Tuesday, January 26, 2010
A Sense of the Other
If Sicily is, as D.H. Lawrence once wrote, an island on the brink - "one hop and you're out of Europe" - then Malta's so close to the edge you barely have room for a sidestep. There are cars on the island that are older than me: British-built and immaculately preserved, like those 1950s Buicks you see in Cuba. A queue of people speak in a language that sounds like a minor dialect of Arabic and the bus comes with a Liverpool FC pennant in the window and the name of the driver's favourite saint daubed in red paint, just as in Goa. Only the backdrop of the bay is classically Mediterranean: fishing boats and Italian restaurants in the squiggle of pastel-coloured Baroque.