A Sunday morning can be quite different for the typical thirty-year-old and a completely different experience:
Some thirty year olds feel fulfilled and adult. In fact, they normally have a partner and a job. Usually, after having reached this stage in their lives, in order to complete the hypocrite picture of the bourgeois family on a Sunday morning, they force themselves to church even if they do not believe in it. Then, they go out to lunch.
Other thirty year olds certainly do not accept that time flies and many don’t accept that they cannot hold their booze as they used to, just five years earlier. On a Sunday morning, they get up in a daze, in the grip of hunger chemistry, they open the door of the refrigerator and find it empty. After ten minutes of shock, they go out to lunch.
The remaining thirty-year-olds are actually working. This must be hard – all their family and friends are out and about and they have to turn up for work!
One Sunday morning recently, I decided to go out for lunch and headed for the sunny and delightful town of Marsaxlokk. This charming village, in the south of the island of Malta, is one of my favourites. The harbour is beautiful and is dominated by a very pretty church. Usually, there is a market where you can go shopping at discounted prices. Finally, there are many bars and restaurants, where you can eat delicious fish or just have a drink.
Basically, it is Anthony and Wonderland.
Unfortunately, the eighth plague of Egypt has hit the village: the buses of tourists!
I would like to clarify immediately that I love tourists; we are all tourists and blessed are the tourists. Unfortunately, there are a couple of drawbacks which go hand in hand with mass tourism. I mention just two:
Dirt – I would start by saying that I cannot point the finger only at foreigners because often we do not give a good example. But it is a fact that such a concentration of people inevitably leads to a dirtier environment. Soft drink cans scattered everywhere will always remind me of how rich and ignorant the Western world is. But I’ll spare you the ecologist sermon!
The rudeness of the waiters – Here, too, as a consumer I have got a couple of complaints to make regarding Maltese customer care. Shops and telephone companies are a prime example. It seems that if you ask for jeans in your size from a shop in Sliema, it is as if you are asking them to get something from the top of their grandmother’s wardrobe, instead. It’s as though they have no time to ‘waste’ when they are helping you. Phone companies, on the other hand, have invented a new sport. You start playing as soon as you dial the number of the call centre. Then, the operators begin to pass the buck to one another as if I had asked them to solve the Einstein’s equation of relativity. And finally, to top it all – the waiters in Marsaxlokk! I must state that not everyone is rude and there are some waiters who deserve the Nobel prize for patience … but there are others, countless in fact, who vent all their anger and frustration on you. When I got close to one of them, I received a look that made me feel like a slave master from the sixteenth century who wanted to make him work ten hours more after a long shift. I waved. Silence. I waved again. Silence. I asked if there was a table for two. “Haven’t you realised that all tables have already been booked?”
… I was totally speechless!
So the moral of the story is this: Go to Marsaxlokk on a Sunday morning, do not throw cans on the ground, book in time if you want to eat but also remember to smile and tip the waiters. Maybe, after some time and many smiles (and tips), he will also learn how to say “hi” despite the fact that all the tables have already been reserved and he can’t really help you much.