Wednesday, January 02, 2019

The kindness of strangers, Maltese version...

You know that terrible sinking feeling you get when you are about to pay for something and realise that the debit card you thought was in your wallet... isn’t? Well, I had one of those moments on New Year’s Eve.

And then, there’s that moment of hope. “Perhaps I’ve left it in another jacket/other item of clothing etc.?”, only to find that hope extinguished.

And then Ros had an idea. “Could you have left it at the restaurant we had lunch in yesterday?”, she mused. “Unlikely,”, I thought, “but it’s worth a go.”. The only question was, what was the name of the restaurant? Trip Advisor turned out to be my friend, entering the suburb - Birgu - and “pizza”, brought up “Il Bacino”.

I gave them a ring, and asked if I had left my debit card there. “Yes, Mr Valladares, we found it. You’d left it in the pouch after paying your bill.”, was the reply. Note that I had not offered my name yet, but nonetheless, relief was the primary thought. “When are you open? I’ll come and collect it tomorrow, if that suits.”, I replied.

And so it was arranged. Yesterday morning, I caught a bus from near the hotel which took be on a crescent-shaped route away from the shoreline through a series of suburbs, past the main hospital at Mater Dei, a large Lidl and a bus wash, before connecting onto another bus to Birgu.

I arrived at the restaurant, and was greeted by a friendly waitress who advised that she had found the debit card, and that it was safe. Unfortunately, she couldn’t immediately find it. Cue a series of telephone calls before, eventually, it was located. I thanked her and left something for the staff as a sign of my gratitude, only to be offered a liquour. Alright, a bit early in the morning, but why not? The waitress called out to her colleague, “Make that a double!”.

And so I found myself discussing Maltese politics and the impact of Brexit on Malta - she was worried that it would be bad for Malta, even as the economy is currently doing well under the Labour Government. It was very civilised.

But, eventually, we had to part, her to her work, me to return to San Giljan. That turned out to be rather harder work than the journey out...

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