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post #1 of 60 Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 3:04 am Thread Starter
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The Maltese chronicles.

The goodbye.
It was time to let go, the removals guys were anting up and down the stairs lugging boxes, the house was being emptied plain cardboard box by plain cardboard box and there were dozens of them, Jakob, the landlord had managed to pack forty years of home away in cardboard, the contents of each and every box inventoried with his neat handwriting on a white label. These boxes here belonged in the living room, these boxes contained the kitchen, other boxes held papers and carefully wrapped knick knack from the Study, boxes full of bedroom, a boxed hallway, and boxes labelled "books" "Aa" through "Ac," "Ac" through "B," "D" through "E," boxes and boxes of books.

I had managed to do fifty of the eighty things that I had needed to do before blowing Basel for good, problem is that there are always another twenty things on top of the eighty that I simply had not thought about. To bad, what wasn't squared away by now wasn't gonna get done and what had not found room on Iron Pig was staying in Basel.


I tried to find room for everything, pack, unpack, try a different way, pack again, unpack and start from the beginning, there was simply no way to fit everything on the pig that I wanted to keep together myself, so even after I had consigned almost everything I owned to the bin, I still had to lose more and with a heavy heart I parted with another load of belongings.
At the end of the day it's only stuff.


I was still trying to decode the Rubik's cube puzzle of packing my meagre belongings onto the bike when Jakob came by to say goodbye and wish me a good and safe journey. Jakob is past eighty and holds a Professors title and two doctorates simply for the heck of it. The best way to describe Jakob is to picture Dr.Nefarious, you know, the mad scientist from Despicable Me, Jakob comes complete with white lab coat, coke-bottle-bottom glasses and stooped gait, all that is missing are the black rubber gloves, but I am sure that he has a pair someplace.
He gave me his copy of Homer's "Odyssey" by way of a parting gift, a nice gesture that I really appreciated, but he probably would never be able to comprehend the profound irony of his gift.
I found Theresa (aka Mad Landlady) to say goodbye, just as she was getting ready to go out, she was wearing a fur coat that must have looked good on some boney model on some cat walk in Milan way back in the day, on her however it looked as if this little old lady was being eaten by a humongous tribble, she also wore a large brimmed black hat with two bright red cotton cherries in the hatband.
"Mr Slammer" she wailed, deep anguish in her eyes, "they are taking my things and putting them in boxes, why are they doing this? I don't understand, It's terrible, they are my things."
I simply did not know what to say, how do you explain that her home has been bought by a immobile investment company happy to have purchased this prime location in the centre of Basel and now really need to turn it into luxury apartments as soon as possible and that it's nothing personal, just business.
"I am going to the police now, this must stop immediately and I have written to the president, here, have a look"
She held three crumpled sheets of foolscap paper under my nose, written on a mechanical typewriter that had not seen a new ribbon for quite some time; the papers were full of random key-stokes, disjoined sentences and random words.
I realized that I was holding the swansong of a dying mind in my hands.
"The president will help me, won't he Mr Slammer?"
"I'm sure he will, I am leaving now and want to say goodbye"
"Yes, yes, goodbye, I'll tell you how it went this evening when you come home, it's terrible, all my things."
I watched her walk down the street and waited until she turned a corner, I fired up the pig and headed to the motorway for another roll of the dice in life's great game of chance, perhaps I'll get snake eyes this time.

Winter riding is a curious thing.
It is said that the three great emotions are a good dump, sheer terror and a orgasm, on a motorbike in the middle of winter you can get all three at once, your mind starts to run different scenarios on what can possibly go wrong, jump out at you and then kill or maim you most horribly.
Actually it's not quite true, I enjoy riding in winter, however I do find it quite demanding, there are just so many more things to look out for.
For instance!
I had calculated that I had a good six hours time to make the alpine transit before dark and the re-freezing of the run-off from melted ice, and although I had plenty of time I stepped up the gas, I raced past Luzern, past the lake and into the tunnel under the mighty Gotthard, a blinding white capped triangle of grey rock under a cerulean sky.


Past the Gotthard and the first of quite a few pit stops, fill the tin tank, empty the meat tank grab a coffee and a bit of warm. Slammer still till got a load of riding to do.

It was cold but nothing I can't easily handle, fog, on the other hand, I hate. Just past Milan in the Po valley it came, thick, viscous dense, cloying, nasty, grey, icy fog, the sun was going down and the pig was low on gas, clearly it was time to quit.
Thing was I couldn't see fuck, not even the side of the road, I took the next exit from the Autostrada and hoped that I would chance upon a town or something before I ran out of gas.
But with the sun down it went very cold very fast, Iron Pig was starting to get a build up of ice around the fairing and there was ice on my helmet and jacket, also I feared the road was starting to ice up to boot, every now and then a sheet of ice would slide off the windshield with a papery crinkle sound.
But I found a petrol station and filled up, also the pump attendant directed me to a hotel located not too far away.
The next morning the fog was still thick and the short run to the Autostrada took quite some time, Italian truck drivers on a time schedule don't give a hoot if a puny motorbike gets in the way, they probably would not even feel the bump anyway and they must have a built in radar to be able to drive safely that fast, I however couldn't see a thing and cowed right at the very edge of the tarmac, flinching every time a overtaking lorry whooshed by.
I needed to get out of this blasted fog, I ached to get out of this wretched fog, I so longed to get out of this icy, freezing fog.
Instead it became denser and denser, then I remembered a trick my father taught me, "When you are in trouble in dense fog/rain/snow/hail/alien invasion/acts of god, snick up behind a lorry and stay in it's wind shadow!" So I found myself a lorry with a 40ft container on the flat bed that was going my way and snuggled right up it's ass, then I thought that it may not be the wisest course of action to follow the advice of a man who had by self admission broken every bone in his body by way of various motorbike accidents, so I backed off until I could just make out the rear fog lamps, that kinda worked until the bugger turned off at a gas station and I found myself flying blind,


A few hours more of this knife edge riding and I could just about make out a area of grey that was starting to become lighter and lighter, was that the sun? Come on, put some welly in it, burn baby burn.

At last the fog dissipated and I reached Genova and the ferry to Palermo on Sicily. Actually I had arrived mid day and the ferry did not leave until eight in the evening, I have been to Genova quite a few times and I know it well, it's not a pretty place so I stayed near the ferry terminal, reading and dozing, kicking stones into the harbour and being generally bored out of my skull.
The ferry was nice enough, one of these jobbies that are half dedicated to lorry trailer and container transport and the other half for passengers, their cars and a motorbike.


I don't usually book ahead as a rule because I don't like having to ride under pressure, I'll book when I arrive, but I do know the prices and for 30 Euro plus I got me a cabin all for myself, a total of 150 Euros for me, the bike and a bunk, a price as good a it gets for a 22 hour cruise down the boot of Italy.

"Futility!"
My war cry echoed through the cavernous hold of the ferry as I disembarked into Palermo evening rush hour traffic, quite a steep learning curve if I may say so, most cars had a collection of random dents and smashed lights, and I soon realized, that traffic rules are more like guide lines and the road markings simply a waste of perfectly good paint, for most part the drivers, totally unaware that there may be other people on roads, carried on driving the way they had done since the days of the Romans, arguing with their spouses, clipping their kids around the ears, talking on the phone or eating, sometimes all at once, but Iron pig has a secret weapon, the loudest horn in the BMW arsenal and boy did I make use of it, my street cred rose exponentially when I flamed that bad boy off.


