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December 13, 1999

Meeting the Customer

Well, we were supposed to meet up with a bus to take us to our client, but it never showed, so we took a cab.  We got ripped off too: Lm 10 for the ride, when it was only Lm 8 to the airport (and that was further away).  Not a good sign!

I finally got to meet our host at the company we were visiting: he turned out to be a nice guy.  Alan and I got the system up and running, with only a few mods to make.   While we were working, every couple of hours our host would take us on a coffee break or snack break or something: it seemed to me to be a very European attitude.

Actually I shouldn't judge: after all, our host was here on a Maltese holiday: it was the anniversary of the creation of the Maltese Republic (sort of like our July 4th Independence Day), so a lot of the staff was not there at all!  In fact, the Lunch room staff wasn't sure when to open because of the holiday!  We had to wait an extra half-hour or so while they got things sorted out.

Private Tour

We took off work at 4:00 p.m. (!!) We would have stayed longer, but our host didn't want to stay.  He drove us back to the hotel while at the same time giving us a tour of southern Malta.  We drove through the towns of Zabbar, Kalkara, Paola, as well as Kirkop (where our customer actually resides).

Some interesting things came out of his description: he referred to low-rent areas of Malta as "Turban-makers" (apparently there us an undercurrent of anti-Arab sentiment).  He talked about some unusual stuff, including the new power plant being built to replace the old polluting one (It apparently drops ash on all the surrounding neighborhoods).

I found out from him that the orange-yellow stone used for building is a type of limestone; and yes, it is a very poor material and gets worn away easily.  I also found out what the eyes on the boats are for: it dates back to the times of the Phonecians, and is supposed to indicate that the boat is watching the water for you (in case of unexpected attacks from kraken, I suppose).

After Alan and I were dropped off at the Hotel, we ate dinner at a local Chinese restaurant, which was not run by Chinese and had *very* slow service!

Despite a bad start, things went very well today: I'm keeping Sicily in mind as my goal!

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2000 William Geoffrey Shotts. Last update: Saturday, November 02, 2002