Friday, June 30, 2006

Six things

I found this on red enclave's blog and thought I would give it a shot.

Six weird facts, things or habits about yourself:

1. I love spiders. Most people find that pretty weird. If I find them in the house I leave them be. This means I've got spider webs hanging about here and there. Actually if the web looks deserted I remove it, but one's with a spider residing inside are left.

2. I don't particularly like children. Most people assume if you've got six of them then you must love kids. But this is not the case. I managed to stay kid- free for the first six years of my marriage. After arriving in Libya I ended up having a whole slew of kids because in the 90s there wasn't that many choices when it came to birth control in Libya and so here I am with six. I do love the children I have, but I probably wouldn't have had so many if I could have avoided it.

3. I say 'Elhamdulillah!' (Thank Allah!) a lot. I know this habit aggravates people and I used to feel self-conscious about this habit, but then I thought about it and realized that you get blessings every time you say it and since I can use all the blessings I can get people will just have to live with my habit. When the doctor woke me up from my surgery and asked me how I was. He said the first thing I said was 'Elhamdulillah!' He was so pleased.

4. I'm always on a quest for knowledge. When I was a kid I would read encyclopedias from cover to cover. If I don't learn something new everyday I feel like I've missed out somehow. I also like to learn about things that interest my friends. It gives me something to talk about and share with them. The result of this is that I have knowledge about things that I probably wouldn't have bothered to learn otherwise.

5. I'm punctual and I hate for people to be late. This is extremely frustrating to deal with in a country where hardly anyone gets anywhere on time (and sometimes they don't arrive at all).

6. I think I look at things differently than most people. I notice things that others somehow miss.

OK - go ahead and try your hand at 6 weird facts, things or habits about yourself. Just do me a favour and leave a comment so we can all have a look.

Is this a blog?

Here's an interesting blog I came across. Unfortunately there's no way to comment and the link for email has no link so I can't send an email. Also there's no RSS so I can't add it to my feedreader. Very frustrating! [click on the image to visit the blog] Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I've survived!

I've survived and I'm home now recuperating. Got to keep my legs elevated until tomorrow and then after that I can start walking about.

The staff at Khadara Hospital took very good care of me during my stay. I had lots of nice visitors, friends, students and my kids and husband of course . . . . hmmm . . . no in-laws showed up, but I didn't expect they would anyway. I got some beautiful flowers from my students and a friend gave me a nightgown with a matching bathrobe that is made from the softest cotton. It's almost too pretty to wear!

Thanks to all for the messages and comments. I should be back to work on Sunday or Monday.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I'll Be Back Soon!

I'm going to be under construction for a while. Tomorrow I'm having ambulatory phlebectomy, stab avulsion and ligation of my superficial saphenous.

Googling all that should keep you busy until I get back!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Today's Nora's sweet sixteen. I had some birthday candles but one (or maybe more) of the kids decided they liked chewing on the soft wax and when I looked for them they were all gone. We settled for four regular candles which worked fine. Sixteen candles would have probably started a fire anyway! Pizza and cake for Nora - Happy Birthday Sweetheart! Posted by Picasa

Mr Khaki at the hospital

We've been running around just about everyday for the past two weeks doing various medical stuff. Yesterday we had an appointment at Tripoli Medical Center to see a specialist to get another opinion about Adam's teeth.

TMC is a huge hospital. It's reportedly the largest hospital in North Africa. It has this fountain in front and is surrounded by lanscaped gardens. The main entrance hall reminds me of shopping malls in the US. Marble, stone, multilevel and high ceilings. It has the same acoustics - a kind of hollow echo with the sounds of voices, footsteps and water fountains. The main hall contains a public pharmacy, gift shop displays, a snack bar and the offices of the various out patient departments as well as the guarded entrances to the in patient parts of the hospital. We sat and people watched while we waited.

Off to one side is a small courtyard that had been turned into a cafe. There's a fountain in the center that's surrounded by bright blue Pepsi umbrella covered tables. It was nearly one o'clock in the afternoon by this time and the place was deserted. I was attracted to the colour and play of light and shadow and decided to take a picture.

Out of nowhere appeared a 'khaki man' Traditionally, the security all seem to wear khaki and I refer to them all as 'Mr. Khaki'. He was not pleased that I was taking a picture and said it wasn't allowed. I pointed out that I wasn't photographing any people, just the umbrellas and that the place was deserted. My husband came up to see what was going on and Mr Khaki blabbed on and on and on and on, about how he had seen me taking pictures of the fountain outside and allowed it, but that taking pictures of the hospital was not allowed. My husband said, 'She's not taking pictures of people, only the tables and umbrellas, and besides it's not like a public hospital is a military installation or something. There are no signs anywhere that say taking pictures is not allowed.' I said to Mustafa (in Arabic so Mr Khaki would be sure to understand), 'Oh never mind. It's always a negative story here.' and we walked away to wait near the door of the out patient department.

About two minutes later another 'Mr Khaki' came - he was wearing the same uniform but it was a grey one, and with him were two plain clothes guys. Mr Grey was appologizing profusely to my husband. He said he wanted us to know that they are not negative and didn't want to give a negative appearance or impression. If I wanted to take photographs I could take as many as I liked but I would have to report first to their office and get special permission.

I imagine these khaki men have their work cut out for them. Nearly everybody nowadays has a camera. While we were waiting we noticed two other people taking pictures with their cell phones. I really doubt that everyone who decides to take a picture will want to waste half the day explaining why they want to take a picture and what they want to photograph to the head hancho of the Mr Khaki brigade before they can take their picture. By then the picture would be long gone anyway.

