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The other day while we were on our way to work, when we got on the bus we saw these posters hung up inside of the bus advertising the Isle of MTV. We weren’t sure what it was at first, since this was the first we’d heard of it but when we brought it up with our co-workers we heard “It’s something you HAVE to go to at least once”. So we were a bit intrigued. Unfortunately we couldn’t go ourselves, ended up having to stay late at work due to a deadline, but a bunch of our friends went and have provided us with some feedback.

It is an absolutely massive, free party hosted once a year by MTV in Malta. They bring in singers from all over and it can host up to 30,000 people. It’s a pretty amazing party from all the sounds of it.

Some videos of the festivities can be found here.

But they had some pretty amazing headliners in Nicole Scherzinger, Enrique Iglesias, Hardwell, Dizzee Rascal and Kiesza. There were a lot of smaller acts as well, and even fireworks during the show. One of our friends even took a water taxi to the event, which in our opinion is a damned cool way to get there!

The buses run late on the night so that people can get home who don’t want to walk and don’t want to take a taxi. So if you’re worried about transport, it won’t be a problem.

If you’re interested in finding out more check out their facebook, twitter, and website.

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Paceville area highlighted on map

We had a bit of curiosity about the area known as Paceville in St Julian’s, Malta, so we decided to do some looking into it. The wikipedia entry had very little to say other than the very basics of history. So we did a little more digging to find out more to fill people in who were curious!

Paceville is a name the locals have given the area, and is pronounced Pa-che-ville. It is generally known as the tourist hotspot of the island, as well as a place for all the local party people to go. There are many bars, restaurants and hotels along the strip of the city and always a thriving nightlife. As soon as the sun drops you can hear the music go louder and the bass resonates. If you’re staying in one of the local cheaper apartments and hotels, be prepared to be listening to club beats well into the morning every day. If you’re not prepared for that, I’d suggest looking a little further into St Julian’s for a hotel.

According to sources, the area was originally a farming community which gradually began redeveloping in the 1960’s with the Sheraton hotel opening on the Dragonara Peninsula. Soon the Hilton followed (it really is a beautiful hotel) and now with two five star resorts in the area, there was a lot going on. In the 1990’s it got a real boom in terms of development with the introduction of the casino at the Dragonara Point by the Westin. This is now the area of the iconic hotel you see in most people’s photos of the area, and is absolutely stunning. But remember to wear your nice dress wear if you’re going to the casino. No dress clothes and you won’t get in.

There is the Bay Center located just at the end of the street of bars/pubs/clubs, which has free wi-fi and a lot of shops if you’re looking for something to do other than partying. It also includes a gym and movie theatre. Personally, I have to warn you that if you’re from North America or the UK, you’re going to find the movie theatres well behind the times. That being said, it’s still a fun thing to do.

There are a lot of people out partying, and when we first arrived, as a person who isn’t big into drinking and clubbing I found that I thought negatively. But the nightlife is so vibrant and there are many options other than getting completely drunk while in this area. However, the Maltese really know how to party. The clubs are so much fun, and it is the predominant way that people meet people we’ve been told by all of our Maltese colleagues. So if you’re new to the island, please don’t look at the younger people there and judge it negatively. The entire area can be an absolute blast and there is something so freeing about just letting loose and having a bit of fun partying every once and a while.

We found out today we’re going to be in our own episode of House Hunters International! They’re filming us in Malta, as well as a back story for us in the UK (where Kai is from). I am so excited, this will be so amazing!

More details to follow when we know the shooting dates :)

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When you arrive in Malta, you’ll know right away that there really aren’t that many options as far as banks go to choose from. In most people’s eyes there are two main banks – Bank of Valetta and HSBC. However, it can be very difficult to get a bank account in Malta if you are a foreigner. There are several ways to go about it, and you may find that HSBC and BoV are not the best options when you are initially starting out.

One thing to be aware of is that Malta does not run on a formal credit system, so they can’t just verify who you are or even check into your credit history. This can work in your favour if you’ve had trouble in the past, but can be very difficult for you when you first move there. You won’t be getting credit anywhere, as most places require at least 5-6 years of credit history in Malta before you’ll get anything. So be prepared for this before you  move. Plan accordingly.

So, the first thing you need to know is they’re going to ask you for:

  • A Tax ID number – You will get this in the mail after starting work, or alternatively you can go to the Tax Office in Valetta with your ID and SSN and request it.
  • Proof of Address
  • Proof of work
  • Your Passport
  • If you have it, your Residence Card

They will then tell you that you need to provide them with the details of your bank in your home country. At this point, they will email your bank requesting proof that you were a customer there and that you have good standing. Only then will they give you an account. Now, in most cases banks would never release that information, as privacy laws mean they can’t. So in these circumstances you’re often left waiting forever as they’ll never hear back.

There are a few ways to get around this. 

Open a bank account with HSBC in your home country a 3-6 months before you go to Malta, as then you could go to an HSBC in Malta and they WILL be able to get records, as it’s the same bank.

If you aren’t keen on HSBC:

Baniff is a Maltese bank that will allow you to open an account without all of that runaround, however you do have some downsides. In order to use a debit/credit card you have to agree to place money into a savings account every month to the tune of 100 euros upfront and 50 a month every month or the card will be deactivated. You cannot use the money in this savings account at all during the year, every year it is reviewed and given back to you and the process starts again. Only after 2-5 years will this not be necessary. Otherwise you can choose to simply have the account and only go into branches to withdraw money using a passport/residence card to withdraw.

Bank of Valetta will be the hardest for you. They have the most bank machines and the best reputation, but without having at least 6 months track record in Malta, you’re going to find it ridiculously hard to open an account there.

My personal advice would be this: Open an account with HSBC in your home country 6+ months before moving to Malta. After the 6 months, you can then look at Bank of Valetta as a bank, as you would have your residence card by then and a track record of banking in Malta. But this is just my take on it.

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If you’re from somewhere outside of Malta you may be a bit worried about where to buy your groceries, whether it’ll be very different from what you’re used to. But some good news is to be had. There aren’t a lot of differences from where you’re from, especially if you’re from elsewhere in Europe. The opening hours can be a bit difficult to get used to here though, due to siestas in the middle of the day and closure of everything on Sundays. So make sure you plan your shopping!

If you’re in the Sliema/St Julian’s area, there are a lot of fruit/veggie trucks, and they’re all fresh from that day. The prices are decent and definitely something to take a look at. You may not find the biggest selection on them, but the food is fresh and often from the farmers plot of land just that morning which is a really cool thing that most people won’t be used to.

Tower Supermarket is a wonderful store to go to if you’re in the Sliema area, as it has 3 floors, all of the variety you could ask for and great opening hours. One of the wonderful things is the sales they have, usually if you spend over a certain amount you are going to end up getting free things or vouchers for money off. It’s great and the staff are very pleasant.

Lidl is available in Malta, much to everyone’s happiness as it’s a little bit of home! They’re not in the more tourist areas, so you may need to get a bus to one if you don’t have a car. That being said the Lidl in Malta are absolutely huge. So have a look at Lidl when you’re in Malta definitely.

Shopping online is actually a great option for grocery shopping here. It was a suggestion made to us by a lot of local Maltese people, given that you really only have Saturday to grocery shop if you’re working regular office hours. So the best site to go to is:
http://www.maltasupermarket.com/

This has a group of local stores linked into it, including Tower I mentioned above and deliver right to your door in a window you set. It covers the entire island and is super convenient. Really can’t recommend it enough.

If you are looking for local vendors in a specific area, please have a look here, as there’s a huge compiled list from MaltaMaltaMalta.