. Anyway an ice cream is always welcome. I tried to buy a little one, but it seemed they only had one size. Because I had to carry the sweets I bought, I need to take a cone, because I had only one of my hands free to take something more. Even the Maltese ice cream is as good as the Italian one, there is a big difference. The Maltese ice cream pours after just a little while out off the freezer. It pours much faster than the Italian ice cream. Therefore it is no good idea to take a cone, you should always take it in a cup! Soon it was getting dark and the church was nice illuminated.
I now was waiting for the fireworks, but there were none telling us, that we have to go aside and the fireworks will start. I was walking aside the trestle with the prepared fireworks back to the park and was waiting there for a while, but nothing happened. Though I went home by bus. When I arrived at home, I heard the fireworks and I thought next year I will stay for a longer while, that I can enjoy it.
6th – 7th August Trying to eat healthier I continue to eat salad which I enrich with sesame seeds, moreover I am eating nuts and more healthy food and less milk products. I only take milk in my (unhealthy) coffee and have yoghurt for my breakfast, which I enrich with pine nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. I take a little box with a blend of different kind of nuts, almonds and dried banana chips to work and I am going home during my dinner break for eating a small healthy meal. I try to drink around 2 liters of water, but that is not so easy. I also drink shakes of almond or Cocos milk with fruits. Furthermore I drink smoothies from time to time. Just now, in the beginning of my healthier life, it seems to be a little expensive, but I think, when I become used to it, I will know how to get it a little cheaper. Anyway cheese is not cheap here at all and I ate a lot of cheese before. The only problem is, that I have to use my food supply like the pasta and the pudding rice. I will take something of that once a week or so, but try to stay healthy. I should also take a walk everyday. A little help is going home during my break and walking all the stairs to the fourth floor once more a day, but I know that is not enough at all. Therefore I need to find a way fitting me to go for the walks. I am sure, I will find it. Usually I am walking a lot on my days off, these days I have no problem. In addition to that during my vacation I will walk a lot to. I also hope I will lose weight by this, but more important is to become rid of the autoimmune disease so my tongue will not hurt so much any more when I brush my teeth or I am eating some more spiced food or having an alcoholic drink like beer or wine. Also some water with bubble would be good to drink some times. For the most I will not eat or drink all this for healthy reasons but life will be a little easier when I do not have to look for food with less spices and have to say no when I will be invited for some of the named drinks even I only drink very seldom and very few alcoholic drinks.
8th August – Besedo Summer Party was on the scheme. We had to start at work earlier, so we could make our full scheduled hours. I have half an hour extra off, because I was on the team meeting last month and have not taken free time for this thirty minutes. This evening it was the best benefit to get. I went home earlier and could change clothes. I took the red dress, I have bought in Bugibba and I have worn my hair down. I also put my new jewelry on – I bought at Qali Crafts Village. I felt beautiful and I’ve got a lot of flatteries. One colleague said, I look twenty years younger than usual. I asked him how old he think I am really am and he told me between 50 and 55. That made me happy of course – and there are other people who think that.
There were free drinks and free food at the party. It was finger food but also some rice with two kinds of meat in sauces. There were interesting entries and also after the rice there was nice finger food. At least pastries were served. Unfortunately I was so full of eating, I could not take any of the pastries. I did not feel, that I ate much, but the way the meals were served gave me the feeling of being full. I drank a beer at the beginning with some colleagues, but continued with still water the rest of the evening. It was great that the beer did not hurt my tongue. Can it already has been the more healthy way to eat, which helped me?
The music on the party was not bad, but all the time the same style. There were no changes. Some younger people I talked with and who has been dancing to the music all the time did not like either that the same style of music was played during all evening and more people than me were a little disappointed from the party. It was a nice place to be at the Cafe del Mare in Qawra – onside the Malta National Aquarium where it is allowed to swim with dolphins, but there where no program, no entertaining, nothing and the DJ didn’t say a word. The music was very loud of course, though it was not possible for me to understand my colleagues, when they were talking to me. Therefore I could not have a good conversation and I felt alone after a while. OK, I have been there and I will go to the Christmas Party if there is one, too. But I have no need of these parties!
