Previous business trips over the past 40 years had not prepared me for the October SGM-FX Malta Board Meeting. Indeed regular monthly visits to Valletta the island’s capital had not given any indication that this time things were definitely going to be different.
The Board Meeting itself was as it turned out uneventful and passed off without incident. This time the two Non Executive Directors had both remembered the date and time and also managed to get there for the start of the Meeting which while anticipated was by no means in the normal course of events. The Agenda had been completed within the two hours allotted and that it seemed was that.
Later that evening when I arrived outside the business club, The Casino Maltese in Valletta’s Republic Street for a reception that things seemed to take on a different perspective. It was a first for me to be confronted by a two and a half meter Panda or rather a very tall person in a Panda suit. Disconcertingly the Panda jiggled, it mimed but did not speak so it was impossible to discern whether the Panda suit housed a man or a woman. What was clear though was that the Panda wanted money and given its height and due to it having extremely long arms its probable reach, it seemed sensible to comply, before hurrying inside for a fortifying cocktail.
At the end of the business week on Saturday morning I took a walk beneath the fortified ramparts of Valletta and was enjoying being shown the route taken by the SGM-FX CEO on her morning runs around the city.
As I looked out across the water towards Sliema and to Manoel Island with its fort, I heard what sounded like two of three hailstones hitting the ground beside me. By the time I had discounted hail as being likely given the 23c temperature, I had been hit in the arm and felt a sharp sting as if I had been bitten by an angry hornet. Again the angry hornet theory could be dismissed as hornets and especially angry ones are clearly visible and there was no sign of such an insect. I was under fire and had been hit!
In an effort to locate the shooter or more likely the shooters, I crossed the road towards the ramparts. As I looked upwards, I quickly realized it was fruitless as they had been shooting from the top of the high walls and doubtless had already made their escape having successfully bagged a walker with their BB guns.
Malta Boys 1 Business Man 0.
Fortunately not all visits to Malta are so hazardous and for most of the year the greatest dangers to one’s health lie in over indulging in the many high quality restaurants and bars.