Times of Mela Exclusive: The Mdina Gate Mishap

When Maltese Pomp Meets Technology

Mela, picture this: In an ebulliant attempt to merge tradition with modern technology, the Mdina local council decided it was high time to upgrade the city’s historic gate with facial recognition software. “To keep out the unwanted tourists,” they said, aiming to only let in those who could pronounce ‘Ċisk’ correctly.

Enter Żaren, a well-meaning yet hapless local tech whiz, tasked to implement this revolutionary change. What could possibly go wrong, you ask? Uwejja, hold onto your ġbejniet because this story takes twists and turns stickier than a treacle ring on a hot summer’s day.

The Cast of Characters

Żep Camilleri, the self-appointed guardian of the Mdina gate and our protagonist.
Leli l-Barri, a fast-talking fenek (rabbit) farmer with a penchant for conspiracy theories.
Tina tal-Ħelu, the sweet-toothed festival organizer with a sour disposition.

The “Cutting-Edge” Upgrade

As the sun blazed over the honey-colored stones of Mdina, Żep watched Żaren fiddle with what appeared to be a mix between a camera and a car battery. “Kollox sew, Żaren?” he asked, skepticism creeping into his tone like snails after a plate of leftover timpana.

Iva, mela! It’s like we’re in the Jetsons now!” Żaren beamed with pride, unaware of the mayhem he was about to unleash.

All Hail the AI Overlord

“Taħt il-Patrunat tas-Sindku, I hereby declare the Mdina Gate smart!” Leli bellowed to the crowd gathering, turning a hue that matched the pastizzi he clutched fervently in his hand.

At first, things went swimmingly. The new gate expertly waved through locals, who chuckled, tossing their heads back in laughter as they bellowed “Ċisk!” But then, along came Tina, ready to welcome guests to the annual ħobż biż-żejt fest. That’s when the gate, in a rather haughty electronic accent, snootily declared, “Access denied.”

An Unexpected Plot Twist

Tina, who could out-bake any figolla competition with one hand tied behind her apron, was not one to be trifled with. She jabbed a sticky finger at the camera and hissed, “This thing doesn’t even know good Maltese when it hears it!”

Żaren’s programming, it seemed, had grave errors – it had learned from online videos, where it mistook Maltese for a heavily accented version of Italian, and now, it turned away anyone who wasn’t belting out an operatic aria.

Chaos Ensues

As tourists in Valletta boarded the tour bus to Mdina, clutching selfie sticks like knight’s swords, the gate’s misprogramming spread word faster than gossip in a village square. It was denying entry to everyone – from the Gozitan cheese sellers to the Dutch family attempting “Għana” around the corner.

The Unlikely Hero

But it was Leli, with his wild theories about AI taking over the world, who saved the day. Armed with nothing but a plate of rabbit stew strategically placed in front of the camera, he lured stray cats to the gate, whose indifferent meows miraculously granted them access. The gate, it turned out, was a closet cat enthusiast.

Resolution with A Side of Irony

The council was red-faced but took it all in stride, with Żep declaring sheepishly, “Mela, the next time we try to mix old with new, maybe we’ll start with something simpler,” as he handed Żaren a broom to manually sweep guests in.

Interactive Maltese Lessons with Tech Support

And so, the Mdina Gate Mishap came to an end. Żaren enrolled in Maltese lessons, the gate now doubles as a tutor, and the locals never let the tourists live down the time AI was foiled by feline charm and a good plate of stew.

It’s all in the pronunciation, uwejja!” Żep laughed, as visitors queued for their turn to try and coax the gate into letting them inside Mdina, the silent city that, for a moment, was anything but silent.