9th August – Opened an account at “Connecting singles” on the Internet for meeting Maltese people. Because I am very interested in cultures I wished to get one or two Maltese friends. My neighbors on my floor are Maltese, but one. But we are not talking private with each other, but the most necessary conversation. I do not see them often either. Get a talk with Maltese is not so very difficult. I have seen that in Mosta, Dingli Cliffs and Hal Lija. Getting a Maltese friend seems very difficult. On the Summer Party a colleague in his late 40th told me, that he has a Maltese girl friend. Therefore I asked him, how to know a Maltese and he told me about this website. I started with my profile at this platform and also found another site for people 40+. I tried with both, but remained on the “Connection singles”-website and deleted my profile on the other one very quick again. Now I am waiting for contacts.
10th August – People are interested in me, I have got contacts on “Connection singles”. Usually none is answering me, but on this site they are and they are Maltese. I will see how it continues.
11th August – Meeting Joe. He is a man in my age and we met in front of “Busy bee”, the well-known coffee shop close to my home. He is living in Sliema and really nice. He is very talk active, he did not believe that I am already in his age until I told him, that I was born 1950. He answered me that I do not look like being in that age. What words can be better to hear for a woman than these? We were talking for an hour or so and after that we were walking to my home but another way than I usually take because he showed me some interesting things in the neighbourhood. We used some “secret ways” on the way to my place, visited the roof of my house and at least he were following into my flat for a while. Here he saw my laptop and we were looking up together the gov-site for lifelong learning on Malta. There are courses in Maltese for foreigners from October. He told me when I have to subscribe and how and also where the courses will be held. Maybe there is a chance for me to learn Maltese. I would like to know the language as I told you before. With Maltese friends it will not be difficult to practise it.
There are three more guys contacting me by the website and I am still in touch with them by messages and email. One of them shows great interest in helping me learning the Maltese language. Maybe I also should try to get a Maltese woman as a friend so she can show me how to cook Maltese meals. On the other hand, the guy who are willing to help me with the Maltese language is working as a manager for catering. I think he can cook, too.
Before midnight I am also registering on http://www.hospitalityclub.org/ because I am still looking for hosts for my trip to Switzerland. It is no longer the lack of money which make me looking for hosts, because I have more money now and can pay for accommodation, but it is to know more about the countries and the regions. To be a usual tourist does not satisfy me. I will see if I will get a positive answer.
Furthermore I found two dance colleges in my street. I have to take a look next time I am on a walk in my area. Maybe almost one of them is not very expensive and I have to move my body more than I do now for staying healthy.
12th August – The first contact on the site http://www.hospitalityclub.org/ is from a guy from Morocco. That is also I nice country, I think and not far away from Malta. Whom knows when I will go there, maybe already next year?
Joe, my new friend wrote me an email. He told me that he want meet me again, so none will get hurt. He told me he likes me, but he is maybe looking for more than friendship. So I do not have a Maltese friend yet. It does not matter for me, he seemed to be a nice guy but he was very talk active I could nearly say a word.
This day I took my time for updating my blog. There will be possibilities to see more of Malta other days. Anyway when I was proofreading it, suddenly the electricity was gone. I was wondering because 7pm there will not be road works or some one working with a house and the electricity off for that. Fortunately I had my torch close to me and I also lit a candle. It was getting warm of that, of course. The Internet was not working, but worse was that the AC was not working, but I had to try to sleep when we did not have any electricity at 10pm.
13th August – I was awake at 5am because my fan were working. I did not remember to switch of it yesterday because it was not working either when the electricity was gone. It was already warm and I was sweaty. I checked twitter because I could not sleep anymore. There I’ve got the answer, because I am following @Malta and more stuff about Malta. I could read that it has been an explosion at a station of “enemalta” (our electricity provider). There were still some cities without electricity like Valletta, our capital and I was really lucky, that Msida already had the electricity back because I could put on the AC again and take a shower, too.
After have been out of the house around 10am I tried to correct my mistakes in this text. I hope I was lucky and found all of them. I finished it and had to go to work afterwards.
14th August – May it means luck that I broke the vas I have got as a present from my former employer Perstorps kommun in Sweden. I have had two of them. The first where the cat Kira taking down from the cupboard, so it broke. That was in Hamburg in 2010. Now the other one is gone and I do not feel sorry very much, because these are only dead things. Nobody got hurt. I am always going on in my life and for my memory I have my pictures.
