I heard this story on my trip back home which incidentally turned out to be rather uneventful. An acquaintance of a friend of mine apparently got lost somewhere in Zejtun on changeover night. He walked into a bar to ask for directions and found the local “titotla” (let’s say Maltese equivalent of pub – but that’s really stretching it – I suspect it is a sarcastic play on the word teetotaller) full of the usual suspects. Men sipped away at their “grokk whisky” or tea in a glass that would stain NASA fabric. The TV blared away in a corner and it was obvious that a lava lamp would have attracted more attention. The man of the lost path, being a person who has now lived many years out of the island in the services of our Government, requested assistance as to how he could leave the village. The men insisted that before such information was imparted he should share a grokk with them. Still acquainted with the habits of such quarters, lost man proceeded to share a drink or two with the publicans (titotlieri?).
At some point he insisted on paying his share of the evening’s consumption and proceeded to withdraw a handful of gold-looking coins out of his pocket. It was at this stage that the whole entourage of regulars stood goggle-eyed and stared in amazement at the coinage that had just been produced out of lost man’s pocket. Wonder of wonders. None of them were aware of this set of coins. None of the assembled had any idea of the impending switch. Lost man was no longer the most lost among them. He had suddenly become the first among equals armed with a knowledge that surpassed any idea of the few corners that should be turned to exit Zejtun.
“Dawk x’inhuma?” was the query and lost man could only be baffled that in such a small country there were still pockets of resistance to the tide of information, to the adverts and billboards of NECC and to the oncoming wave of euro money.
Incredible but true.