Happy New Year!

Hope that everyone is having a good time. I finally got out of St. Julians today and went to Valetta. This is the capital of the country and was built all at once back in the 1400s I believe. The whole place is one big fort, quite interesting. They also have an extraordinary cathedral, although it doesn’t look it from the outside. I walked by it twice while looking for it! Anyway, I took some pictures and put them up. I’ll take more once Beth Gets here. The leg is sore, but I can walk around. My vacation can start!!! Everyone have fun, let’s make this year even better than the last…

Isaac

Great song… pg14 rating

I am still being amazed at the stuff buried on my iTunes collection. Because I listen to such a huge variety of music, things get buried. And since I listen to it in a more or less random order, some things take years to get played. I had two interesting things come on today. The first was a bootleg recording of Sarah McGlachlan doing “Angel” Yes, I know that it was played to death on the radio, but this one was a duet with her and Sinead O’Connor. Let me tell you their voices are perfect compliments, a wonderful performance. I always think that it’s a crime to keep things like that from the public, why don’t they record it and sell it? I’m sure that it would have sold a bunch back when it was at it’s height of popularity.

The second song is from NOFX and is called “Lori Meyers.” I’ve always had a great respect for any artist that can throw our preconceived ideas back at us and show how strange they really are. Of course the best ones also hint that we should have them anyway. I like honest art, music in particular. Hole’s first album has always been exhibit “A” for me in this regard (“When I was a teenage whore”, etc..). This song is a quick snapshot of the same kind of brutal honesty that I love.

Read more about it here.

The Italians have landed and Go Kelly!!!

I booked some tours today and asked about all of the Italians showing up at once. It was crazy last night, I got out of the internet cafe around midnight and the place was swarming with young Italians. Most of them looked to be between 16(!) and 20, and the clubs were thumping. Apparently it’s like this every new years, they come on the 29th and leave on the 2nd. I wonder what the appeal is, I’m sure 16 year olds can drink in Italy as well. It’s probably just a cheap way to get away from the parents and party. It’s kind of nice, I feel like I’m in an actual vacation spot, and Italian is a nice language to listen to, even if it is usually shouted…

My leg is better today, but still sore. Now it’s an aggravation to walk 10 blocks, not a test of my willpower. I’m keeping up with the motrin and resting it. I’m hoping to go to the capital tomorrow and start seeing some sights! In the meantime, I’ll get some Arabic done (I keep telling myself this, maybe I’ll actually do some) and enjoy the broadband at the cafe:-)

Oh yeah, congratulations to my step sister Kelly! She is expecting her first child and it’s not twins!!!! There was some worry since Patrick’s family has a long history of twins, but they dodged it this time:-) Here’s to a an easy pregnancy and trouble free delivery! With any luck, I’ll be able to come see you before the big day. Until then, you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers…

Isaac

Maltese casinos…

Well, casino at least, I’ve only been to one so far. Hopefully I’ll resist going to any other ones. The one I went to is supposed to be the largest, but it is incredibly small by American standards. They seem to be going for the “classy” feel, it is a pretty subdued atmosphere as compared to the casinos I’ve been in. They have machines scattered around the place, but they aren’t jam packed, I’ve actually had to look to find a machine that I would be interested in playing. I’ve always managed to find something to throw away my money on….:-) The table games are pretty limited, there’s no craps table, which I think is a mistake. It’s always the most exciting table out there, it always has the most energy and noise. I know, that’s really American, but it is fun. All they had was Roulette (Monte Carlo style, no double zero), blackjack, and dragonara poker. I usually camp out at the roulette table and have fun, but with the minimum bet at 5 Maltese Lira (around 15 bucks!), it was a bit too steep for me. I’m used to 50 cent chips… Still, it’s always fun to check these places out, and they managed to get money out of me…

Italians everywhere….

