The Misadventures of a Bandli Joyrider: A Malta Tale

A Day Like Any Other in Sliema

Karmenu, a retired postman known for his knack for trouble, woke up one sunny morning with a craving for a breakfast of champions – a hefty plate of ħobż biż-żejt and a side of pastizzi tal-piżelli. After devouring his Maltese delicacies, Karmenu decided it was a perfect day to visit his cousin in Gozo. He sauntered down the streets of Sliema, admiring the hustle and bustle, the chatty tourists, and the limestone sparkling in the sun.

“Uwejja, what a beautiful day!” exclaimed Karmenu, as a shearwater whizzed by, almost nicking his head. Little did he know, this was a sign. An omen of the craziest carousel ride of his life.

When a Bus Ride Takes a Turn

En route to the Ċirkewwa Ferry Terminal, Karmenu hopped on the notorious Route 222 bus. A simple journey to Gozo was Karmenu’s plan, but fate had a different idea. As the bus meandered through the Maltese roads, passing by the ancient Mdina city walls, the driver suddenly veered into a mysterious side street, announcing, “Special detour, folks! Adventure awaits!”

The passengers murmured curiously among themselves. Was this a new touristic route, or had the driver lost his marbles?

The Bandli of Destiny

To everyone’s amusement and slight terror, the detour led to a long-forgotten bandli (carousel) in the heart of the haunted Buskett Gardens. The driver, who introduced himself as Spiru, jumped out and declared, “Surprise! Today’s a free ride day!”

“A free ride on a bandli? Mela, only in Malta!” –Karmenu’s inner voice screamed with a mix of thrill and skepticism.

Unbeknownst to the passengers, Spiru was a failed carnival operator dreaming of reliving his glory days. He had “borrowed” the bus and secretly modified the bandli to whirl at the speed of light – or at least the speed of a very frightened rabbit fleeing from a stew pot.

The Joyride of a Lifetime

Convinced by Spiru’s infectious enthusiasm, the passengers climbed aboard the bandli, gripping the handles of their fairy-tale horses and mythological creatures. The moment Spiru cranked the lever, the bandli sprung to life, spinning with such velocity that they could see their pastizzi-filled breakfasts threatening mutiny.

But in a mad twist of events, the centrifugal force became so intense that each passenger’s dearest dream materialized before their eyes. Karmenu, gripping a winged unicorn, found himself suddenly fluent in six languages – an unexpected boon for a man who’d once famously declared, “I speak Maltese and bad English, that’s kollox!”

When Social Media Goes Haywire

An aspiring influencer named Żeża, clinging to a fiery phoenix, miraculously amassed a million followers on TikTok within ten dizzying spins. Her feed was flooded with comments like “Is this the new Maltese Eurovision entry?!” and “Do a duet with the spinning rabbit from Gozo!”

The Aftermath

The bandli eventually came to a staggering halt, spitting out its dizzy occupants like galletti from a bag. As everyone stumbled off, dazed but oddly fulfilled, the Valletta skyline loomed back into view

Karmenu, now a linguist extraordinaire, bid farewell to his fellow joyriders and Snapped*, “Ejja, come on, let’s catch that ferry!” They boarded the bus once again, this time with Spiru cheerfully handing out għadam tal-mejtin (a traditional Maltese sweet) as if nothing had happened. The bandli, having spun its last whirlwind dream, retired quietly back into the Buskett Gardens.

And so, dear reader, the next time you fancy a trip to Gozo, remember to double-check your bus route, lest you end up on a bandli built for wish fulfillment and dizzying escapades. You might just get off speaking perfect Japanese or, dare we say it, find yourself elected as the next mayor of Valletta!

*Snapped: A term used in Malta when someone’s trying to show off their linguistic prowess, only to unintentionally create a hilarious Maltese-English language fusion.” –Times of Mela Lexicon Expert

Mela, remember to keep your wits about you and your breakfast inside you, ’cause in Malta, even a simple bus ride can whirl you right into the heart of adventure.