15th August – This day is a public holiday on Malta, the Feast of Assumption (for the German people: Mariä Himmelfahrt). I thought the Maltese people will celebrate the feast like the feasts of their Apostles, the Saints of their cities. But it was just I day off for the most of the Maltese people. I did work that day, too – but will get an extra day off for this day. I love that! After work I was going down to the Marina and also looking in front of the church, but there was no activity. Anyway it was still very warm and people took a walk alongside the Marina.
16th August – We had joy at work because we were talking about a little more than just the necessary questions and explanations. I have got commended because I make a good work. I am happy for that, of course. Just half an hour before the end of our shift, a mouse was seen of one of our colleagues and another one was screaming for that. I did not know before there really are people doing that by seeing a mouse, Now I know, it is true, it does not only happens in cartoons.
This day before noon another couch surfer was arriving at my home. It is a very nice girl from Spain, talk active and interested in other cultures. Her English is good, therefore we can understand each other very well. She doesn’t matter to come here after midnight. He has been here for some weeks already – at other places – and has friends. There are no problem for her to enjoy the days when I am at work. I am very happy about that she is surfing on my couch.
17th August – Going to Valletta market in Floriana. Yes, it is right, the Valletta market will be hold in Floriana – for maintenance reasons in Valletta, but I did not find it. I asked the bus driver, where it is and he pointed in a direction and told me, down there, but there was no market. I asked other people and other people were asking me 😉 about, where to find, but I did not find it at all. On the homepage where I read about it, it was written, that the market will close at 1pm, my couch surfer told me, the market will close at 10am. Anyway, if they were closing down around 10am, I should have seen when they take the stalls down. I have to ask my new Maltese friends (I have three of them now) for the market. Maybe one of them really knows.
Because I did not find any market and I already was at the end of the city of Floriana – and also because I have to get some exercise I was walking all the way home. It is nice weather, I wear my hat and my sunglasses and I enjoy life! At home I started my fan and my AC and was writing the lines after I checked my emails. I decided to make a new site on my blog, called “Memories” and I will try to write about my life, from the first beginning until the travel to Malta. I also will start another site on this blog about my travels around the world. The first one will be the one to Ticino / Switzerland. Enjoy!
This day my daughter and me made plans for her stay in October here in Malta and I cannot await the day she will be here.
18th August – I fell in love with Malta 😉 Yes, one of my Maltese friend answered my mail and told me where the Valletta market is held. It is much closer to my home, than I was thinking about – at the seaside and the beginning of Floriana (near Bombi) and not at the end (near Valletta). I did not expect that. I will try next Sunday again.
At 8am I was already on my laptop, because it was time to apply for the Maltese language course. The homepage was very slow – or maybe our Internet was. Anyway I did it. The costs? 11,95 for a 32 weeks course twice a week at 1,5 hours with discussions, role-play, presentations and out-of-class-activities. Because I have a cartizan-card (60+ on my id-card) I could ask for to get the course for free, but I think, that is not necessary.
At 11am I had an appointment with another Maltese. His name is Mark. He was a little late, but was coming. Unfortunately he had to tell me, that he has to go to work. They needed him today and he will not have the day off. He told me, that he only is looking for a friend. That’s great! We will meet again next Tuesday (26th) and he will make it sure to have time for me.
I think, you are wondering when I fell in love with Malta? I did it in the afternoon. I become more and more like the Maltese people and do not leave the house at the middle of the day – if I not have to do it. I was taking some photografies of mine out of goggles picture site “picasa”, because I will not show people there. For my private album it is ok. After that I was looking for something I could do in the afternoon and maybe evening and I found an exhibition, being held in the Mediterranean Congress Center in Valletta. I was looking for, where in Valletta it is and found the page of the center and thought: It would be worth to go there just for the building. I have never cared about that center before, because I thought a congress center will be a modern building, I was wrong.
I came by bus to Valletta and took the way at the seaside for the MCC. After a while I came to the Lower Bakkara Garden. That one I was looking for weeks ago and did not find. It is a very small garden but nice with a nice view on the harbour of Valletta. I saw a cargo ship from the Grimaldi line – the one who also take cargo, mostly cars, to Hamburg. This was not a car cargo ship and in nicer colours, too. Continuing from the Lower Bakkara Garden there were an amazing view onto the harbour, the seaside and the three cities. The sun was shining – like most of the time, the sky was blue – like most of the time – and it gave so nice pictures for my eyes so I fell in love with Malta.
