The question of Paceville’s safety depends on who you talk to. Paceville is Malta’s big entertainment center, mostly for people under 30.
It’s a neighborhood where you’ll find the cinema and clubs, bars and bowling, lots of shopping and lots of drinking. At any given point-even on weekdays-you’ll find lots and lots of people, many who are definitely under the drinking age dressed in tightest and skimpiest clothes on the island. (And this includes the guys.)
Most problems that occur in Paceville are theft and pick-pocketing. But there’s a lot of that. One night, my daughter’s camera was lifted out of her bag without her even realizing anything. The night before, her friend’s camera was silently stolen from him. Both events occurred in a club called Havanna-which may be one place you’ll want to avoid.
But there are other, more serious events. Foreigners have been beaten by gangs. There is the usual drunken brawl between men over women-or vice verse. Sometimes club bouncers are too aggressive and throw and injure a vociferous party-goer in the street. Other times, the bouncers are too busy checking out the scene to notice real trouble brewing.
There’s no way to keep young people away from Paceveille-the music, the dancing, the partying. But here’s some advice on how to come back safely from Paceville with your wallet and good memories.
-Don’t bring any valuable documents, such as passports or visas to Paceville. However, do keep some form of Identification on you.
– Keep your wallet separate from you cell (mobile phone), so that if one is stolen, you still have the other.
-Wear a bag that you can keep zipped in front of you-such as a shoulder bag that you wear across both shoulders.
-If someone tries to steal something from you, let them take it rather than risk getting injured-or worse.
-Never go alone to Paceville. This counts for men as well as women. Have a plan for finding each other if you get separated.
– Tell your flat or roommates where you’re going and when you should be back. Instruct them to notify someone if you are significantly past the time you believed you should be home.
-If you go off with someone you meet at Paceville, call and tell someone the name of the person and how you can be reached-your or the person’s cell or mobile phone.
– If you do get lost and it’s late, plan on springing for a taxi. Think about this before the evening starts. The buses are notoriously unreliable and scarce in Malta, especially at night.
A Sober View of Paceville by Andrea Gauci Attard for the Malta Sunday Circle (August, 2010)
Ilene Springer lives and teaches English in Malta. She is author of An-American-in-Malta.com.