A first glimpse of Sicily, from the deck of the ferry it looked as if the Island was having a storm, but the closer the ship go to Palermo the clearer the skies became and a Mediterranean dusk brought in the night.
Little was I aware of the chewing I would get at the hands of Palermo traffic.


I made it through and out into the countryside and before long I found myself riding on empty roads into the night, however around an hour later, I could not put my finger on it but something did not feel right, so I stopped to consult the map and found out that I was going in the wrong direction and that there was no alternative but to return to Palermo for another mauling at the hands of Palermo traffic, this time it cost me a shattered mirror, knocked off by a careless driver who simply shrugged as I told him in no uncertain terms what I thought of his pedigree.
I rode past a hotel and decided it had been a long day and that it was time to quit and get beered up.
The next morning I settled the bill to a girl behind the reception desk, she was a petite creature, almost elven in her appearance and sporting a hairdo that I had last seen on Barbarella, she looked cold in the freezing 20°C plus morning air. "Are jew not a da kold-a een your moto-bik-ah?" her voice soothed.
"Eyehem so kold-a" she told me and put her dainty hands into my twin ham hocks with attached fingers, "fheeehl my handz-a, zey are zhoo kold-a, eye em like-a da mhaahrble ston, no?
I swooned and would gladly have stayed as her personal human bouncy castle all day long until the goats come home, but I had to get to the ferry at Pozzallo, so really, I needed to haul ass.

Once out of the gravitational pull of Palermo the trip to the next way-point of Catalania became a very nice ride indeed, the roads were up to standard and followed the landscape for most parts supported five to ten metes above a wilderness earth by concrete pillars, the sun was out, the landscape a green mountain high the sky was blue and I found myself whistling and singing in my helmet as the miles passed.
Sicily possesses an amazing landscape, a lot like a warm Scottish highlands, and literally throning above all in the distance, the mighty Etna, the top of the volcano blanketed with a cap of deep snow and with plumes of steam and yellow gas hazing the sky, the remaining signs of the recent eruption from last November.
All too soon volcanoes and mountains gave way to miles and miles of orange tree and olive tree monoculture and the other crop of Sicily, garbage, miles and miles of garbage lining the road as high as a man, thick and deep, picture the scene at the airport in the movie "the fifth element" it would seem that Sicilians simply don't care, but I think they do and that there is simply nothing that can be done, sad, really, really sad.

From another planet.
The harbour town of Pozzallo, on the south coast of Sicily has a strange, other worldly feel to it, a kind of dusty fronteer-y, wild-west-y kind of thing with wide empty spaces, apart from the town its self, it is a landscape seeded with ruined or run down buildings and jumbled stone blocks that at one time must have been a house or something. Huge cacti plants, with leaves that looked like spiky green toilet seats gave the impression of being in Mexico. I could almost hear Lola Beltran belting out Paloma Negra
But on every street dozens of African blacks glowered at me with either hostility or alcohol or drug induced indifference, the refugees from Africa, the ones that did not make it onto the news as statistics from another tragedy at sea.
They have braved, guns and desert and the Mediterranean, they have left their family and country for a better life and now find themselves washed up on the shore at the southern most part of a continent that has no use for them, it is a powder-keg and I fear that the match had been lit, soon violence will erupt, African style violence and Europe's south will burn.


Refugee boats, stacked like so much firewood on the dock at Pozzallo, dozens of them, I tried to get some more photos but the chain-link fence stopped me from getting closer and a angry guard shooed me away.
But looking at this picture again makes me wonder just how many boats slip away in the night from the shores of Africa that are never seen or heard from again.


I had some time to kill before the ferry left so I decided to carry on down the coastal road for a few Kilometres, just to see what is around the next corner, nothing much, just dust and garbage, every now and then I would come across groups of blacks, men women and children, sitting, or living, under grimy transparent plastic sheets that were held up by tree branches or supported on top of crumbing walls of yellow stone, a nearby midden of rotting shrimp shells among the garbage gave off a truly gut retching stench, is this a little bit of African reality here in Europe? I don't know, and to tell you the truth, I don't care, it's not my problem to solve so I did what we do in these cases, I turned my back and let them fade from my mind.

Malta
I walked into the office in full biker gear, I could have been from Mars for the stare I got, I introduced myself to the girl behind the desk and drew a blank, I made a joke about the weather and that it hopefully doesn't get much hotter in summer, blank. "take me to your leader" blank. "I start on Monday" Ah, a reaction. "I'll get somebody to talk to you" she said and got busy on the phone. A few minutes later another girl came and took me to a office and asked a few questions, she was not much older than my youngest daughter and had a Miley Cirus screensaver on the computer. Then we went for a "checking out of the location" however she started to annoy me with the Kindergarten speak and I was about to ask if there was a grownup that I could talk to but before that happened I realized that she is my boss or as they call it here, a team leader.
This Malta-gig could be more difficult than I expected.


My favorite place in Valletta, the saluting battery, the panorama of Valletta and the three cites is breath taking and yes they fire the cannon as the midday gun, it's quite a spectacle.


A nice day in Valletta
___
Now, two weeks into the job things are settling down, the job itself is a bit tedious, but much to my surprise Miley Cirus turned out to be a very competent team leader and as to the job? Well it is a roof over my head, food in my belly, Weizen in my mouth and the pig on the road.
Speaking of roads, the ones here on Malta are best described as 3D, Slammer is from Blackburn, Lancashire so holes are in my blood, but the Maltese ones are a real doozie and as a connoisseur of potholes they have me giving little squeals of delight as I dodge and weave and wobble my way along.
Of course it means that one kilometer on Malta equals 4.2 kilometers as measured anywhere else in the world.
I found a flat in St. Paul's bay and the procedure was a surprisingly painless one day job, here the streets are knee deep in hungry housing agents, for you who have rented in Switzerland or are currently jumping through the flaming hoops of renting in Switzerland the ease of renting here must seem like I pulled a Jedi mind trick.


St Paul's bay, the new Slammer pokey-hole.


Anybody up for a swim? I was

So that's all for now, 2014 has been around for almost a day and I'm ready for a new start on fantasy island.


The Pig under the mighty walls of Valletta.

Without men civilization would last untill the oil needs changing.
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post #2 of 60 Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 5:50 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Great reading! So much for our spring meet-up. Now I have to make plans to ride to Malta. I have a friend that lives part time on Malta at the other end of the spectrum..a high dollar condo. Something to look forward to...

Happy New Year, and good luck on Malta.

Wolfgang

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post #3 of 60 Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 7:27 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

What a great read....thank you. Oh and nice photos also.

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post #4 of 60 Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 7:38 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

I really enjoyed reading that. Best wishes for a great new year in your new location.

PS: I laughed at your Star Trek 'tribble' reference.

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post #5 of 60 Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 2:38 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Slammer,

As always your turn of phase & imagery are brilliant.

