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Sunday, 30 December 2012

In Malta

The moon is just past full and orange over Malta as I write this . The sun sets very quickly here and the air cools down too fast for my liking. I was last here almost exactly one year ago. I left in December and I am returning in December. A type of symmetry surrounds this visit, and I am meeting new friends as well as old ones. This time, I hope to see where St. Paul was actually shipwrecked, but the Maltese person who is my host has never been there himself, so we shall see.

When I lived in Malta for a short few months last year (how time flies), I did not see all the great historical sites, although I was fortunate to see many. One of the highlights from last year was the underground cemetery of the Capuchins in Floriana. Only a few times a year do they have open day, and I was there on one of those days. The museum holds treasures from the time of the ancient Maltese people to the present day. The priest who gave the tour last year was an expert in both local and European history. What a treat! The churches in Malta are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. And, as I have a special love for St. John the Baptist, I can hardly wait to revisit the Co-Cathedral in Valletta.

The great masterpiece of Caravaggio, the beheading of John the Baptist is there, as well as one of Caravaggio’s St. Jeromes. Last year, I was here in the autumn and throughout Advent. So, I have missed Christmas again in Malta, but, perhaps next year. I had a great Christmas in London, which is a city I love, even though it has changed so much since I lived there in the 1980s. However, I feel strangely a home in London, whereas Malta is a foreign country despite the Western places, like shops and restaurants. One noticeable change is that inflation has horribly hit the stores and prices of things.

Real Estate is up as well from last year. Another noticeable thing here in Malta, and one may question this, is the feminization of the younger men. I was out latish with a friend and we saw many, many groups of drunken young men in the St. Julian's area. The styles of clothing for men under a certain age are gangsta plus lots of jewellery. It is not stylish and not British, but then Malta is not British any more. One can go all day and not hear English spoken. God makes new doughnuts everyday.