Up until tonight, I though that I might be the only person in my entire building. I came home from the internet cafe and was stunned to see hoards of people checking into the hotel. When I left to go to dinner, I had to slip in between 10 or 12 families (scuzi, scuzi) to get out. They’re everywhere, and they’re loud. In the apartments, they are playing loud music with their doors open, just in case I can’t hear it… Here in the internet cafe, they are arguing, and shouting to each other, I wonder if they’re hard of hearing? Anyway, the whole place has come to life, it’s filled with people. Makes it a bit more bustling, and with more energy. I think it’s a good thing, but it was a real quick turnaround…

Isaac

Felling better, and good news!

Now it’s just my lower leg. I wonder what the hell I did to it. No matter, as long as it gets better… Just checked my retirement funds, I’m almost at 19% return for the year! That’s one hell of a good investment. If it just keeps up like that, I’ll retire rich…early! Of course it won’t continue, and there have been some serious ups and downs this year, including one of my funds dropping over 6 bucks a share in one day, ouch! That might be expected with an individual stock, but it’s pretty unusual with a mutual fund… I’m heavily invested in foreign funds, almost a half of my portfolio is in foreign funds. Yeah, that’s a little risky, but damn, 19%! The other half is in a small cap fund. Gotta take chances if you want to make some money, of course I’m not crazy. Well, not that crazy, but 19% crazy:-)

Isaac

Progress….

Stayed in my room most of the day, stayed in bed really… Well, I can now walk the equivalent of 5 or 6 blocks with only slight discomfort. Not sure if that’s due to the pain killing aspects of the medicine or if I’m actually getting better. In either case, I consider it a good thing. Trying to stay positive, I even went back to the casino, now I’m only down 25 lira instead of 30:-) I’m hoping to be much improved by tomorrow morning and I’m hoping to get out of this f___ing town. It is rathewr nice, but I’ve seen as much of this part of the island as I need to, I wanna get out!!!

Isaac

Damn damn damn

Well, The good news is that my back feels better, but my right hip and knee feel worse. Yesterday, my whole lower back hurt and the pain traveled down my right leg. Now it’s my right leg.. I’ve been looking for some Motrin or something at the various connivence stores, but none of them even carry aspirin. I asked someone today where I could get some and he said there was a druggist around the corner, but they were probably closed, it being one o’clock and all.. I asked when they would be open again and he told me 4 o’clock! What the hell kind of hours are those? Anyway, being in a contrary mood, I checked them out and they were open Got some European equivalent of Motrin and promptly took 600mg of it…

I think the Maltese have inherited the British food sensibilities. A couple of places offer a breakfast fry, sausages, fried wonder bread, baked beans(!?), fried pudding and an egg or two. Today, I got my first pizza. While I was waiting for it to cool, a waiter came by and asked if I wanted any ketchup for my pizza. What the hell? I have to say, so far my impression of Maltese food is not too good. The lasagna I’ve gotten from two different places is really bland, the pizza I had today was not very good, and the price of the chinese food is crazy. They charged me almost 3 bucks for white rice! I paid it cause I was desperate, but I’ll be looking for some other place tonight.

SIGH, good thing I came to Malta to sit around my room and an internet cafe… I’m really hoping that a regimen of rest and anti-inflamatories will cure me so that I can enjoy myself a little. 3 days of that ought to do it, don’t you think?

Isaac

Still not 100%

I’ve been hobbling around today, mostly from my place to the internet cafe and back. It does seem to be getting better, but it still hurts. I’ll watch some Battlestar Gallactica and do some Arabic homework. Tomorrow will be my first time out of the St. Jullian’s area. I want to get a good feel for the bus service and go take some pictures! Here’s hoping for a healthy gait tomorrow.

Isaac

gahhh!

Just took a look at my accounts, I was charged $8 for withdrawing 200 Maltese Lira at an ATM yesterday. That’s not actually what I’m mad about. I got an exchange rate of around $3 and change per Lira, the exchange booths are charging $4 per lira! Just goes to show that you need to do some research before using services like that…

Isaac