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The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back…

Gozo Travel Blog

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Or rather, "The straw bus driver that broke the camel's Sarah's back temper…

Well, let me start by telling you that in Malta, the buses have something of an iconic status. They're all the old Leylands and stuff from the 50's, 60's and 70's that have been restored to mint condition. The drivers usually own the bus, and they get a designated route and schedule to follow. They're really cute, and are usually full of religious pictures. The buses in Malta have been ok, except that the drivers are always grumpy, and they drive like homicidal maniacs. But I can handle that. The buses in Gozo however, is where the story starts…

I've whinged before about their lack of schedule. It's terrible, but manageable. I mean, if you have to wait an hour or 2 for a bus, nothing you can do. The island is small, but not so small that you can walk everywhere. So, if you want to get around you just have to wait for the bus. You'd thing that they'd put seats at the bus terminal, since there's so many people waiting around, but I was resolved to sit in the gutter each day and write in my journal while I waited.

The last few days, the buses have been worse than the usual crappy standard of service. There was the bus driver who tried to take off while I was still hanging out the door (yes, he knew I was there, but apparently he was in a hurry…) Then there was the time when after dropping half the passengers at the terminal, decided that he wanted to park somewhere else, so took off again with people hanging inside and outside the door. The poor old people that were on the bus went flying, lucky they didn't fall out the door… I could keep whining for hours, but I'll get to the point.

The stupid asshole driver of the 25 bus this morning from Rabat to Mgarr. UGH!!! This bus runs constantly. It's the only bus that ever runs on time because it connects with the ferry service from Cirkewwa, Malta. I think that it's supposed to come every 20 minutes or so. So, after waiting about half an hour, we were finally boarding the bus. I've been travelling with my pack for 3 weeks, and the only trouble I've had is drivers being concerned about the pack damaging their seats, which is understandable, bus this morning the driver was something else. We climbed on and instead offering to help with our heavy bags, straight away the bastard started abusing us and yelling at us, I don't even know what about. Eventually when he shut up for long enough for em to buy our tickets he decided that we should pay double because our bags are big. Now, in saying this keep in mind that the bags were not on the seats, they were on the floor in front of us. The bus was not full, including us there were 10 passengers on a 45 seat bus. I'm not an unreasonable person, but I felt like he was being ridiculous. So I told him so. He got angry, I got angry. He got angrier, and I lost it at him. I was so convinced that we were gonna get chucked off the bus, but he was just being really ridiculous, and rude, and unfair. Like I said, I'm not unreasonable, but he couldn't provide me any explanation as to why we should pay so much extra for nothing. And why this was the first time there had been an additional charge. I didn't ask him to carry my bag. I didn't take up and extra seat. There was absolutely no rationale at all. Eventually I gave in and paid the extra money, but man, Assocjazzjoni Trasport Pubbliku are gonna hear about it…

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

xox

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What a chatterbox. I've only been away 3 weeks and I'm already on my fourth blog. What a geek!

So, more incredible things to share, more amazing sights. I'll try not to drain you with the history lessons too much more, but it's hard because the history of Malta makes it what it is today. Everything has a story, and it's usually a fascinating one. So, I've been doing more of the sightseeing stuff, really trying to understand the history. Malta's history goes back 7000 years, and we have some remarkable sights, like the temples I was talking about last week. Some of the temple ruins predate things like the Acropolis in Greece, and the Pyramids of Egypt by thousands of years, Malta is home to the oldest freestanding structures in the world. Not bad for a few tiny islands, huh? I've been to see the National Museum of Archaeology, and the National War Museum to brush up on history a bit. Ugh, the girl at the Museum of Archaeology was such a rude mole, I was so mad that as soon as I got home I wrote an email to Heritage Malta, they oversee all of the historical sights. Got a response back with a written apology, and they advised that the incident had been addressed with her. Ugh she made me mad, she was so patronising (one of my most hated qualities in people!) Anyway, I really need to move on with my life…

This week has been fab. Saw the Hagar Qim (adge-aar-eem according to LP, now say it with a Maltese accent!) and Mnajdra temple ruins, absolutely fascinating! I mean, how did they move a 20 tonne rock that far? Unfortunately nobody knows, and they might never know. And there was a huge festa in Valletta last Saturday night. In a country where the population is only about 400,000, they think that over 100,000 people came to the festa. The city was packed with people, music, food, drink, and more music. Watched some traditional Maltese dancing and stuff, and checked out some other bands that were playing around the place. Eventually got to bed at around 3am, in a city where the streets are usually deserted by 8pm.

