Archive for the ‘Malta’ Category

Baglioni in Maltese

October 4, 2010 Leave a comment

This blew my mind. Somebody posted on Facebook a recording of Italian singer/songwriter Claudio Baglioni (household name in Italy, check out his bio) singing a Maltese song L’Ahhar Bidwi F’Wied il-Ghasel (lit. translated as The Last Farmer in Honey Valley).  Enjoy:

For a well-known (in his country at least) singer to take the effort to learn the phonetics and pronunciation of such a different language just for the song, is remarkable.  It’s quite a leap, we’re not talking Italian singing in Spanish.

Compare it to the original version sung in Maltese, with the added benefit of some local landscape visuals:


Beautiful Machines

September 15, 2010 Leave a comment

I was casually surfing, I mean researching on the internet today, when I stumbled upon this photo in a site header (linking instead of pasting since it’s in Flash).  As is wont to happen to me I was immediately taken back to when I used to perform that task, marshalling in aircraft to their parking position.

I never actually handled an IL76 unfortunately (I did climb into one undergoing repairs in Libya though).  The awesomest aircraft I had to guide to a stop was one like this:

Antonov AN12 / Copyright Angara at

It may not look like much – old, what with the props and all.  But it was noisy, even through the ear defenders. And big. And coming towards me.  I sometimes used to have perverse thoughts on the lines of: what if the pilot didn’t see me? What if one of engines shot off it’s mounting and came towards me?

A turboprop is slow to accelerate, so I used to play these mind games that if something happened, I could duck out of the way, or between the landing gear. Or something.  It was a completely different story with one of these beauties, the private jets:

Bombardier Global Express / Copyright Luc Van Belleghem at

The high pitched whine of the turbine engines gives these aircraft a restless air.  They were built for speed, not for crawling around.  I felt as if the engineering feat was not putting them in the air, but keeping them in check, restrained and obeying the pilot’s commands on the ground.  Which is why, when marshalling one in, I felt like I had the barrel of a (quite large) cannon being slowly pointed towards me, with a shell that was crying and begging to be fired.

I was not scared, I would not have done the job otherwise.  Those thoughts were merely fleeting products of my imagination, which I would shrug off, and get back to there and then.

It was a job I performed with mixed emotions – on one hand I absolutely loved the idea of being close to these high tech machines, climbing on board $50 million VIP aircraft, or being involved in some tricky cargo loading operation.  On the other hand there were the odd timings, the associated running around and the whatever-the-weather requirement.  It could get quite cold in Malta when raining on a February pre-dawn morning.  The office job wouldn’t look so drab then.


Last Friday a friend asked me about Malta’s entry into the contest, how come we hadn’t sent a fat lady, and what was with us and fat ladies.  I went on to explain to her how the fat lady figures in our history.

I asked my wife who was our entry, and she said a name but it didn’t really register.  Later I heard that Germany won.

And that was exactly the ideal level of exposure I had this year to the Eurovision Song Contest.


Linking Malta to Dubai

October 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Last Wednesday we were invited by the Consulate of Malta to a reception at the Monarch to commemorate our Independence Day.  The holiday itself is in September, but who am I to bemoan free drinks? I look forward to these events because they always serve Maltese foods & sweets that you don’t find here in Dubai.

The event was tied in with the opening of an office in Dubai by the Malta Tourism Authority, who want to capitalise on the availability of daily flights by Emirates.  The MTA website is nice and functional, but I would have preferred more immediate access to imagery from Malta.  There is so much more to offer.

As happens in such events the Consul gave a speech about the deepening ties between the two countries, and lauded the investment by TECOM in Smart City.  Poses for the cameras, smiles, handshakes.  They even made a special cake for the occasion, in the shape of a traditional Maltese luzzu. It was a pretty big one, and was ceremoniously cut by a sword.  I didn’t check on this, but I assume the sword was traditional Emirati.

Image this as a cake

Imagine this as a cake (image via Wikepedia)

We got to meet other Maltese expats, and also the artist Stephanie Borg who is based in Oman but dropped by.  She was showcasing some beautiful work.

They were also presenting work by the Maltese photographer Kurt Arrigo, who I’m sure contributed to MTA at some point.

Hopefully the exercise will prove fruitful for the national tourist industry.  From our part I hope we bag a good deal for our upcoming holiday trip.