I am on a Libyan Adventure
Which means I am currently sat in my room, Air Conditioning on trying to cool down as I read about snow falling in the UK.
As I have previously mentioned I have travelled to Libya for about 3 weeks with work. We are supporting the General Company for Gas Transportation and Distribution in the construction of a 190km pipeline across the Libyan Desert.
I am currently in Area 103 which is about 60km west of the town of Jalu. The pushpin below is an approximation of where I am.
Starting the week in Tripoli, I flew in to Tripoli Airport on a Sunday to be collected by a driver.
Having walked through many airports and have always seen people standing with signs. I always thought it would be nice to be met like that make yourself feel important.
I have now had my sign moment. It did not feel as important as I thought I would, maybe because in Tripoli airport everyone gets a sign moment.
Leaving the airport I am driven into the city. It was one of the top 5 most terrifying car journeys I have ever been it. To be honest, the top 4 all happened on this trip, driving in Tripoli is only for the brave.
Start with the motorway style roads. Here people overtake, undertake, drive with half the car in one lane half the car in the other
It seems you just point the car in one direction and drive straight at 120km/h. If the road curves you only turn if you really have to. People come right across the front of you as they drive straight across a bend.
Next, duel carriageway type road. Here you find the situation where there are two lanes of road but four lanes of traffic and possibly five if there is a junction. The positive is we are now only doing 80km/h. However when you going along and all of a sudden there is a crossroad with two cars halfway across the road trying to turn left (They drive on the other side to use). My driver did not slow down, he just gives a gentle toot on the horn and swerves around behind them. I just closed my eyes and held on.
Then there are the pot holes in the road which I think put the craters on the moon to shame.
Despite the driving, Tripoli is self was dated but very friendly. I had a run-in with the hotel over exchanging money – they saw me coming a mile off – but I never felt in any danger walking the streets or exploring.
I managed to have half a day in central Tripoli exploring the old town, seeing the souks of the Medina. They were full of colour, variety and the hustle and bustle of people everywhere. It is a place you can get lost walking down an ally and find various spice trader or gold traders. I am no expert and some of the merchandise looked less than genuine but some look very authentic.
I finally weaved my way to the far end of the Medina. Here the Arch of Marcus Aurelius can be found, this roman structure stood as previously one of the main entrances into the City.
I also managed to attach myself to the back of an Italian walking tour. This let me get a visit the inside of a mosque taking some wonderful photos.
I closed off the evening walking back to my hotel and stopping in a less than authentic eating establishment to have a chicken kebab and salad and bread.
I was a real eye-opener to some very extreme ranges on living circumstances. From the brand new Marriott Hotel with its fancy light show on the outside to people collecting plastic bottle from rubbish dumps in the derelict parts of the old city.
Up next the flight out to the desert…