Monday, February 18, 2008

Buses and Balconies

There are two things that really stand out in Malta. The buses and the wooden balconies. First, the buses are a hoot. They are super old and most of them are living biological experiments! They used to be different colors to symbolize the route they were driving. I think as time went on, some of them went to bus heaven and what is left is what is driven. The streets are herrendously filled with potholes and there are no shocks left whatsoever on the bus. You get a carnival ride and a bus ride for the price of one.

As far as being on time, dont count on it. They dont always stop at every stop and sometimes they spend longer at one than the next. The fare is 47 cents for a trip (1.16 if you are crossing the island) and you pay as you step on the bus. Needless to say, it doesnt take long before you have amassed a large collection of 1 and 2 cent coins as change. The bus driver is also your cashier and when he is finished giving the last of the change, then he can drive.

One day we waited over an hour for a bus. It came by once (about 15 minutes late) but wouldnt stop because he said he was full. So then we waited for the next which should have been within a half hour but because you cant count on it, it was more like 45 minutes. After all that, I would have paid 5 euro just to get on and go somewhere!

As for the balconies, almost every home (i.e 2 story apartment) has one. Why they are made of wood and enclosed is beyond me. They arent really wide enough to have any furniture out there. Some are painted, some arent, some have peeling paint, some dont. There is a writeup I found online about it but my guidebook didnt seem to share any info, so take it for what it is worth.

Regardless of the reason, it certainly is a unique architectural design and even in its rundown state, is eyecatching.


Maryann said...

Thanks for the photos, Susan. I love the buses :)

Gil said...

Great photos. Maybe, they made rooms a bit bigger by enclosing the balconies.