Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Malta: Country-sized Summer Resort

A couple of weeks after Italy I met up with another Australian friend
for a week in Malta. Malta is also a comically small nation, made up of
a couple of Mediterranean islands. To borrow my friend's description it
seemed more like a tourist resort than a country. Unexpectedly a large
contigent of the visitors we met were students from Eastern Europe who
had come to Malta to take English lessons and have a summer party, not
necessarily in that order. A girl from Slovakia said to me, "I am here
for a holiday. For my parents I say that I am here to learn English."

Malta has the oldest human-built stone structures on the planet, 1000
years older than Stonehenge or the pyramids. We spent several hours
getting to the oldest of them all, on the island of Gozo (home to Gozo
journalists), and found that their age was really the only significant
thing about them. They were simply piles of variously shaped rocks,
making a crude shelter of some sort. Those stone-age people learnt a lot
about how to build to impress by the time they got around to making the

No comments: