Where I’m from – Lowlands Country- and where I lived a considerable amount of my adult life – London- it rains a lot, hence these regions are green and lush. I think that’s why I’m particularly fond of arid land, ´cause it’s so different from what I’m used to. The Dutch Caribbean Island where my mum is from is a dramatically dry piece of land. So is most of Egypt, which includes my beloved arid and dramatic Sinai.
After a couple of years of challenging meteorological circumstances in the UK – insane wetness and a seven-month-long winter- I’m now residing in a place with for me ideal weather conditions (although I still have to experience the Maltese winter and the heat at the height of summer). The sun is out most times of the year and rain is a far more special occurrence. The downside of that is, that this island-state is relatively dusty and when it does rain, it tends to do so in a rather dramatic way: Rain often means proper downpours with windiness, thunder and lighting and if the heavens really go mental the lower parts of the island tend to flood. No half measures here. No drizzles that last all day, if not all week and make one´s surrounding a rather grey affair. No, no, no, no, no. Rain throws a tantrum and when it’s done, it’ll be sunny again as if nothing dramatic has happened. It seems to rain more in the winter months. I am to find out how wet it actually gets, but if a few months a year reserved for wetness means that it stays dry for the rest of the year, it’s all fine by me.
The absence of rain seems to be compensated by an increased presence of older people (no diss towards rain or the elderly intended). Malta has always been known as some sort of retiree paradise for especially British folk, but the iGaming sector, due to corporate benefits a rather active industry on this Rock, has attracted a younger and more international crowd. However, wandering the streets of my locality I see far more elderly people on the streets, Maltese and foreigners a like, than I would see in London or Lowlands Country. A quick check of this Rock’s demographics doesn’t reveal a bigger elderly population than in any other European country. So what does this mean?
This could mean that:
It´s just my locality that has a higher proportion of elderly people that is out and about, as this area was and perhaps still is traditionally associated with expats and the Maltese upper classes. The elderly within these segments of society have more means to frolic about and make themselves visible.
Or: Maltese society is more family orientated and less individualistic, therefor the elderly are included more in family activity which, due to the climate is mostly taking place outdoors.
Or the climate in general makes people want to play outside more, the elderly included. Or, a variation of this, due to the climate people, the elderly included, want to see and be seen and that´s not going to happen when one hides in doors.
I’m all for inclusion and seeing how the elderly milk the joys of life in pleasant weather conditions could be an inspiration for how life could be in a few decades time. However, I want to take Dark Fairy funkiness into my middle ages and beyond. And although the elderly are out and about seemingly happy and healthy, old age in Malta still seems to be a rather dusty affair. It might take a bunch of funksters of all ages to bring the funk into the concept of old age on this island. The Rock would be so worth it.
top images: Times of Malta