The next morning we were off again, to another of the Maltese Islands, Gozo. An hour bus ride gets you from the bottom of Malta right to the top, and from there it's only 25 minutes on the ferry. Everything is real close together, looks almost as though you could swim from one to the other. In Gozo we're staying in Victoria, AKA Rabat, the central city. The guesthouse we're staying in is beautiful, with arched doorways and sandstone (or is it limestone?!?) walls, and plants everywhere. I miss my plants but I'm sure Kristi is taking good care of them…

Ma's friend Pia has come to join us for a week (she's German but lives in Italy), we picked her up from the airport on Saturday. Arriving at the airport, it was hard to believe that it was only 12 days earlier that we were there, feels like months ago already… Pia is a blast, she's hilarious, see below for further details of her antics…

So, Gozo… It's much quieter here, not so many people around… Went to see some more ruins, Ggantija on Xaghra which are the oldest in the world. I know, I know, I've said it all before, but absolutely fascinating… Then we went to see Xerri's Grotto, which was like a miniature version of the Subterranean River System we saw in Palawan. Only without the river. The old lady that took us around there was so cute, with her Stalactites and Stalagmites! Next day we went to the beach in Marsalforn and Qbajjar. We had intended on going around and doing more touristy stuff, but ended up just laying on the beach the whole day, and followed that with beer, then dinner, then wine, then bed! Yep, you heard right, beer… I'm coming good on the challenge to learn how to drink beer!!! Been drinking a local beer, Cisk, almost every day, and it still tastes like shit but it's getting easier…

Went to The Citadella on Wednesday, it's a mini fortress with a cathedral museum, museum of archaeology, museum of folklore, museum of science and history, the old prison, an amazing church and the token rip-off tourist shops. So yeah, more sightseeing, and more history that I won't bore you with.

Thursday we got the bus out to Dwejra bay, the most beautiful coastal spot on the island. But after waiting for the very inconsistent bus for about an hour, by the time we got there we could only stay for an hour before we had to get the last bus back. Ugh. Stupid Gozo buses. They run as they please, and everybody seems fine with that. Everyone except us that is… Ugh!

Friday, we wanted to go and see Mdina, which is on the mainland. So, in our minds it made sense to Get the ferry across while Pia was still with us. 6 buses and 2 ferries later we were there and back. And did I mention how reliable the Gozo buses are? It took us 4 hours to get from our house to Mdina. I didn't look at the clocks on the way home in fear that it would take us 4 hours to get back too. The ferry ride is only 25 mins or so… I'm over sitting on buses(and sitting in gutters waiting for buses) already. But Mdina was beautiful. In ancient times it was the capital of Malta, and in true Maltese style it's another fortress city. There's a tiny little chapel there, St Agatha's Chapel, as well as a massive Cathedral. St Agatha's story is brutal. Skip to the next paragraph if you have a weak stomach! She ran away from Sicily to escape the advances of a man, and went into hiding in Malta. When she eventually returned to Sicily, she was captured and tortured, and her breasts were cut off with shears before she was burned at the stake. Man we're lucky to be born into the times that we live in. Sorry, I promise, no more gory stories. But there is a lot of artwork depicting the scene, and it's absolutely repulsive to think what the poor girl went through.

On a lighter note,

Random things that Pia has done in the last week…

1. When we arrived at Gozo, we were absolutely starving cos it was 3:45pm and we hadn't had lunch. Pia was so hungry, that she was eating the toothpaste straight out of the tube!!! I was killing myself laughing.

