Thursday, September 14, 2017

Malta Day One: arrival in newness.

Let me preface this whole thing here with this very important piece of information: I have been up for over 36hrs at this point. It is currently 9.15PM on September 5th. Of the year 2017. I got up at about 8AM on September 4th. Also if the year 2017. Yesterday. I have not slept since. Because I had to be at the airport at 4AM today, I didn't take the thing that helps me sleep last night - according to some random post I saw on Instagram today is Be Late For Something Day. Yeah, no. Not risking my long awaited vacation (long awaited by my mom, my dad, my friends, my colleagues, and many more). So, long story short, I'm a little tired and this thing here might turn out to be somewhat nonsensical at times. But I'm using big words here, so let's hope for the best. Preface done.

I'm in Malta. To be precise, I'm in the Paradise Bay Resort at the northern tip of the island, across the water from Comino and Gozo. Yes, you read that right. Resort. I have a room with a balcony, overlooking the pool and the bay. Breakfast is included, as is the transfer from and to the airport. And while I waited for my room to be ready, I booked three guided tours. A hop-on hop-off tour of the northern half of this island, a hop-on hop-off tour of Gozo, and a harbour tour around Sliema and Valletta. I know, I know. This is not very me. But it's happening and we will deal with it together. Uh, final blow: I booked it in a travel agency.

Didn't book first class, though. No idea how I got into 1F, 
because I gave less at the time (winkwink).

Wait, one more: the reason I'm posting this so long after writing it is that there is No. Free. WiFi. In. My. Hotel!!! Cue maniacal laughter.

Hell is frozen over, the sky is filled with winged pigs, and I took a break from reading my Candace Bushnell novel to watch the sunset from my balcony.

Are you breathing again? Is your heartrate back to normal? Good.

I didn't do much today, because of the whole not sleeping thing. Spent a lot of time exploring the hotel, sitting by the pool, and reading, because I arrived way before check-in time and was way too beat to do anything real. I walked over to the resort's little private beach (I promise, this is the last shocker.) and stuck my toes in the sand and let the waves wash over my feet and you can not imagine how that felt. It's been so long since the last time I touched the ocean, it felt like coming home. Yes, it's the Mediterranean sea, not the Atlantic, but they're all connected and, for a few minutes, so was I. I've been in my room since then, deciding I didn't want to venture any further, because with how out of sync my inner clock is, the rest of me is also out of wack. Is that a real phrase?

The highlight of my day was the ride from the airport to Paradise Bay, from the southern to the northern end of the island, zig-zagging our way up. This place is fascinating in how much it feels like a point of confluence from the entire mediterranen shore around it. It's simultaneously humid and arid. Don't ask me how that works, but you're sticky from the moment you leave the airport building yet you're surrounded by dry shrubs, spindly trees and bushes, and heaps on heaps of cacti laden with fruit. The streets are so narrow, cars regularly have to stop and figure out who goes first maneuvering around each other without taking off the other's side mirrors or scraping along the stubby stone walls that line the roads. The architecture screams Maghrib and Middle East, yet in the centre of every major cluster of buildings you see the steeples of churches and the cuppulas of cathedrals and basilicas, while regularly passing crosses and madonna statues at the side of the road or on building corners. And the language! I doubt I'd be able to correctly pronounce a single street or town name. So many X's! What? All I could think that whole time was how I'd love to rent a car and drive around myself, probably stopping every 500m or so to marvel at everything and take a million pictures. OK, yes, you're right. Every 50m.

I was the only one with that disposition, though. I had to physically restrain myself from snapping at the trio of younger (than me, I'd say early twenties) Austrians behind me, who kept criticizing the island's infrastructure, throwing around not just words like impractical and illogical, but also terms along the lines of stupid and underdeveloped. What the hell, people? Your point of view is not universal - and, boy, am I grateful for that! I really want to escalate this into a full blown rant now, but I won't.

So, instead of endangering the population by zooming around myself (although I still really want to), I'll be spending the next few days exploring as much as I can by bus and boat.

And relaxing. Another first.

First impressions:

Taking my thing now.
Good night!


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