Happy New Year, and may it bring you everything you can wish for.

Best regards
Adam

Best regards
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post #6 of 60 Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 8:28 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Wonderful story & pictures. Perhaps a memoir is in your future. Thanks for posting.

Benny C. (Central Texas)
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post #7 of 60 Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 3:08 pm
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Nice pictures, great writing. Thanks for posting it.

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post #8 of 60 Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 3:45 pm
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Slammer,
Anxiously waiting for the next installment of your new adventure!

pm
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other than that about which you
are absolutely passionate . . .
Ride till you can't!

"Der Weg ist das Ziel"

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2014 The Dolomites of Italy, Alps of Switzerland & Austria and returning to Milan via the "Gold Coast" of the French Riveria.
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post #9 of 60 Old Jan 6th, 2014, 1:08 pm
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Hi Slammer,
Your writings always put a grin on my face and I'm happy to hear you are doing well. May whatever-gets-you-going be with you!

Have a nice day!
Paul
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post #10 of 60 Old Jan 15th, 2014, 2:11 pm
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Enjoyed the latest installment ... anxiously await the next chapter!

Chris

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post #11 of 60 Old Jan 21st, 2014, 1:34 pm Thread Starter
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

I needed a beer, no I really, really needed a beer, something over 5%, a beer and a single malt would do just dandy as this day had been my very own private view of hell.
Seven O'clock in the morning, we few Indians had gotten our assignment from our respective multitude of Chiefs….!
"Zit-face!" A young guy startled up, (I don't know the names yet) "cars and multimedia!"
"Blond, vacuum headed bimbo!" Half of the female crew looked up. "Animals and pets."
"Slammer!" He grinned at me, sitting in comfort in his black leather, high backed swivel-chair, stroking a white fluffy cat, "female undergarments!"

That meant that I would spend the next eight and a half hours scanning the realm of the online auction house for glitches in the undergarment matrix.
Now I know from contemporary pop-culture that vending machines selling used and unwashed girlie knickers are on every street corner and in the toilet of every Sushi-bar in Japan, right next to the condom vending machines, but I would never, ever have guessed that there is such a roaring trade in worn and unwashed wimmin's undergarments in Europe, at least in the part that I now find myself responsible for.
In fact, one month into the job and I tell you now that I could have gladly gone to my grave without knowing what I now know about the full spectrum of German sexual preferences.
And I have not known a sheltered life.
DTW's, (Damen Wäsche träger, Woman's (unwashed) undergarment wearers) after a half hour of screening the morning starts to get surreal, but they are not the worst, I really get grossed out by those who we simply call: "The Sniffers."
Go figure.
These buggers really make my skin crawl as I ikk and gag my way to the office watercooler.

As in every trade were you are in close contact with the great unwashed you really get to know your customers, here, Spammers, trolls, liars, fraudsters, cheaters, thieves, and downright organized criminals are the highway men and brigands and cut-throats and snake-oil salesmen of the 21st century, they constantly trawl the pages of the online auction house for prey, looking for chinks in the armor and finding on a daily basis new and inventive ways to rape and pillage and plunder.
I really have never held a high opinion of the human race and this job seems to confirm my somewhat jaded views.
Some of the adverts that scroll down on my screen are simply too ironic to be funny: "Weddingdress, worn only once" some range well into the moronic and the imbecilic, but the callousness of the person wanting to swap a family dog for, (and I quote) "something electronic" will haunt me for a long time.

The tedium of the job makes your thoughts wander and your minds-eye starts to paint a picture of the person behind the advert: "sugge krosse trenner" it sees a semi-literate fourth generation Turk looking for a cross-trainer from behind a computer screen in his room located in a monotonous sea of grey concrete high-rises somewhere in Berlin-Wedding…
…"Sugar-nose, Fluffy, our sweeeeety, sweet sweetsweet likkle doggy-woggy is looking for a new mummy and daddy, will you give him a warm place in front of your hearth.
For only 300 Euros you can give cutey sweety Fluffy-woofy your heart and Fluffy will give you his."
Text like these and a crudely Photoshopped picture of some dewy-eyed sick mutt padded out with little hearts and sparkles in a pink frame reveal a Romanian dog scam.
We do our very best to stop these S.O.B's in their tracks, but the sheer mass of adverts mean that some will inevitably get through.
Sorry about that!
However we do enjoy a high success rate of search and destroy for the really evil ones and especially those who's thoughts are way beyond evil, there where the human psyche dives into the cold, dark marrow-chilling realm of helter-skelter, a place where you and I do not want to be.
Sometimes it get's hard to stomach, especially for the younger crew in the 20 to 25 year age group, they have a high rate of attrition and come and go quite regularly, they came here to finance the party life on the streets of Paceville and Sliema, or to earn their living between semesters at collage and universities across Germany.
They come wide eyed and exited to be away from home for the first time and they leave with the ability to see beyond the onion-skin of civilization humans have veneered over the base, nasty psychotic predator monkey that we really are.
Not surprisingly there is an age gap between 25 and 45, above 45 the crew is composed of a certain type of person, each with a similar tale to tell.
Divorced and could no longer stomach the ghosts and sights and smells of familiar surroundings without loosing their minds, or men and women who have travelled a lot in their lives never finding stability or a place to finally call home, then the long term unemployed who are unable to find a job after reaching the big 50, some are throwbacks to the eighties and nineties of the last century and can longer function to the constraints in the expected norm of a politically correct world.
A former millionaire who lost everything on the stock market, or people who when asked what brought them to Malta, change the subject to the weather.
You know not to pry.
I would go so far to say that this company and others, like the online betting and the compare sites and money lenders are the French foreign legion of IT, they are a place to go when nobody else will have you.
..Any port in a storm.

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post #12 of 60 Old Jan 21st, 2014, 7:15 pm
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Ouch, maybe two beers.
Extent of multi lingual skills - " Two beers please, my friend will pay. "

Go for a ride on The Iron Pig and enjoy the sun.

Cheers

Jenna: Ocean Blue '06
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post #13 of 60 Old Jan 21st, 2014, 10:13 pm
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Talking Re: The Maltese chronicles.

LOL - You defintely got the short straw on that assignment. Maybe next time you'll get Kick Ass Sports Cars.


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post #14 of 60 Old Jan 22nd, 2014, 12:03 am Thread Starter
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gruivis View Post
LOL - You defintely got the short straw on that assignment. Maybe next time you'll get Kick Ass Sports Cars.
No such luck, for today, wimmins maternity bras, by tonight I will be seeing double.

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post #15 of 60 Old Jan 23rd, 2014, 8:35 pm
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slammer View Post
...wimmins maternity bras, by tonight I will be seeing double.


That there's FUNNY! I don't care who you are!

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post #16 of 60 Old Jan 24th, 2014, 8:25 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Hi Slammer, on which website can we see the result of your daily doses of blood, sweat and tears? Maybe we could open a subscription for offering you some beers...