2. The toothpaste was washed down with a blackcurrant soother.

3. The next day she was eating parmesan cheese straight from the bowl while we were waiting for our pasta to be served.

4. We were eating these Maltese biscotti thingys, and she thought it would be a good idea to dip them in the fine local wine that we were drinking.

5. She stole a roll of toilet paper from our local restaurant at dinner cos we couldn't be bothered asking the landlords for some when we got home.

6. I love the phrase she translated from a German one she knows… "Men are like toilets" that was all I needed to hear, but the rest of it goes "They're either occupied or they're full of shit!"

So, that's it for now. It's Friday night and I'm about to go to bed, although I won't post this til tomorrow when I go back to Valletta.

So, stay tuned for the next episode, until then still love you all, miss you all.

Sahha.

Seh.

xox

radarasu says:
Great blog about Malta. I went a couple of summers ago and it was awesome. I wish I had known about this place while I was in college. I would have gone there to teach English or something. Definitely a place to go if you like history but like you said, I won't bore you with that.

So did you get see the catacombs in Mdina? It was closed when I went.
Posted on: Nov 12, 2007
 

Or rather, "The straw bus driver that broke the camel's Sarah's back temper…

Well, let me start by telling you that in Malta, the buses have something of an iconic status. They're all the old Leylands and stuff from the 50's, 60's and 70's that have been restored to mint condition. The drivers usually own the bus, and they get a designated route and schedule to follow. They're really cute, and are usually full of religious pictures. The buses in Malta have been ok, except that the drivers are always grumpy, and they drive like homicidal maniacs. But I can handle that. The buses in Gozo however, is where the story starts…

I've whinged before about their lack of schedule. It's terrible, but manageable. I mean, if you have to wait an hour or 2 for a bus, nothing you can do. The island is small, but not so small that you can walk everywhere. So, if you want to get around you just have to wait for the bus. You'd thing that they'd put seats at the bus terminal, since there's so many people waiting around, but I was resolved to sit in the gutter each day and write in my journal while I waited.

The last few days, the buses have been worse than the usual crappy standard of service. There was the bus driver who tried to take off while I was still hanging out the door (yes, he knew I was there, but apparently he was in a hurry…) Then there was the time when after dropping half the passengers at the terminal, decided that he wanted to park somewhere else, so took off again with people hanging inside and outside the door. The poor old people that were on the bus went flying, lucky they didn't fall out the door… I could keep whining for hours, but I'll get to the point.

The stupid asshole driver of the 25 bus this morning from Rabat to Mgarr. UGH!!! This bus runs constantly. It's the only bus that ever runs on time because it connects with the ferry service from Cirkewwa, Malta. I think that it's supposed to come every 20 minutes or so. So, after waiting about half an hour, we were finally boarding the bus. I've been travelling with my pack for 3 weeks, and the only trouble I've had is drivers being concerned about the pack damaging their seats, which is understandable, bus this morning the driver was something else. We climbed on and instead offering to help with our heavy bags, straight away the bastard started abusing us and yelling at us, I don't even know what about. Eventually when he shut up for long enough for em to buy our tickets he decided that we should pay double because our bags are big. Now, in saying this keep in mind that the bags were not on the seats, they were on the floor in front of us. The bus was not full, including us there were 10 passengers on a 45 seat bus. I'm not an unreasonable person, but I felt like he was being ridiculous. So I told him so. He got angry, I got angry. He got angrier, and I lost it at him. I was so convinced that we were gonna get chucked off the bus, but he was just being really ridiculous, and rude, and unfair. Like I said, I'm not unreasonable, but he couldn't provide me any explanation as to why we should pay so much extra for nothing. And why this was the first time there had been an additional charge. I didn't ask him to carry my bag. I didn't take up and extra seat. There was absolutely no rationale at all. Eventually I gave in and paid the extra money, but man, Assocjazzjoni Trasport Pubbliku are gonna hear about it…

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

xox

Gozo
photo by: aotw