If you’re new to Bus Bingo, you’ll find the rules here. If not, join me as we head off on an adventure to our latest mystery destination.
So, which bus will appear first at Bombi today? Will we be heading to the beautiful beaches of the North, or a quaint fishing village in the South? Will we spend our afternoon wandering around a medieval walled city, or a tourist trap filled with beer and shit shops? The tension was palpable.
After an anxious 30 second wait at the bus stop, our steed appeared over the horizon. Our fate was sealed, we were going to… Mater Dei.
You Can’t Win ‘Em All
There was always the risk that the first bus to appear would be going to Mater Dei, a risk that we were extremely conscious of when we created the rules of this unforgiving game. But, rules are rules, so we got on the bus and resigned ourselves to the fact that we would be having lunch in a hospital. For no reason.
I have actually never been inside Mater Dei, so I was curious as to what this relatively new structure would look like, but I didn’t want it to happen like this. I’d rather have been involved in a minor traffic incident and actually need medical attention than use my very little free time in such glorious weather to satisfy my minor curiosity about a building full of sick people.
Saying that, upon walking into the reception area, I was very pleasantly surprised. I’ve never had any treatment here, so I can’t comment on that, but as far as hospitals go on a shallow level, I really quite like it. The entrance area is spacious with a high, domed roof, and the walls have Maltese balconies incorporated into the design, which I thought was a nice touch.
The shop in the centre is adorned with floor to ceiling adverts for cosmetics, the glamour of which may seem out of place in a building where not only does everyone look like shit, but they’re supposed to look like shit. However, it makes the place feel like an airport duty free, something that inexplicably adds a feeling of cleanliness and modernity to the first place you would want to be clean and modern.
Visiting Hours Carnage
As always, I was hungry, so we headed to the canteen. Turns out lunch time is also visiting hours at the hospital, so there were zimmer frames at dawn over who was next in line, but we eventually got served and found a table to sit at.
Two things I noticed about the canteen at Mater Dei:
- They sell a lot of jelly. I haven’t seen so much jelly since I last went to a kids birthday party in the 80s. Just shelves and shelves of the stuff. I’m assuming this is because they have a lot of customers with no functioning digestive system or teeth?
- Considering this is a medical facility, the type of food they have on offer is atrocious. Pies, biscuits, cakes, crisps, chocolate, sugary drinks. It’s a good job you’re in a hospital when you get stuck into this shit because you will inevitably collapse from angina, and it’s just a short trip in the lift to the nearest triple heart bypass surgeon. Handy!
I had a pretty average cup of tea in a styrofoam cup and some jelly, and my adventure partner had an average cup of coffee and a protein bar (the only remotely healthy thing he could find). It was okay, but again, this is a hospital canteen, so our expectations weren’t Michelin-star high.
For the first time since arriving, I had a proper look at the people sitting around us with their IV drips and wheelchairs, blood clots and liver spots, comfortable shoes and pained yet smiling faces, and suddenly felt like a total asshole. I was here essentially by choice and complaining about carbs. These guys would much rather be on a sandy beach in the North or a quaint fishing village in the South I’m sure, as would the incredibly hardworking staff at the hospital. Keep being brave and resilient, you are all better people than I will ever be.
In conclusion, Mater Dei is not so bad at all, and I would be more than happy to rock up here after a minor traffic incident, or even a major one. Just maybe add some vitamins to your canteen offerings or you’re gonna run out of beds.
- Pack some blood thinner.
- Prepare a complex cover story in case anyone asks why you’re there.
- Take advantage of the good selection of mascara in the convenience store.