I continued to the MCC, paid 5 Euro for the entrance, not asking for if it would be cheaper for people 60+ and started with the paintings. There were mostly English painters, but also French, Irish and one Swedish – they had one painting by Zorn – a nude. All the painters lived during World War I, but I did not see any Maltese painter. In the next are they were modern artists – mostly Maltese’. I liked a lot of their paintings, sculptures and other works of art. Some of these I did not understand, but that is art! There was a ceramic “painting” of an artist, who started to be an artist in the age of 83 years!
There were also an exhibition in the cellar about WW I. There were letters, medals, paintings and other things from soldiers, who was participating in WW I. There were also the history about the Maltese part in WW I (nursing wounded soldiers and camps for war prisoners. Further more there were works of art of young artist, born in the 1980’s and at the beginning of the 1990’s. There works were so different, but very interesting. I did not know before that there are famous art schools at Malta. Now I know better and I am happy about it.
I was at the MCC until it was closing down for the day and took after that a stroll through the city of Valletta. I had time enough to look at the buildings, enlightened as they were and enjoyed the music of the street artists. One of them was a young woman with a wonderful voice. The artists sounded so Mediterranean as it could be! It was a special night for me.
19th August – Visiting the Gzira Health Center I could not avoid, because I have a for women very usual health condition I have to care about. It results in a visit at a doctor every three-month – once or twice a year I have to make a blood test. Because I was at my medical practitioner in Hamburg just before leaving there was no need for me to go to a doctor here before now. It was a very interesting visit, but not at all than I expected. Because I am working on Malta it is free to go to the poly clinics. One of them is the Gzira Health Center. It offers its services mainly to residents of Gzira, Msida, Sliema, Ta’Xbiex, Kappara , Pembroke, St Julians, San Gwann, Swieqi and Ibragg. I already had heard it and I also expected that there will be a queue. When I was arriving around 10 o’clock – unfortunately I could not come there earlier – the queue were around 10 people, around an hour later the queue was twice as long as before. At my arrival there were two doctors working, at 11 o’clock there were one leaving and another did not come before 12 o’clock. Anyway a quarter past 12 I was face to face with the doctor. I had all my files with me, written down all my health issues and treatments in English and tried to explain that I am running out of medicine for my Thyroid. I thought, because it was my first time, they will take a blood test and see, in which condition my Thyroid is and how much medicine it needs to help me, but nonetheless being a new patient, he just wrote a description for a longer time and send me away. I was really perplex and was thinking if I should go to a private doctor, but maybe he will treat me like this one anyway.
This afternoon I walked together with my couch surfer Lou to Valletta. We would like to see the National Library, but did not make it in time. It was 1 1/2 hours walk from Msida to Valletta. I never had the feeling time was running so fast, but we were not walking very slow either. I showed her the way over the hills. So, we also had to cross Floriana, but she already had been in Floriana, she told me when we came there and she was not really interested to hear anything about Floriana. We were going back by bus because I had to be in time for work.
The evening I spend with another Joe. We went by car to Mdina and were walking all these narrow alleys and waiting for a place at a restaurant with an amazing few to the north. Finally we got a seat at the roof and he was gentlemen enough to let me sit that way I had the nice view all the time. Unfortunately he could not see the view at all because the table was positioned that way. While we were in Mdina he also explained the main rules of the Maltese language to me. The language has influences from the Arabic and though there are words belonging to the moon and others are belonging to the sun. The articles are depending on that, but also on the first letter of the words they belongs to. This with the letters I did already see by my own because the places are e.g. Tas Sliema, In Naxxar, Ir Rabat, Ta’ Xbiex etc. There are some exceptions like L-Imsida (Msida) and L-Imdina (Mdina). In Ta’ Xbiex I think it is the apostrophe for the x because the pronunciation – the X in Maltese is spoken like a (sch or tsch). Joe also told me about the history. I read about it, but with the buildings close to me and the explanation from him it was more alive for me and I was very thankful for that.
