How To Spot A Maltese Person In An Airport
'Ara min hawn!' ... shit.
Regardless of where you're travelling to, or from, you're surely going to be spending some time in an airport. Another sure thing is that somewhere, at some point, you are going to meet them - the fellow Maltese. They’re everywhere. And here's how you can spot them:
1. The language
This one’s easy. As an ocean of conversation flows into your ears, merging into an incoherent maelstrom of gibberish your ears pick out a little islet of familiarity through the waves. “U ejja ma, kemm se ndumu, xi dwejjaq!” Yes. They’ve arrived.
2. The clothes
The Maltese traveller will be appropriately dressed for Maltese weather. Leaving Reykjavik in June? Most will be wearing a light jacket. Not our hero. He braves the chilly Icelandic air in his shorts and flip flops, secure in the knowledge that, as the plane’s wheels squeal on the tarmac in Gudja, he will be greeted by a warm damp cloud of summer air.
While Sven is turning a moist pink, Redeemer wafts past with a jaunty chilled swagger. Another pointer is the traditional Maltese garb. No, I’m not talking about għonella. I mean Redent’s dress code of ripped skinny jeans, white belt with assorted studs, pointy snake-skin shoes and over-tight (slightly shiny) t-shirt, through which you can easily make out his luxuriant chest hair and mild disco tits.
Pair this with wet-look gel (l-aħdar tal-Keune) and a few choice bits of gold jewellery, and you’ve got our national emblem right there.
3. The religious wave
You may have used your three day stay in Amsterdam as an excuse to skip Mass, but the Lord follows you wherever you go. And nowhere is he mentioned more than in baggage queues.
Herds of Maltese squirm around between bollards, waiting to chuck their suitcases filled with cute marijuana leaf-shaped ashtrays onto their Boeing of choice. And with them, they bring their gods. Kristu, Alla, il-Madonna and l-ostja are a hot topic of conversation for the bunch of guys who haven’t met anyone Maltese for almost a week and have forgotten that here, at Departures, people know what they’re on about.
Guys, the man in front of you is your old superjur tal-Mużew. Chill.
4. The impatience
Tessie, the plane won’t leave without you while you're in the queue. Huffing and puffing “x’għarukaża, għala qed indumu daqshekk?” is not going to make the bored Ryanair check-in girl with the nails hurry up.
Your plane leaves in 3 hours anyway, and it's hardly their fault you haven’t rid yourself of that 80s habit of being at the airport 4 hours prior to boarding. Once you get to your departure gate, things get even more ridiculous. Ms Check-in taps the mic and warbles “Good morning ladies and gentlemen…”and they’re off.
All the seats are swiftly vacated, as the masses swarm in abject terror at not being the first to board the plane. Heaven forbid that you miss those 20 minutes reading the in-flight safety manual stuck to the seat in front of you.
5. The hand luggage
Terrorism is a global plague that has touched the lives of many worldwide. Yet nowhere is its effect more evident than at the security check. Since 9/11, passengers have been obliged to transport liquids in their checked-in suitcases, with a limit of 100ml for hand luggage.
So why, why, WHY is there always a noob who is not aware of this fact? Kalanċ, airport security don’t care that the litre bottle of olive oil you bought from Knossos is meant for your granddaughter. It’s going in the bin. Alongside Grezzju’s Brut aftershave and Ċetta’s souvenir bottle of ouzo. “Taf kemm jiswa dan?!” Nope, but he knows the amounts of fucks he has to give - none.
6. The 'Ara min hawn!'
You didn’t think you’d manage to get on the plane without meeting Dave from work, right? Unfortunately, you’ve met him at the baggage drop point and his seat is the one next to yours. Cue 5 hours of him showing you snaps of his Bulgarian “girlfriend” whom he commutes to Sofia biennially to romance.
You’re reminded of many wonderful facts during your trip. They’ve been together for 4 years, the rash he had last year had nothing to do with her, and yay, he still refuses to use anti-perspirant. Finally he shuts up and you manage to doze off slightly. He nudges your armpit. “Sorry man, ħa mmur inbul.”
Bonus: The applause
You can see Marsaxlokk harbour from your side window, Dave has fallen asleep and you know that Ziju Fred has been waiting for at least 30 minutes with his hazard lights on in the “No Parking” zone of the airport.
The plane makes contact with the runway and sways slightly, before applying the brakes and coming to a shuddering halt. At that point, hell is unleashed. A raucous applause fills the plane, with a few cheers and whistles thrown in for good measure.
The deity we called upon with such abandon has been good to us once more! We have, against all odds, landed! All is well with the world!