I think today I am in the right mood to write about “Bad Malta”. It was a non-pleasant week and although I was trying to stay positive it got through. However, to be fair – the fact that it all was happening in a beautiful setting of Mediterranean island actually decreased degree of annoyance.
So, what unpleasant things can happen to you in Malta…
- You can stay waiting for a bus for 1.5 hours and then ride till your destination for 1.5 hours more.
In general traffic here is quite chaotic, there are too much cars for such a small island and I don’t see how this could be solved until public transport starts functioning properly and reliably. Apart from traffic jams and road works there is a problem of bus drivers going on strike every other week, which means that whether all or 50% of busses do not go out on their routs. Usually information about strikes could be found on news portals, such as times of Malta.
- You might be given a ticket/ fine for bringing your garbage not during specific hours.
Although majority of locals through garbage out any time they like and you can see stinking garbage bags all over the street … according to the law (!) you have to bring out your garbage not earlier than 1 hour before the collection time. The thing is, that there are no garbage containers; one has to bring garbage out on the street and leave it near the door every other day. Black plastic bags for general garbage, green (grey, white) for recycling. There are specific times when garbage is collected and if varies from locality to locality.
And that is your problem if you work till 7pm and garbage is collected at 5pm. We were bringing our bags out before work (as everyone else) and got fined for 60 eur, when a warden was sent to our street with an important task of watching who and when brings their garbage out. The fact that official Local Council leaflet didn’t have information about THE law, and official web site just stated “we kindly ask you to bring your garbage out 1 hour prior…” didn’t bother her.
In general, it is a very tricky business to start discussions and express your un-satisfaction. Maltese have got quite a temperament and not all can or want to control it, plus they have a life-long experience of being rude … so that unprepared foreigners don’t stand a chance in the argument. Surely it’s not everyone, but just a lot.
It’s good to be aware of that and avoid confrontation, because it can lead to more than unpleasant results. For example in south of Malta neighbors could burn your door if they are angry with you. We have also once witnessed a man threatening another guy with a knife, because he didn’t like the way the guy behaved on the road with his scoter and the guy refused to admit he did something wrong.
Another “good to know” thing is that a warden won’t give you his name and other details. They just will tell you their number (or you can ask them to tell it). It is possible to submit a complain or protest against a fine through Internet as well as pay it online. NB! Fine must be paid within 1 week or it will double, unless a complain was submitted.
Other common fines are: for driving and talking, parking in a non-dedicated area, driving without seatbelt, drink-driving. Not surprisingly Maltese receive the most fines for that kind of stuff.
- You can find you apartment covered in dust and construction waste and all your food supplies rotten in the fridge.
I don’t know why, but construction site supervisors seem not to care about people living in the neighborhood. You won’t find any information about planned works, power or water cuts etc. So if you were unfortunate to leave your window slightly open …
However, we had a good experience with an owner of an apartment above ours. When we have encountered this problem – he brought a cleaner at his own cost to clean the mess. (Good that I came back home a bit earlier that day, “cop” the workers and made them contact a supervisor.)
PS: Very rarely there are also dust storms…so you can end up in dust even without construction going on.
- You’ll encounter “sloppy” work quite often.
Whether it’s repair of your shoes, or installing of any equipment, or road works – don’t expect work to be done perfectly and with thoughtfulness. If you can spare some time – supervise!
I think this story is very representing and hilarious – Man cleared of threatening ‘slop’py workers.
How to cope with misfortunes that happen to you in Malta:
- I believe in general sense of humour is a must if you want to live in Malta! It helps in a various situations and makes your life easier.
- Stay positive 😀 You have to wait for a bus for 2 hours? Take a nice book with you and you’ll spend nice time reading it on the seaside with a view. Fireworks in the middle of the night woke you up – take a look from the window and try to enjoy them.
- Keep expectations low – it will be easier to positively surprise you.
- Know why did you come here – for weather, sun, the sea…you’ll have all of that and the rest is a small pay for the pleasure.
Want to read about good Malta? Check some of my other articles here.