20th August – Back to work because the days off are to few ;-). In the morning I met David, another new Maltese friend of mine. We met in Msida, but he did not like the first coffee shop and at the well known Busy bee, which we tried than, there were so many women chatting, I could not here, what he was saying to me. So he invited me to go to Balzan (close to Birkirkara) to get a coffee at a nice place. Actually we went to a hotel with a nice and quiet lounge. The hotel is close to San Anton Gardens. We hade both a Cappucino and talked a while. Afterwards he was driving me back to Msida. I did not have to ask him for that. He is really a gentleman. Younger than me, but nobody would believe that by just seeing us together. He is well educated, travelled a lot – also to India and Arabic countries. He has been in Germany, too, but did not like it, because nearly nobody is speaking English there ;-), he told me. He is nice and also interested in helping me with Maltese. With so many Maltese friends it will be easier to learn the language, I think. He is very interested in different cultures, too and also studied all the well known religions.
21st August – My couch surfer is leaving and I had to promise her to come to Spain to her house. I did it with fun and planned to go there at the end of March next year. I hope to get a week off for this trip – and it will not be the only one to Spain because she told me about nice must see areas at the country side.
Anyway I was at the health shop in Birkirkara again, but only buying some drinks. This time I also took the almond milk with dark chocolate. I can tell you the taste is great! I like it so much, so I am happy I cannot go each day to that shop. I will wait until next week or the week after that, because I have to drink all the other healthy drinks, too.
22nd August – Electricity is gone again, but only for a short while. I was in the bathroom and have had a shower, but was already combing my hair when the electricity went off. I heard my landlord screaming in his shower – I told you before, that this wall is not thick. I answered him “it is the government” because I was expecting that. We anyway met some minutes later in the hall to our apartments and he asked me what I has done just before. This time only the electricity were gone in our apartments. A switch in the cellar had fallen down. I took the opportunity and asked him for help with the light in my livingroom, the bulb was gone two days ago and I cannot reach the light. I have to know what bulb fits in. He did help me and also were wondering if the light might have caused the break of the electricity, but it was just the bulb. He promised me to help me again, when I bought a new bulb. That day I did not find a shop, where I could buy a bulb, because you cannot buy bulbs here at the supermarket. Therefore I asked one of my new Maltese friends to tell me, where I can buy bulbs on Malta and the answer came quite soon: At the electrical shops or ironmonger’s. He also wrote: “There is one exactly on the bus stop when you arrive from Valletta at the Triq D’Argens. That was a very helpful answer, of course.
23rd August – I walked to the ironmonger and bought a new bulb. In fact the shop is also an electricity shop and you can get new, imitated keys there. I did not have much cash with me, so I could not buy keys at that time and continued to the good super market and bought all the fruits and vegetable I cannot get at the local farmer’s, coming with his car, like Avocado, Papaya and Mango. Furthermore I bought some smoothies. They were expensive, but they are healthy and I do not buy this kind of fruits every day.
24th August – It is the last day of the Feast of St. Elena. The feast is in Birkirkara, the procession is in the morning and it is the only feast on Malta with the procession in the morning. David was so kind to show me around. He picked me up by car close to my place at 8am. I hade my alarm clock at six. It was really early after the late shift, but I made it. We did not find a car park close to the church in Birkirkara, they were all full already. When we found a space for the car, we had to wait some km to come to the church. It didn’t matter for me, of course. I also could have taken the bus. We were early but just in time. The procession starts after the weather – when it will become very warm, or as it was said to become that day – very windy, they start earlier than usual. David did know exactly where we have to go to have the best view. We were standing as close as it was possible at least and just in time.
This procession was different till the one I have seen in Lija. It started with the band, but the big difference was, that a lot of men were carrying the statue of their Saint Elena (see the picture below). This statue is made of olive wood and very heavy. I really could see how heavy it is when the men were carrying it. The statue was followed of some priests and some other clergymen, but not so many at all as it has been in Lija. David told me that it depends on a lot of facts if there are many people following or not. No other people were walking behind the procession either – they did not in Lija, too. It took only around five minutes the procession passed by. Afterwards we were going to the church to take a look. What I saw was overwhelming, like it was in Lija, but this time I could look around the whole church. David showed me and because he knows what is allowed I felt free to do so. This one had also red fabrics at the walls and I could see, that is not velvet, it is damask. There are a lot of paintings at the ceiling and some on the walls. There are also some altars with a lot of tall lights. The paintings are more orthodox than Roman catholic. They have this clear colours I like. Also there were lots of golden items in the church – most at the wall, but also on the ceiling. I did not take any pictures because the church was really full, the people were waiting for the service. I will try to make pictures inside a Maltese church another time.