Have a nice day!
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post #17 of 60 Old Feb 19th, 2014, 11:12 am Thread Starter
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

I am actually starting to get the occasional morsel of fun in my role of god of mod for the online auction house that I now find myself working for.
I'm turning into a lean, mean, fraudster killing machine.
Ancient hunting instincts kick in when we stalk our fraudster prey and It gets actually quite a lot of fun to hunt down and kill those who want to cheat others of their money, but as always there are two sides to the game, some of the buggers that I come across are simply full of chutzpah and place offers so over the top that it staggers belief that otherwise normal, rational thinking people can get stupid enough to actually go through with the "deal of a lifetime" and pay good money up front.
Tell me honestly.
You wouldn't give money to a stranger that you just met on the bus and who has offered you a Rolex for, let's say, 149.95€ with the promise to bring it round to your house later, you give him the cash and say: "see you at eight then!"
But some faulty wiring in our monkey brains lets people think it's fine to do it online, I think that I know what it is.
It's greed, simple greed, both on part of the fraudster and the cheated, people simply forget the basic rule…!
"If it's too good to be true, it is!"
And it's hard to believe with what kind of stuff they use to cheat with, from babies clothes to mega yachts, it's all there.
I'm running a personal vendetta against one fraudster well known for selling farm equipment, tractors, trailers, diggers, you name it, I hold a deep grudge against the S.O.B. because I missed a fraudulent bobcat, you know, one of these one man digger thingies and as a consequence got my ass dragged over the coals by the team leader.
But I've got his MO now and his little bitch ass is mine, whenever I come across him I can&ban him with little giggles of glee.
Makes my whole day.
Now and then (on a good day) you get into catfights with those on a mission from god wanting to save the world by way of the word of Jesus; I can their asses with the same template we use for Sects, Nazis, extremists and other fanatical fascist ramblers, another fun kill are those who know how to cure cancer with some mystic Tibetan herbal tea and crystals charged with cosmic energy.
They almost always start bitching and complaining that we are in the hand of big pharma or the evil world government or Satan and why do we delete them when all they want to do is to bring healing and goodness to the world?
"Because it's fun and because I can"
*ClicketyClick*
Bye bye!

But along with the good fun stuff, I also have to take the bad...
..A whole afternoon of screening for women's maternity bra's had left me with double vision, one memorable set of drogue chutes in 74F is etched into my mind forever, it looked like two sleeping bags tied together with ratchet straps.
But that was not the only thing setting my eyeballs on fire, for days Malta had been getting south wind and that had meant, sand, dust and ground up dried flying camel shit had found it's way from Africa into my eyes.
Glancing into in the mirror I thought to myself that I looked like a rabbit with Myxomatosis.
Then, late one afternoon a huge wall of sand and dust blanketed the islands, visibility dropped to zero and the very air tasted gritty and dusty, everything the cloud touched, streets, houses, cars and Iron pig, was covered in a thick layer of sand.
We were compensated in the evening when the air cleared with a sunset and a sunrise in the morning that was simply out of this world.
I have been told that sometimes the sandstorms are so intense they get charged by static electricity and you can see lightning flashing in the murk, that must be like experiencing something straight out of the mind of Lovecraft.


Sunset over St. Pauls bay after the sandstorm, I did my best but pictures simply do not do the colors justice in anyway.

The Southwind soon gave way to a storm from the west and it rained with a vengeance, it counted only as a lick from the tongue of the gales lashing the coastlines of the north Atlantic, but it was enough, some roads got washed away by the pounding waves and the wind howled and moaned, knocking down billboards and blowing over what was not tied fast.

Palmtrees in a gale, totally aerodynamic.

The gales passed and the sun came out to play, come the weekend I decided to fire up the Pig and visit Gozo, the little island to the north, it's not too far, only 10 Kilometres to the ferry from where I live, but a ride of almost a hour, it's a strange fact that every trip here on Malta seems to take one hour, from my flat to work, one hour, to pretty bay in the south, one hour, to the cliffs, one hour, to the ferry, one hour, to nearest Weizenbeer dispensing pub, well, duh! Five minutes..
But speaking of Iron Pig.
Poor thing has been shedding bits of fairing lately from bouncing along the three dimensional roads and I have had to do some fibreglass repairs to strengthen the screw holes and brackets.
True, some of the roads have been resurfaced, paid for by EU money, but these roads are the ones that the tourist busses use, the rest, well I have given some stretches names, "Baby bottom," because it is like riding over well oiled baby asses, "Tar snake" not so much in that there are a lot of tar snakes, the whole road is a tar snake, "Kidney crusher," "Hemmerhoid basher," and my favourite: "The Scrotum!"
Fifty minutes later we rode onto the ferry where, much to my surprise, there are no provisions to lash a motorbike down and I was advised to stay with the bike as it: "will get a bit rough."
"Great" I thought, you try to hang on to a BMW 1100 LT doing the funky chicken.
Luckily it wasn't that bad but the car alarms that kept on blurting out the whole trip drove me a bit crazy and I was glad to get of the ferry.
Gozo, I found, is quite different to Malta, distinctively different, greener and it would seem more of a sleepy art colony and senior citizens refuge to Malta's economic dynamo.
The Maltese like to come to Gozo to hang out and chill and I rode past bars an pubs with men and women sitting outside, shirts open and wearing Italian style sunglasses, drinking, what else, Cisk, and I thought that it looked like a relaxed Mediterranean tiger licking it's balls in the bright sun.
I spent the rest of the afternoon slowriding and exploring before heading to the rodeo on the ferry back to Malta.
So anyway here are a few impressions, have fun.

St. Pauls bay, I live just round the corner past the jetty.

A great spot for fishing.

Taking the horses for a swim.

From the movie "Popeye" the village, now a tourist attraction and quite a fun place to visit.
Malta has a huge movie industry, along the coast somewhere are the ships built for Troy, the one with Brad Pitt.
But nothing can surprise you as riding along and coming across a German type VII C U-Boot, a bit of research and I found out that it was a working diesel powered boat built for the film U-571. Heck, do I want to get a closer look at that bad boy.

Went for a swim the other day and took my camera with me.


At first I thought the fish were cute as they nibbled away on me, but then I realized that they are actually trying to eat me, after that I did't find the little buggers "cute" at all.
Impressions from slowriding around Gozo.

And yes, that's a person standing over the arch

A little inland sea, accessible from the natural tunnel

Along the coast road.

Fungus rock.

Time for a coffee.

Incandescent sunrise over Vallletta.

Without men civilization would last untill the oil needs changing.

Last edited by Slammer; Feb 19th, 2014 at 11:43 am.
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post #18 of 60 Old Feb 20th, 2014, 8:23 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Slammer,
You should publish your life/travel adventures!

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post #19 of 60 Old Feb 20th, 2014, 8:36 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Nice! Looking forward to the next entry in the travelogue. Thanks for posting, Slammer.

