Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Malta - a whole other world

At 3 o'clock Tuesday morning, my alarm went off.  I got up and made strong espresso before showering and taking out the trash and generally finishing picking up the apartment.  Florin called at 4:15 to say he was on the way in a taxi.  Our flight to Frankfort was uneventful - just over two hours - as was our connecting flight to Malta, also just over two hours.  It was such a pleasure to see this island nation appear in our flight path.  The buildings seem all to be low and light-colored.

The people are relaxed, beginning with passport control.  I expected to answer some questions about purpose of visit, anything to declare, etc.  The official looked at my passport, asked if I came in from Frankfort and then waved me through with no stamp in my passport, no inspection of my luggage.

There was a man with an ILGA-Europe sign for delegates to this conference and a whole busload of us gathered from many nations.  I met a few folks on the bus I had been with in Timisoara last weekend, as well as a fellow from Holland, two folks from Finland and I'm sure I'll meet a whole host of folks from other nations.  People will continue to arrive through tomorrow and the conference officially starts on Thursday. My friend, Anna, from Ukraine, who was in Timisoara last weekend, had a youngster, Alex, with her also from Ukaine.  He was so wide-eyed.  He had never been on a plane, never been out of Ukraine, and had never met foreigners before.  It was a delight to see the wonder in his face.  His head was practically spinning around, trying to see everything and everyone at once.

From the bus windows, we could see palm trees and brilliant sunshine, and soon the Mediterranean.  When we got to the hotel, they couldn't find our reservation.  It seems we were at the next hotel in the complex - there are 3.  When we got squared away in our room, we walked to yet another hotel to have lunch and got to eat outside looking out over the ocean.  I had Fried Halloumi salad (halloumi is a kind of cheese) and filet of sea bream, a delicious kind of fish.  Florin had pumpkin soup and a meze.  Meze is like tapas, a whole lot of little dishes of treats: artichokes with another kind of cheese, little kuftas (like kabobs but ground meat), stuffed grape leaves, mixed salad, and a few other things.  We washed it down with good water and good local Maltese beer.

We came back to the hotel and napped for an hour and now we're on the go again.  Dinner will be at 8 and I fully expect that we will be at the table for several hours, once again making new friends.

Here are some pictures taken by Krasi's camera around the table and in workshops last week in Timisoara: http://picasaweb.google.com/nundabud/Timisoara#


  1. Maltese beer? I'm guessing it's better than coors light. Malta sounds lovely and its good you have time to enjoy company and your surroundings before the conference starts. Are you presenting any workshops for the conference?

  2. From the photos, it looks like you were having a great time! Enjoy the rest of your conference. Miss you much, but I wouldn't want you back too early and have you miss out on any of your wonderful experience!

  3. Wow, thanks for the pictures. Now I can actually see who you've been talking about. Have fun in Malta and if you can get some pics of palm trees...you know how much I enjoy those. Reminds me of Florida.

  4. A dose of Mediterranean sunshine is the perfect way to close out your sabbatical. Bask in the warmth of both Malta and your new "family". And remember that your OLD family is awaiting your arrival home with open hearts and arms. Love.....