We continued the Maltese way and took a seat in one of the street restaurants, but we only drank each a bottle of water. Here I have to explain you something – I think I did not before, because I did not know. I was always wondering and that it is no good service because always when you order a bottle of water in a restaurant or coffee shop, they bring it to you with the lid still closed. David explained to me, that they have to do because Maltese would never trust, they did not get tap water in the bottle if it would be opened already. You have to hear the “click” by opening the lid, so you know it is the mineral water in the bottle, you pay for.
After a while we went back to the car. On the way we saw some fireworks. Yes, you did read right – it was around 10am and the shot up fireworks. They do it all days long during the feast and there are official fireworks in the evening. David told me, that it is very expensive with the fireworks – one “lightning” costs around 200 Euro. Therefore also the fireworks are getting less and less since the last three years and it will continue that way even in Lija. I thought by myself: I have to see the Lija fireworks next year, so I still can imagine how great they are. The day was already very hot again and we ended up in that nice lounge from the first time we met. We were talking for a couple of hours and he drove me home as it would be the only thing possible. During that two hours I have got to know a lot of him and some of Maltese living. Like everywhere times are changing also on Malta and becoming more “European”, Maltese culture is suffering of that. Maybe the Maltese language and culture will take the same sad way like the Gaelic language in Ireland. So far the Maltese people are using their language and are proud of their culture.
Coming home I had a meal and went to work.
25th August – My Monday off started early by taking the garbage out before 8am, but I went to bed again and was sleeping two more hours because the day before had been a long one. The rest of the day I took it calm and was relaxing, wrote in my blog and tried to write some emails, but was to tired for the emails so I watched teve on my laptop. Already after the siesta I have been out for buying some necessary things like bags for the assorted garbage, to the Pharmacy and bought my medicin for the costs of 2,30 Euros and also to the ironmonger for keys. All three keys together were for 8,90 Euros. It took not a long time to make them and it was not very loudly. I could not see, what he is doing, therefore I did not trust, that the keys will fit. He was so nice and gave me a key chain as a gift and I also have got a receipt, of course – like it is usual on Malta. When I came home, I tried the keys at once – and they fitted! I was really a little surprised but happy and I asked the ironmonger pardon in my mind.
26th August – Writing emails took my whole Tuesday off because I have more and more friends, but I will not miss one of them. Friends are the best gift one can get. I am looking forward to meet them all again or for the first time.
27th August – 30th August – The only little special think was the team meeting on Thursday … and I was there in good time!
31st August – it is Sunday and I will meet David in the afternoon I was looking forward to our meeting because we will go to Dingli for a walk and see the sunset. David was in time, as he usual is. He has his usual car, which is good to go on and off for elderly people, like me ;-). On the way to Dingli we came through the “ever green valley” and I asked him for the palace of the President. He were not only showing it to me and explaining about it (it is only for represantation) but also was walking with me to a nice place where I could make picutes. When I saw the building, I understand, that it was that one I have seen from Dingli Cliffs before, but closer to it, I was not able to see it. There were a lot of trees and bushes in my sight. The place where David took me, the sight was open!
We were continuing by car to Dingli and the cliffs. On our way David asked me, which side of the cliffs I have been. I showed him with my hands. He explained to me about the church, but I told him I already have been there and that I was eating the sweetest strawberries there. Because I did not know what the building at the right hand side of the church is, I asked him, if it was one of all these fortification towers and he answered, that it is. We were also talking about the communication tower and was going further by car. Now I became aware that I was walking in the wrong direction last time I was at Dingli cliffs. We were just in time for a wonderful sunset. It was a little cloudy and in the beginning the sun was “laying” on the clouds. I never have seen that before. When the sky was red and the cliffs not full to see any more it was “such a beautiful world” I could have been singing that song. He also gave me a tips how to make it more interesting.
After a while we continued to Rabat and David invited me to a meal. We (especially me) had a nice view of the lights of Birkirkara, Qormi and more. I took a cheese platter, because I was not very hungry, and tasted the mango chutney. The cheese was very tasty (all of them), but I did not like the mango chutney. I ate the walnuts, of course, but not much of all the bread. Two people could have got full of the things on the plate, but it was only a plate for one. Nonetheless, we were dining close to a main street, but higher up. It was a little too noisy. Anyway I felt very happy this evening.