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post #20 of 60 Old Mar 3rd, 2014, 8:11 am Thread Starter
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

...took a dive an hour ago, the roads here are (there is no way to put it politly) crap, I may have mentioned it.
Just riding back from Valletta and turned into a roundabout, I could feel the back wheel twitch, just a leeeeetle *twitch* and WHAMMO! We were down and sliding.
It´s incredible, in parts the roads are as smooth as glass, infact you can see the reflection of the sun and they are seemingly coated with what appears to be talcum powder.
The rollbar caught the fall but still we cracked our side case, banged our hip and broke a winker glass, and oh Thank you IXS for your tough biker rags, again ATGATT saves having skingrafts.
I am a carefull rider and take these roads like I would if they were coated in ice but still Iron Pig and I slid 50 Metres into oncoming traffic to much squealing of brakes.
People stopped and helped, wanting to call an ambulance, but I am not hurt (much) and only minor damage to the Pig, so after I picked myself up I was able to carry on home, sitting there now, aching like a mofo but with a cold Weizen thinking that it could have been just soo different.
I have rather new Bridgestones mounted but still gonna see the local dealer if there are any tires available that handle differntly on these roads, one fall is enough.

Without men civilization would last untill the oil needs changing.

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post #21 of 60 Old Mar 3rd, 2014, 8:33 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Slammer,

Glad to hear you survived relatively Ok... be careful out there.

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post #22 of 60 Old Mar 3rd, 2014, 8:48 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Dam, Ray - I hate reading posts like this bout as much as you hated writing it. Hope the scoot fixup goes easy on the wallet. Aleve or such will slow down the soreness - take care. Glad the cage folks were able to avoid you and the Iron Pig!!
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post #23 of 60 Old Mar 4th, 2014, 4:03 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Ray,

Sorry to hear about your accident. Very glad to hear that you are still in the land of the living.

I take it you are on a few days sick leave. Take it easy and hope Pig gets well soon.

Best regards
Adam

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post #24 of 60 Old Mar 4th, 2014, 5:01 am Thread Starter
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

No, it´s back to the slave galley today, I feel like godzilla´s chew toy just right now but all the slammerbits are working so it can´t be all bad, took the bus to work today though.

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post #25 of 60 Old Mar 4th, 2014, 5:04 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

missed this thread earlier, so just caught up with the travels, only to learn of the sting in the tail...!
Glad you're OK, sound like you both took a beating.
Great read as usual though... and no doubt ......to be continued!

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post #26 of 60 Old Mar 4th, 2014, 8:56 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Glad you can tell the tale and hope you heal quickly. Aleve, Advil/Ibuprofen are good friends for about a week. Keep an eye out for any excessive swelling or intense pain that may indicate a blood clot and seek medical help immediately if such a thing presents itself. Hope the pig can be easily repaired too.

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post #27 of 60 Old Mar 4th, 2014, 7:36 pm
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

The Bus !
Oh Blimey !
Not the preferred transport mode at all.
Glad to hear not to much damage to You or "Miss Piggy"
Maybe you need some Icelandic tyres.

Have another cold Weizen.

Take care.

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post #28 of 60 Old Mar 4th, 2014, 9:22 pm
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Slammer,

Glad you're in one piece.

Going down sucks, but at least that sliding scrubed off energy and kept you from a much worse outcome.

Hope you mend quickly.


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post #29 of 60 Old Mar 6th, 2014, 2:14 am Thread Starter
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Got on the Pig to go to work this morning, first ride since the crash, got tot the feeder for the main road, you have to do a Linda Blair to see the oncoming traffic and WHAMMO, I have a Toyota up the exhaust, "OH I thought you where going to carry on"
The side case is totally wrecked now and I took the bus to work again.
This sucks.

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post #30 of 60 Old Mar 6th, 2014, 2:32 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Decidedly not one of the better weeks.

Sorry to hear about it my friend.

Take care and have a stiff one!

Best regards

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post #31 of 60 Old Mar 6th, 2014, 4:04 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

dare I say it......

"Oh what a feeling......."


Hope he/she was insured so you get some shiny new parts!
Comes in 3's doesn't it? Only 1 more to go and you should be right for a while, eh.....

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post #32 of 60 Old Apr 13th, 2014, 2:02 pm Thread Starter
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Lazily reading through the classified ads on the Maltapark.com website, one advert grabbed my attention?
"CELTA certified teacher required on a part time base!"
You may remember that last year I struggled through a rather expensive CELTA in Basel, so methinks it is time for a bit of payback.
I replied to the ad and was invited to sit in on one of the lessons to get a feel for the place.
So come last Friday at nine on the dot I was shown into a classroom.
Then the phone rang?
"Ah!..Slammer, you..ah, gonna have to take over.. ah, Maria´s class, she has just called in sick, they have a test today, here are the papers, my name is Paul by the way, over there is the coffee machine, loo here, godda dash, me class is starting, may the force be with you, byeeee!"
No sooner than my jaw had shut and in walked my "Students"
Islamic students, walking, talking stereotypes, the full black beard, flowing robes belonging to twelve, let's call them "diplomats" from let´s say "far, far east"
I started off with gentle, easy questions, "where do you come from?"
"Someplace far, far east"
I told them that I came from a town called "Blackburn," a beautiful quaint old Victorian town, situated just to the north of England´s industrial heart and surrounded by green fields and gentle hills, where to the north, (here I waxed lyrical) windswept moors and the magnificent granite splendour of the tors and the crags and peaks of the lakes merged seamlessly into the Scottish highlands, I painted a picture of dry stone walls, gentle rain, like the wee of angels, of Tudor villages and a multicultural, friendly people.
I needn´t have bothered, as soon as I said "Blackburn" all they wanted was to talk about was the Rovers and the football.
I handed out the test.
Half an hour later the test just over and I was running out of things to say and so I started on British humour (remember I was only supposed to be a sit-in, nothing was prepared so I was ad-libbing along like a MoFo!)
What did they know about British humour??
Mr. Bean.
I had a computer connected to the Internet and an interactive whiteboard at my disposal (first time I had seen one by the way)
As I still over a half hour to kill I decided I would gave them a dose of Freddy Frinton and May Ward in "Dinner for One"
( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVd_VLO9xcc ) just scroll throught the German bits.
We spent the rest of the lesson talking about the different dialects, about the different dishes served and what Freddy meant by:
"Same procedure as last year madam?"
"Same procedure as every year James"
"Well! I´ll do my very best!"
We shared a lot of laughs and it was quite refreshing after my "other" work at the online auctions house where I am keeping a low profile for the moment.
I had deleted an advert selling what I, honest to god, took to be a dildo, but was in actual fact the saddle from a High-Tec racing bicycle.
The woman who was selling had thrown a thermo-nuclear hissy fit because I had deleted the item using the dreaded "sex" tool.
From her complaint I gather that she is quite fond of the word "imbecile"
Another controversial advert that I had killed was for an artificial hip, made out of titanium, a steal at only 120 Euros´.
For "Decoration or Demonstration purposes"
And why the hell not, in fact if you got some more you could make yourself one totally rad wind chime, its only when you follow the link provided and get to the website of a Polish crematorium that things go waaaaay beyond creepy.

Fire sale.
1 Steadfast, the leading Titanium hip joint!
Used, only one previous owner!
Low, low, loooow mileage!

Of course I made that last bit up.

