I got the following letter from Nathan with questions about Libya. I've tried to answer his questions, but if you have anything to add please click on comments.
Hi, my name is Nathan and I am very interested in Libya. I have never been to Libya, and there isn't a lot of information available. Would it be okay if I asked you several questions? Thank you.
1. Is there a supermarket in Libya? (something like Walmart or Kroger???)
There is no Walmart or Kroger here, but there are plenty of supermarkets, the Mahari for example. Libya imports most of it's food from Europe or other Arabic countries and also the far east. You will find a wide selection and most of the name brands as well. Frozen foods are lacking though, but Libya makes up for that by having wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables as well as fresh meats, chicken and fish (no pork though).
2. Is there a golf course? Tennis Club? Horseriding Club?
There is a golf course of sorts in Tajoura. Many people play golf and find it challenging as the course is sand and rocky. Tennis is available in Reggata, the Diplomats club in Ain Zarah as well as other places. Horseriding is also available in Janzour and also in Tripoli.
3. Any nice hotels besides the Corinthia?
Other hotels are The Grand Hotel, Bab Bahar, Mahari and others.
4. Thing to do in Tripoli? (at night or day)
While there are no nightclubs here in Tripoli you can find many cafe's. Walk along the seafront on the cornishe, restaurants . . .
5. Places to visit??? (other than Leptis)
Sabratha, the beach - Nagaza and Farwa Island as well as many other beautiful places along the coast, the old city in Tripoli, a drive in the mountains, the qasrs in Gharian, and Nalut, Ghadames and a visit to the dessert . . .
6. Are there any restaurants? Chinese? Italian? or even Fast food?
Restaurants are abundant. Chinese, Turkish, Lebanese, Italian, Seafood, pizza, fast food as well as restaurants that serve traditional Libyan cuisine.
7. Where are the young and upcoming hip neighborhoods in Tripoli? any cool shops?
Gargaresh and Benashur (Jaraba Street). Many foriegners are choosing to live in Janzour and Siraj areas.
8. How about an art museum, art gallery, or movie theater?
The main museum located in the castle next to the Green Square is wonderful. There are movie theatres around the city but most people prefer to rent videos or DVDs and watch at home.
9. Is it safe? at night? for women? for foreingers?
Tripoli is very safe, for women, foriegners and at all times of the day or night. As in any city you should take care when shopping or visiting the bank or ATM machines. The driving is probably the most dangerous thing about Libya. No traffic laws are followed - drive or ride at your own risk.
10. Does Libya have highspeed broadband internet?
ADSL is available: http://www.lttnet.com/ and dial up is also widely available. There are internet cafes all over.
11. Is it easy to purchase everyday items such as food and clothes?
Food and clothes are everywhere and bargains can be found.
12. Last but not least, is English spoken and understood around Tripoli?
Many people speak English in Tripoli. For a while English was banned in the schools but now it is being taught again. Many Libyans take courses in English and they are trying to catch up with the rest of the world. They know that to get anywhere in the future they need English. One problem is that Libya has NO signs in English - only Arabic. This is a headache for anyone visiting that doesn't know Arabic. But it is common for even Libyans (the older people) not to know how to read - so no one thinks it strange if you ask them 'What does this say?'
Once again thank you very much.
Please readers - if you have anything to add, please click on comments.