Thursday, September 29, 2005

New House

We have a new apartment. It is sweet. That's the short version of the last week and a half. We is as follows:

Me - Your long haired narrator who likes mountains, winter, and wide open spaces. Currently wondering what he is doing in a real job in Europe's flattest, warmest, and most crowded country.

Cyrus - World famous in Finland. A half-Spanish half-Portugese former rockstar with the tatoos, piercings, and liver problems to prove it.

Aaron - A Gibraltarian (field) hockey star who is alleged to work in our Finance Department (he showed up a couple days ago but hasn't done much yet).

The apartment is a spacious first floor 3.5 bedroom on the seafront. It has great water pressure and views. But I'm done with work. Stockholm have just produced a their crowning piece of idiocy for the day and I'm refusing to deal with them until they decide which one of them is getting to use their communal braincell. It's fifteen minutes before the end of the shift, but I'm logging out before I give them both barrels (possibly literally, since some people from the office are going to Sweden on Friday, and I might buy a shotgun and join them - Stockholm have been that bad today).

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sleep is for the weak

For some reason, I'm really tired today. Hehe, I love the way that sentence implies it's not my fault. To be honest, I know exactly what the reason is - I've been staying up far too late far too often. I wish I could blame work for this, but basically it's my own fault. Well, since I'm trying to shift blame, it's because many of my coworkers are cool people, so we hang out a lot.

I'm likely to complain and make fun of a lot of things when talking about Malta. That's just the way I work. I'm at my most creative when making fun of things (especially things I like). I'd like to say up front that Maltese people are great. They're friendly and have a good attitude to life.

Malta is a country where almost nobody can drive half as well as they think they do, where holidays and festivals are very important, even if many people don't actually know which one it is, and where the crime rate is the lowest in Europe but the law is held in low regard.

The company flat I am staying in at the moment is on the 4th floor of a seafront block of apartments. The road beneath us is a fairly major one - both for traffic and for passagiata (which is best translated as "wandering around to see and be seen"). It provides us with numerous people watching opportunities.

Now, I don't drive, but I'm fairly sure that overtaking on a busy two lane street, then jumping on the brakes to make a left turn (they drive on the left here, so left is easy) is not particularly talented. Nor is not jumping on the brakes before trying to take a tight corner. Actually, maybe the Maltese are good drivers - I haven't actually SEEN an accident yet (just heard a lot of screeching and sirens). They can't park to save their lives though. The British introduced the concept of parallel parking, but like many British things here, it's just slapped on top of an older layer. The execution is determinedly Mediteranean in most cases. Drive up to somewhere near the space, then reverse in a bit (usually in a straight line), then swing the steering wheel round and drive forward.

Malta has lots of important festivals and holidays, even if the guy in the DVD shop can't remember why exactly he has a day off tomorrow, he knows he's got one. I'm just going to leave everything else I brought up for another day, since I totally lost track of where I was going with this.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Stuff about Malta

Well, by the time I finish "work" tonight (we're ridiculously slow at
the moment) I'll have been living here for pretty much exactly a week.
Time to write some more stuff.

Living in Malta is pretty good. I'm slowly adapting to the climate,
the water (tap water is rather foul and water pressure is somewhat
variable), and the fact that one Lira is actually enough money to buy
two cans of drink (one can of banana juice and a can of coke) and a
chocolate bar.

The pace of life in Malta is a little slower than I'm used to. When I
was a teenager, I knew a small block of precooked noodles and stock
powder as "two minute noodles". During the ski season in Fernie I knew
it as "breakfast, lunch, and dinner". Here in Malta, they are "three
minute noodles".

Maybe it's just because they care more about food here and want to
infuse the noodles with more flavouring or something. Even the local
workman's cafe offers dishes like smoked salmon penne and the icecream
is divine (which is a little strange, since I doubt there's enough
grass on Malta to support even one cow). I still haven't tried rabbit
yet, so that's another thing to look forward to.

I have discovered why Mediterranian people tend to promenade - a much
slower and more deliberate action than just walking. If you try
walking in the Anglophone way then you get a sweaty back, almost no
matter how short the walk is. The Anglophone way is walking like
you're in a hurry to get where you are going, even if you aren't going
anywhere. That said, the concept of walking without having anywhere to
go is also fairly foriegn to us Saxons.


Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they
have to say something. - Plato

"I'd just like to say..." - Me

Saturday, September 10, 2005

More details

Well, I left granny at 9am and got the train up to London and the tube
to Brian and Chitra's. The train journey was fine - Southern England
is ocassionally scenic, but only in a rather pastoral way (which I am
not a fan of). Mostly I read a book and wondered why exactly I am
getting a real job.

I lugged my 50 kilos of luggage down to the tube and onto the transfer
bus from hatton cross to T4 since the tube doesn't go that far
anymore. My excess baggage was about twice the price of my flight
(thankfully the company will reimburse me\.

Uneventful flight - except for the announcements in Maltese. While it
sounds more like a language than it looks, I despair of being able to
learn more than "uhhhhh I speak English don't"

Arriving at 1am is not particularly good for anything, but I made it
through customs and immigration without any problems. Malta
international airport is pretty small (given that the whole country
has less land area than LAX* that is not surprising).

Met my boss and another new guy - Cyrus. We seem to get on pretty well
so we'll likely be looking for a house together (probably with a
couple other people) this month.

Malta is stinking hot a lot of the time and this email is taking days
to write so I'm just going to send it.

* = not verified by our fact checkers


Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they
have to say something. - Plato

"I'd just like to say..." - Me

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