But that is fun and something that brightens my day, however the pervs that target the young girls looking for a baby sitter job are redlining my blood pressure at the moment.
Younger/cuter/blonder attracts these SOB's like flies to carrion.
The girls, they come in three categories, firstly those that thqueem and thqueem and thqueem, this will excite the guy, this is what he wants, this is what he lives for as he sees them as a soft target and he will do his very best to make the girls thqueem and thqueem and thqueem even more.
Secondly there are those that want to make the perv see the errors of his ways and start to argue and reason, all the while appealing to his humanity, it never ends well because Mr. Perv sees nothing wrong with what he does, his argument it that she should simply accept that some people are different and that there is nothing wrong with being different, and why won't she come around to his place to clean his bathroom in the nude..?
Then there is the girl that flatly tells the guy that the correspondence and his IP have been forwarded on to the authorities, he will then beg and whine and wheedle and be quite hurt as he was only having a bit of fun and that she should not have taken him seriously it was all a laugh and he thought that she was... and please don't... and sorry, so sorry.
My fantasies involve these creatures and a baseball bat studded with six inch nails.
But just like their fantasies, mine too will never happen, but it does good to paint the picture in my mind, perhaps there is not a lot of difference between them and me after all.


It comes in threes they say?
And every one comes out of the hurt locker.
The first time I have ever spun out on a motorbike has been just recently on Malta?s crappy roads, a result of the mirror-like surface on a nearby roundabout where Iron Pig and I parted company, I remember feeling an ever so slight twitch from the rear wheel, the next thing I know is WHAMMMO and that we had reversed orientation 90 degrees!
Thankfully the damage was slight, a banged up side case for the pig and a collection of bruises you could sell to science for me, I limped around for a while and took the bus to work.
A few days later and still feeling like King Kong's chew toy I very gingerly saddled up again only to be rear-ended by Toyota.
Again not much damage and after spending an hour with the 'ol fibre-glass repair kit we were as good as new.
Not even a WEEK later I end up on the bonnet of a SUV, this time the damage is more substantial, side case crushed (it would seem that they make great airbags though) damage to the fairing, rear lamp smashed and all the tough plastic around the rear end shattered.
But it would seem that the Pig looked after Slammer and I was not even scratched.

It does get one thinking about mortality and how fast things can go to hell in a hand basket, so after all the scrapes, bumps and narrow escapes from lunatic fringe drivers on dangerous roads you would think that I would see the light and mothball the Pig.
So not gonna happen!

Poor Pig looking all sorry for herself, hurts just to look at this picture.



However!

What will kill the Pig in the next few weeks or so is my arch-nemesis, burocracy!
It's getting to the point where we need to dump our Swiss plates and register ourselves on Malta, mainly because the Pig?s Swiss insurance is running out and I am long past the period of grace awarded by Transport Malta for the changeover, if caught it will cost a fine of 40E´s per day over that deadline.
Now then!
To import a Bike older than 14 years and with the Pig's quite substantial CO2 emission from the EU would cost around 300E´s!
But!
I will allow you to feel my pain, because this is the part where having lived in Switzerland comes to bite me in the arse.
As we know Switzerland is not in the EU and to import a bike older than 14 years with the Pig's CO2 emission from a not-EU country will cost me?
"Ahem! Drumroll please"
BRRRRRRR- Dang TUSCHHHHhhh Boom!
37.437,00 FrikkingE's!
I have been through the paperwork with a fine-tooth comb and if I can't find a loop-hole soon then the adventures of Slammer and the Pig will come to an end.
At least the busses are cheap and run on time..
..More or less?!


On the busses.

Quote:
I really miss the days when every village had its own colour bus, a vehicle that usually dated from the 1950s with lots of shiny chrome fittings. Malta had something unique. The driver was always grumpy and usually argued with the passengers, who would often then argue amongst themselves. Always a shrine in the front, and old ladies would cross themselves when they got on the bus, and on most street-corners thereafter. They needed to pray given the standard of the driving. The bus was always too hot, as the engine was inside it on most models. You pulled the string above your head when you wanted to get off, and the driver may have let you off if he was in a (rare) good mood. The ride was noisy and uncomfortable. And I loved every minute.

Those were the days!
The magic busses of Malta, complete with their little Madonna grottos on the dash, where little old ladies would kneel and make the sign of the cross.
Knowing how the Maltese drive I can´t say I really blame them for wanting to up the odds.

There are still a few of these very handsome vehicles on the road today, Old Leyland´s and Thames busses, beautifully restored, all gleaming chrome, with a mirror shine on the hubcaps and polished, spotless paintwork I see them from time to time on the promenade road in Sliema and Mosta and Luca rumbling past as they ferry tourists in search of the genuine Malta experience, there is even one converted to sell "sovineers," not to me they don't, I dislike tourist tat at best of times and take it as a bad sign if you can't spell what you sell.


The sad reality of the Magic busses, slowly fading away.
The grey paint scheme on this bus shows that it once drove the inhabitants of Gozo around the island.



However regardless of the chrome and wistful sighs that long for yesteryear, they seem displaced and out of time amongst Hyundai's and BMW's and Smart cars.
Now that they have been taken out of the context of their original purpose, they are now no more than shiny exhibits out of a museum.

The new King Long busses made in China are nice enough though, modern and efficient and economic and don't burst into flames like Boris (the merc) Johnsons castoff ex-London bendy buses they replaced.

That's all for now, so I´ll leave you with a picture of "The Pub" in Valletta.



A pub to die for as the late, great Oliver Reed would tell you.



Impressions

Carneval on Malta, as colorfull as anywhere else on the planet.


What do you do with old cannons, why you bury them in the harbour wall and use them to moor ships.


I was fascinated how the chain holding a floating mooring had cut through solid rock.


The causeway under the mighty walls of Fort St. Elmo


Malta´s new economy, huge reserves of Gas have been found just a few miles offshore.


Went swimming again and found this chappie, looks like somebody dropped an anchor.


A luzzu, one of Malta´s iconic boats ferrying the eternal tourist to all the bright spots

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post #33 of 60 Old Apr 14th, 2014, 7:40 pm
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Early closing?


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post #34 of 60 Old Apr 15th, 2014, 3:30 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Hi Ray,

You are certainly going through the mill at the moment.

Glad to hear you are ok, though poor pig. Do you have the option of registering Pig in an EU country (UK for example) and then registering her in Malta?

Need to catch up if you get the time / energy etc!

Best regards & hang in there.
Adam

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post #35 of 60 Old Apr 20th, 2014, 5:06 am Thread Starter
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Twas such a beautiful day yesterday and because I had a visitor from Switzerland and I was on the late shift we decided to to the tourist two step around Valletta including the grand harbor tour.....

The cruiseliner season is getting underway, over a half a million people visit the Island during their mediteranian cruise.


The fortress of Floriana just next to the Capital, just now everything is green and the air is full of the heady scent of flowers in bloom.


The fortress on Manoel Island, one of the most complete period fortifications in Europe, this Vaubanic style fortress is a massive screw you to any invader.


The old submarine base on Manoel Island, bomb and shell damage still evident. Undewater is a lighter sunk during the bombing, now a great dive site.


St Pauls Anglican cathedral.


The watchtower in Senglea, in the little tower you see carved eyes and ears, nobody get´s past without being seen and heard, you have been warned.



The old military hospital in Il Birgu, here, like all over Malta the war is still very much present.

