Day 4-13: Plenty of Places to Gozo, Part 1

Although I haven’t posted in a while, don’t worry, I’ve just been busy running all around Gozo and having a great time.

Gozo is much smaller than Malta and a lot greener as well. The landscape is littered with man-made farming terraces, steep hills and deep valleys. Along the coast, the water is the color of Navajo turquoise and steep rocky cliffs separate the center of the island from the Mediterranean.

After arriving to Gozo on the ferry from Malta, I was more than happy to unpack my stuff and begin meeting all the other students. Our first night was also the last night of the “festa” in a nearby town. Gozo and Malta are both extremely Roman Catholic and a different town has a festa every week. Festa’s are local celebrations that involve a long parade towards the church, a lot of drinking and hours upon hours of fireworks.

Rather than going day by day what I’ve done, I’m going to give a very brief overview, because frankly, I don’t remember everything I’ve done since I got to Gozo.

Our first day of fieldwork involved being paired with a partner, sent a random village and receiving an egg to trade. To clear up confusion, we received an egg and were instructed to trade that egg for a new item and continue trading up, with random strangers. Candace and I started our first day by missing the bus to Victoria and our transfer to Gharb (pronounced “Arb”). Looking quite disappointed, a man at the bus stop asked if we needed a ride and offered his taxi services for 8 euros a person. However, we were set on waiting for the next bus, which cost 2.60. But he could not be dismissed and after he lowered the price to 3 euros a person, we hopped in the car and were off to Gharb.

Once in Gharb, we could not find anyone to talk to, so we wandered the streets at 9 am, till we walked by a half open garage with an older couple and two Chihuahuas in it. We sat outside debating on whether we should walk in or not and after a little deliberation, we walked to the door and waved hello.

Phillip and Pauline invited us into their house after twenty minutes of discussion for a glass of homemade wine. Phillip is a retired carpenter, and him and his wife have lived in Australia and Toronto (a common pattern among Maltese). They were extremely kind and we spent a total of three hours at their home. Phillip gave us a tour of their home and rooftop and almost every part of their beautiful home had been hand built by Phillip. We discussed politics, religion, immigration and many other topics, but we could not unload the egg. When we departed, they sent us with two bananas and a plastic carton to carry the egg in, and Phillip drove us to the center of Gharb. We were very grateful that Phillip and Pauline welcomed us into their home, so we were sad to say goodbye.

Now in craft-shop area of Gharb, we wandered into a couple shops that would not trade with us, until we stopped in a little craft shop and met Penelope. From Wales and married to a French painter, she was extremely nice and wanted to help us, but everything in the shop was worth more than an egg. However, because her dog was with her, she agreed to trade a bracelet for our dog snack and two bananas. Finally rid of the egg, we headed to the next shop and got some popsicles to cool off from the 95-degree heat.

Everyone we talked to wanted to help us however much they could and we left the craft circle with a leather handmade bracelet (different from the first) and leather coin purse. Now entering San Lorenz, it was getting hot out and inching towards siesta time, meaning less people were on the street. While passing a paint shop, a man waved at us and we entered to talk to Teddy. He is a former futbol player and was raised in Gozo. He was very kind and told us about his life and life for him in Gozo. Specifically how people tend to be jealous towards more successful individuals. He sent us off with a broken pair of scissors, three wooden skewers and sandpaper, but refused to take any of our trade items.

Back on the street in the sweltering heat, a truck stopped and a man named Mike said it was too hot to be walking. He asked if we were going to the Azure Window in Dwejra and we said yes, although we had been wandering with no direction.

Mike is a scuba instructor from Gozo, and was happy to show us the best part of the Azure Window.

Well it’s about time for my siesta, so you’ll have to catch part two and possibly three when I post next!


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