Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Nature indoors... for a while

When our landlords showed us around the house, the conversation of "pests" came up. They said rarely one sees one or two around the house, but they spray occasionally along the outside doors and that generally deters future guests from getting too comfortable.

When Chris and Nic went in the underground pool room (pumps and things), down the skinny hatch and narrow ladder hole, Nic mentioned the occasion scorpion might hang out on the walls in the dry summer months.

Today, while on the phone with a friend, I spotted a guest with peripherals enroute to the kitchen. I first looked for exactly where Avocet was and then near breathlessly whispered "Ahh, scorpion". To which she had to ask me to repeat myself. So another near whisper came out, and she instructed me to smash him. I said I'd rather relocate him, her laughter followed by "You're crazy! Call me back.".

My blood racing, I nearly frightened Ceti to death by the serious, "Stay back! Ouch!". So while she obediently huddled by the kitchen doorway, I tried to spatula (I have limited resources here folks!) him out from under the wine cellar door (which lays flat on the floor). He raised back (to DEVOUR me!) and in doing so, got wedged between the door and tile with one pincher. So on to open the cellar door, child still in fear and my heart thumping, scurry for the lights, check the walls and chase him down the stairs with cereal bowl and spatula in hand. Scoop him up, I did! And then proceeded to search for any other buddies who needed to be located with him. All clear!

So Avocet and I watched him for a bit, had the "Don't ever touch! Ouch!" lesson and proceeded to walk him down the alley... far down the alley... to his new rocky home.

We enjoy our several large millipedes who move around the house at night and curl up on various rooms in the house, but the scorpions... not so much!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fort Ricasoli Tour

There are several historic forts in Malta, but only one is open to the public. So we took advantage of an embassy trip to Fort Ricasoli in Kalkara (across the bay from the capital of Valletta), when invited for a private tour of this closed fort this past weekend. 
(above- family shot, view across toward Valletta, barracks from English during WWII)
(below- Ceti and Madame Ambassador, view from the point, steel reinforced bunker from WWII)
The fort is owned by the Maltese government, who primarily offers it out to the film industry for filming. They don't earn much from the actual location, but by the revenue the hospitality to the crews while on the island brings in to the economy. Some more famous films shot here: Troy, Gladiator, Argos, Game of Thrones. It was really pretty amazing to walk into areas and immediately recognize them from a movie... or know your feet were in the same place as Brad Pitt or Russell Crowe!

Many set props are still on location in storage areas. The facilitator also set up some props for our enjoyment. The kids enjoyed playing, and everyone took advantage of the great photo ops. 
(above: the girls playing market, door from Gladitor?, wine from the market set)
(below: lovely archways, doorway to the tiger scene in Gladiator, playing around on the Gladiator set) 

 (above: Calesi's birdcage from Game of Thrones, playing pinchy lobster, wine)
(below: replicated statue, Miss Princess enjoying her throne, archways)
We spent about 3 hours at the fort, walking through beautiful historic rooms and trekking out to the end of the fort, seeing the sea and areas from battle so many years before. The weather was amazing, and an excited embassy bunch made for such a pleasant morning. The hosts and hostesses could not have been more friendly and accommodating, even helping clean up a muddy kid #2 and a bloody kid #1 from our usual family outing antics. 
 (above: Papa and Mini time... grape feeding and all)
(below: learning about the industry, storage areas, making new friends)
 No surprise when we had two sleepy, slouched kids on the car ride home. 

Marine Ball - 2013 - Malta

A last minute dress and our smallest ball yet, but always a great time. Meeting new coworkers and friends, mixed with a night sans kids
and a backdrop of the moon over the Mediterranean was sure to please. 

Here's about the only "selfie" we took, since the embassy had a photographer snapping away. Hope to get those soon too! Happy Birthday Marines!!