Still as it was a long time ago.

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post #36 of 60 Old Apr 21st, 2014, 9:45 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Great pics! Thanks for posting.

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post #37 of 60 Old Apr 21st, 2014, 4:07 pm
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Thanks for the pictures! I just watched a TV show last week on the WWII actions on Malta. Brutal! Surprised there is anything left.

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post #38 of 60 Old Apr 29th, 2014, 1:45 pm Thread Starter
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey View Post
Thanks for the pictures! I just watched a TV show last week on the WWII actions on Malta. Brutal! Surprised there is anything left.
During the last week or so I spent a bit of time in the archives looking at pictures from during the war and of the rebuilding, I left the archives pretty disgusted by our so called "human race."
The city of Megiddo, or as you know it "Armageddon" is a place burned in our collectve consciousness, the city of Magedburg gave us the noun "magdeburgization" ever since the during the 30 year war, I have a few more: "Hiroshimazeid" as the ultimate and Maltazeid for what happened here.
Everywhere you look you can see bomb damage, shell holes and bullet scarred buildings.
I´ll see what I can find to give an idea

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post #39 of 60 Old Apr 29th, 2014, 1:48 pm Thread Starter
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Discussion from another forum...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsalforn View Post
Thanks for a set of interesting photos, Slammer. Indeed worthy of the tourist board. I beg to offer a small correction for the ferry boat though.The boat that you show is a dghajsa (pronounced dice-a). The luzzu is a fishing boat.
May I make a little correction to your correction...(Achtung, Nerd alarm!:-)

A dghajsa is one of the little double ended water taxis you see flitting in and around Grand Harbor, like pint sized Venetian gondola and propelled in much the same way, however almost all have a Outboarder bolted to the stern.



The other Boat that Malta is famous for is the kajjik, built like the Luzzu but only with a square transom.

The one in the picture is on offer in Maltapark.com for 600€ Hmm! Can´t say I much like the square transom. looks like it could cause a problem in following seas.

My favorate though is the Luzzu, double ended with the high prow and transom.

The fleet is around 30 to 40 years old with new ones being built mainly on Gozo, the design is said to hail from the Phoenicians and I can undertsand why, you simply can´t improve perfection.

All have engines but there are one or two with the sails, but I think that they are mainly for show to make Spinola bay a bit more prettier.

One curious design aspect and I havn´t yet found out why, apart from the main propeller all Maltese boats have a second, smaller prop offset to the port side?

Respectivly, a dghajsa, a kajjik and a Luzzu.

Disclaimer, not my pictures this time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsalforn View Post
Here is where you can see a tal-latini, Slammer. BTW Gozo Heritage is run by volunteers, including many English members. They have beautifully restored grain silos within WW2 shelters in the walls of the citadel in Gozo - an interesting and free visit, though a donation is welcome.



The last surviving dgħajsa tal-latini – the tradtional Gozitan boat that used to ply the ferry route from Malta to Gozo in the days before steam – has just been fully refurbished and put on view to the public.



This particular vesssel was seaworthy until the 1970s after which it fell into disrepair. It was eventually bought by an entrepreneur who wanted to sell it to the Gozo Ministry. Wirt Għawdex(Gozo Heritage) intervened and the boat was instead bought by the Gozo Channel Co., which runs today’s Gozo Ferries.



The company provided sponsorship for the restoration and under the watchful eye of Wirt Għawdex the boat was put back in the capable hands of the Caruana brothers, sons of the original builder. Two years on, the boat is ready to be put on permanent display on the (also newly refurbished) Mġarr Harbour waterfront.


It's all your fault Marsalforn because of you I felt that I had to sacrifice my day off to brave the perilous journey across the treacherous Gozo channel, past the siren song of Comino to Għawdex and have a look at the elusive tal-latini , then on the way back the long wait for the ferry meant that I had to force myself into the only harbour pub that has Weizenbeer for sale and that, of course, meant that I could not simply take shelter from the raging elements but was forced to drink quite a few beers on the balcony watching the sun go down.
Your fault!


The cruel sea, mercilessly lashing the tiny island of Comino.


Unlike most harbours where modern architects have been unleashed, the refurbishment here has made the harbour a nice place to stroll and spend a afternoon at the same time keeping the closeness feelgood atmosphere of a small harbour.



And here it is, the tal-latini


Speaking of boats.
Quick!
What actor springs to mind when you hear:
Pirates, Caribbean, Captain, Hollywood, Black Pearl?
Naaaa!


Wrong, actually Errol Flynn owned this lovely schooner that is now on land as a restaurant.


Also I found the national archives of Malta in Rabat, where I can happily spend an afternoon before getting my Photoshop on..
Timetravel.


The new gate to Valletta, the bugger who designed that should be taken and fed to the fishes, at least it is an improvment to the 1960´s monster.


A long, long time ago in a simpler age.


And how Slammer thinks it should look.


The causeway to Valletta...


...under constuction...


...and I couldn´t resist.:-)
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post #40 of 60 Old May 5th, 2014, 7:31 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Slammer - the Jimmy Olsen of Malta


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post #41 of 60 Old May 14th, 2014, 2:38 am Thread Starter
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Suncream is for pussies, real men don´t allow themselves to be marinated in oil.
Real men will spend a day in the sun and in the evening glow in the dark from 100% fatal sunburn.
Real men like Slammer, at the best of times so painfully white that eating a marshmellow is almost a kind of cannibalism but now I will suffer my sunburn with a stiff upper lip.
Yesterday I jumped on the pig and rode to the grand opening of Scuba institute international owned by a guy I know from work, "SII" he calls it, I would have gone with "Falk´s Scuba center, bar, grill and bait-shack" but there ya go. Check it out on facebook.
I took along my Flippers, mask and snorchle and swam out to the wreck of HMS Maori, a tribal class destroyer that was sunk during the second big bang, after salvage it broke in half and the bow section was towed to where it now rests as a great dive site.
It was the very first time I have seen a wreck on the sea floor, soo eerie it almost makes you want to swim away as fast as you can, but at the same time there is something facinating swimming over a man-made object.
I think I have fallen in love with wreck-diving.


Poor HMS Maori, now a eerie remider of war

As she was in the 40ties

On fire after the attack.

The next day

Aaaand a few pictures from the swim out to MHS Maori.



Grr! Working on the late shift tonight, catch y´all later.

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post #42 of 60 Old May 14th, 2014, 2:56 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Sir,
Once again your photos are fantastic! How do you take the underwater photos, a specific underwater camera, or a normal one with a specialised case?

How is the importation into Malta going, any solutions yet?

Have fun, & try to keep safe!

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post #43 of 60 Old May 14th, 2014, 3:01 am Thread Starter
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Actually I use this chappy and a lot of Photoshop-Fu
As to the pig, well that is still a work in progress, I sent the papers in to transport malta where they promptly lost them, (this is Malta after all) so it´s back to square one.
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post #44 of 60 Old May 14th, 2014, 3:45 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Sounds like the Hitch Hikers Guide to Galaxy for the description of your battles to get her imported!

With your Black-belt in Photoshop-Fu, I am surprised you can't use it to your advantage. Or is it a case of mixing business with pleasure?

