Monday, August 27, 2007


My pre-holiday post had it right - in a way.

Some of the oldest megalithic structures on the planet and some
of the swankiest yachts owned by some of the richest people too;
cheek by jowl with peasants who sell prickley pear fruit
by the dusty wayside.

Right on the water's edge on the Vittoriosa side of
Valleta's Grand Harbour was a fascinating place to stay (and swim).
This is not a holiday blog so suffice it to record one
incident of contrasts. USS Learsarge an American amphibious warship
stacked with helicopters, came into harbour looking
grey and full of foreboding on The Feastday of the Assumption.
At Mass that night in the Church of St Lawrence some of
the warship's Caribbean crew and US embassy staff made up an
impromtu choir singing mainly soul music hymns that had
not a few local Maltese ladies in tears. They (the US choir) were really
good to listen to and sing with. Later when an
ancient but colourful old water taxi took the 5 of us for
an unscheduled detour to look at the ship, what warships are
really about was illustrated by our being carefully
surveilled thoughout, by a beefy looking armed US Marine
who only lowered his guard when our tiny craft moved onto
the seaplane port.

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