As you know if you are in the Antwerpen vicinity you have a rest stop!

Hope Iron Pig gets well soon.

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post #45 of 60 Old Jun 6th, 2014, 3:45 pm Thread Starter
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

My god, it´s gotten really hot, really fast, it´s my day off today so as soon as this is posted it´s off to the beach. The past few days however have seen a mediterranian storm pass through and things got rough for a while.

The next day the despite the high winds the clouds had gone and I was treated to a otherworldly sunrise, the waves were still very large but totally translucent at the top with the wind blowing spinddrift off the top, all this was all backlit by the rising sun and I wondered if I could get a photo, so I dismounted the pig and inched to the water, and inched a bit more for a better shot, but needed to get a liiiikkkkkle biiiit closer.

Of course the outcome was predictable and I got very wet, but I did get a new insite: It is difficult to swim in full biker rags.
I took the battery out of the phone and squelched my way to work, I shouldn´t feel to much like an idiot though because a few others had had the same idea and all were soaked to the skin.
I got some destilled water from the shop took the Samsung apart and let it bathe for a while, got it dry and now it works just fine again. That phone has seen the bottom of the Bodensee, got drowned in Lago Como and was in my top pocked in a rainstorm, by now it has spent enough time underwater to qualify for a PADI certificate.
A few days ago I took a walk through Valletta and made this photo:

Glancing down at the balustrade, right infront of me was this...:

And whammo! Shivers ran up and down my spine, my hair stood on end and I felt a bit light headed, 32 years ago I had stood on this very same spot taking this very same photo, memories came as the floodgates opened in my mind and I remember etching my name in the soft stone and wondering if I would ever be here again.
Well 21 year old Ray, now you know!

Aaaand here are some random pictures.

Just keep swimming Just keep swimming Just keep swimming swimming swimming.

I´d like to be....

..under the sea In an octopus' garden in the shade
He'd let us in, knows where we've been
In his octopus' garden in the shade.

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post #46 of 60 Old Jul 18th, 2014, 11:59 am Thread Starter
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Just realized that I have not updated the chronicles for a long time, but as you know it's all work, work, work and no play….!

No spare time at all, see how I suffer, so I am afraid this post is gonna be pictures for most part.
I have found that I like freediving, no bottles, because bottles are for pussies and they are an expensive piece of kit, nope! All Slammer needs is a set of long fins, a weighted belt and a lung full of air, so much fun without all the gear, for instance, I like to target the scuba divers and blitz them with the iconic "Jaws" theme tune running on a loop in my head.

The gunbase on HMS Maori on a clear day.


Duhdut! Duhduhduhdut! Duhduhduhdut! Duhduhduhdududuhduhhudhduh….! DADADADAAAHHHHH!

Then there is the Aqua-trekking, miles and miles of simply goofing around watching the fish.

Never seen fish as neon blue as these outside a Disney movie.


Except for these "fishes" called the "mauve stinger" and Eee by gum don't they, ask me how I know.


"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming, swimming."


Under the Castle at St. Paul's

Wrecks and wrecks and more wrecks.


Swam around to Mistra bay and found this chappy at around 10 meters, pretty big and pretty smashed up, thing is nobody knows what it was and when it sank…! Let's hope the sailors are not still around somewhere.

Another wreck that I like is the X127, a lighter that sunk just off the old submarine base at Manoel island, the Germans mistook it for a submarine and lobbed a torpedo at it, BOOM! Down it went.





A great dive, gonna be there again tomorrow, so watch this space.

A creepy dark tunnel at Manoel Island, I swam inside a bit but I spooked myself by imagining being tapped under rubble or snagged on something or other or unseen spectres grabbing me with their cold dead hands and they are all "BOOO!" and I am all "AARRGH!", Brrr! Outside I needed to shake myself like so much sharkbait.


Debris of war, twisted metal and broken stone.


More remains of war, the anti submarine chain across Marsamxett harbour, simply dumped when it was no longer needed.


Aren’t sailboats awesome?

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post #47 of 60 Old Jul 21st, 2014, 10:44 am Thread Starter
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

A group of work colleagues started on a PADI diving course, I wanted to join but found it a bit too expensive at the moment and beside swimming underwater with air bottles is for wussies, I joined in for the fun and took my camera..

Off the rocks at Marsamxett, the pillar is the anchor for the anti-submarine chain.



Learning the handsigns.




Slammer flying over in "god-mode"





Going deep at 15 Metres.

I just got myself a set of longblades and wear a lead belt to get down, otherwise I seem to be just that little bit too boyant.

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post #48 of 60 Old Aug 18th, 2014, 3:41 pm Thread Starter
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

I am almost ashamed to find that I have not updated the chronicles for quite a while, in my defence I can only say that after eight and a half hours searching the pages of our online auctions house for fraudulent fraudsters each and every day leaves me with little love for "recreational computing," the weekends however, I really look forward to.
Weekends mean, jumping on the pig and visiting one of Malta's many swim and dive sites.
So sit back and enjoy a collection of the latest piccies.


No idea what this little bugger is called, I call it the "little red-bodied-blackhead."


No idea what this one is called either, may have to get a fish recognition book at some point.


I love screwing with divers minds ahh! Irritating divers as a free-diver, flashing past them with the theme from "Jaws" running in a loop in my head.


A totally surreal underwater landscape under the mighty walls of fort St. Elmo and going deep I turned the camera to the surface and got a shot of a Tolkeinian landscape.


Just as you or I would take a dog "walkies" this guy takes his "swimies"




(oh here we go) Octopussies, octopods, octopi? Ahem! More than one Cephalopod.
St. Pauls bay has oodles of them, I found this one in a little cave and I have called it "Rubber" ain't he cute.
I tried to coax it out with a clam but it wasn't having any of it and the look was of pure exasperation: "oh not another one of them tiresome monkeys" I even tried giving a poke but he closed the door on his little cave with a shell stuck to a tentacle.
I am sure that if they had managed to invent fire it would have been us on their pizza frutti de terra?



Meanwhile I tried to lift the HMS Maori with one hand, surprisingly I didn't budge, maybe it is stuck.


Just loving the clear water…


..and the incredible blue.


Down at the Blue hole and the blue grotto and the blue window, hmm! I suspect that there is a reason why the color blue seems to be mentioned often, can't put my finger on it though…




I climbed a mountain, better, I swam under the arch, 18 meters to the bottom and on the way up decided to go under the arch, it´s "only" 5 meters long or so but it is under water and there is no surface, just unyielding rock, if I got into trouble, simply dumping the lead belt and corking it to the surface won't work here, but I did notice the air pockets like pools of mercury in the rock. totally surreal and when I got to the other side I felt 10 feet tall.


On the way up from 16 meters down.


By the way, the pig says "Hi"

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post #49 of 60 Old Aug 18th, 2014, 5:36 pm
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Worth the wait, Ray. Thanx for the shared swim.
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post #50 of 60 Old Aug 19th, 2014, 10:06 am
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Re: The Maltese chronicles.

Nice Pictures!

Glad to see you still have Pig going. Last I had seen you were not sure you could keep it due to the red tape involved. Guess you sorted that out.

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