By the time we left the hospital I was hot, tired, hungry and irritable. The fountains that had looked so colourful in the beginning just looked dirty now. hhmmm... Thanks Mr Khaki! You really made my day! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 24, 2006

It's war!

Today was a long, hot and exhausting day. I had too many things to do and everything going wrong (or so it seemed). So this evening we decided to change our 'jhaow' and go to the toystore and buy waterguns!

Yes! The boys were all for it! Waterguns! We've got five of 'em! Ibrahim (left), cousin Mehdi (center), and Yusef (right) - had a great time! Nora and my sister in law are complaining of course - 'Who is going to clean up the stairway?' they want to know. 'Hmmmm. . . it's water, it'll dry!' I replied. Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 23, 2006


Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were a big part of my diet when I was growing up - a typical American staple. You can buy peanut butter here in Libya but most Libyans don't eat it - my in laws think peanut butter is disgusting!

Here tuna is the preferred food of choice. It took me quite a while to get used to eating tuna. But for a special treat there's always chocolate spread - there's all kinds in the shops here. This kind is imported from Tunisia and is pretty cheap too - less than 4 dinars for a half kilo. . . . mmmmm.... yummy! Posted by Picasa

Hot water!

This morning I threw a load of laundry into the washing machine, added soap and turned it on. When the wash finished I opened the door to the washing machine and put my hand in to pull the clothes out and touched scorching hot, wet laundry.

Yikes! Summer is definitely here! There's boiling hot water coming straight from the tap - no need to bother with the water heater for the next few months. I've had the air conditioner running and didn't notice how hot it was outside. Now I'm hoping that none of my skirts have shrunk. If they have shrunk I will just be forced into losing more weight.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


I looked at my site statistics and found I've had over 20 thousand visitors. That's quite amazing!

I started this blog as a way to keep my family and friends back in the USA updated about my life here in Libya. It's kind of taken off and evolved into something a bit more than a journal of my boring life. Yes, my life is boring, but I try to be entertaining and also add pictures.

As well as comments on my blog, I get lots of off the blog emails from people all over the world. All kinds of people send me email: People who have family here in Libya, Libyans who were born and raised outside of Libya, Libyans who left and dream about the good old days, people who lived or worked at the old US airbase Wheelus, people whose father's died in Libya during the war and are buried in the war cemetary here, researchers and others interested in the Arab/Middle East/Islamic world, and lots of email from people wanting to do business here or move here, and of course people who want to come as tourists. I also get mail from people who have no connection at all with Libya or me - they just like reading my blog.

I try to answer the emails I get - but it's nearly impossible to answer everything. I do have a life beside this blog - a demanding job and 6 demanding kids as well as a husband (he's not demanding anymore - I think he's given up). So if you send me an email and I don't get back to you it's not because I'm ignorring you - I'm just busy.

Lost of people find my blog by looking on search engines. I can look on the site statistics and find out what words they put in to find me. Here's a list of keywords:

libyan drivers
aisha gaddafi
ladies tripoli libya
nude khadija
cactus jack entrance video
lady gharian
nura nalut
aisha gaddafi husband
from the halls of montezuema
have a representative call me now
going nude at home kids
Libyan ladies seeking a husband
Libyan passports
libya tmc hospital
email contact muslim male seaking female with there current profile
chinese jumprope
khadija adam pictures
expat apartment tripoli libya
hiv/aides in africa
arabic sitting room
blogspots tripoli
libyan exam results
tajoura golf
tripoli zoo
libyam channels
bluitgen koran
supermarkets tripoli libya

The 'nude khadija' and 'going nude at home kids' is funny. I think if they saw me nude they would either laugh themselves silly or get totally grossed out - lol! Maybe there is a porn queen out there somewhere named Khadija - hahaha. Of course 'Libyan ladies seeking a husband' is just soooo typical! And the 'cactus jack entrance video' I can't figure out at all. What on earth is cactus jack? And why is he making an entrance?

I've stumbled across many Libyan and Libyan related blogs, many because they read my blog and write to me or comment on my blog. I add them to my sidebar - and the list is really growing! Some of them write to tell me they were inspired to begin blogging after reading my blog. I find that fantastic as blogging is such a nice way to express yourself.

There's another new Libyan blogger - Go check out: Our Little Family Adventures - the blog of a Libyan family who live in the UK. I've added it to my sidebar for future reference.

Thanks for reading my blog!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

How's the weather in Libya?

Summertime in Libya is very hot. It's just the beginning of summer and it's expected to be about 40 (celsius) today - that's hot! Thank God most people have air conditioning nowadays. When I first came to Libya seventeen years ago, most people didn't have air conditioning and if they did they were so afraid of the effects it might have on their health that they would only turn it on for a short while everyday and often they would turn it on and leave the windows open at the same time. Summers back then were awful, especially if you were a woman who wore hijab!

The other day in class we were discussing weird weather phenomena in Libya and of course sandstorms came up as we remembered a few months ago we had quite a bad one. We also discussed the fact that Libya usually has quite mild winters. One of my students said it had snowed in Shahat (in the east of Libya) last March. He brought me some pictures that his friend took, it was a nice 'apple for the teacher'. I decided it would be a nice treat to post them on my blog to cool off anyone that is here in Libya enduring the 40 degree heat. They are really fantastic pictures! Enjoy!








. Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 19, 2006

On our farm. Posted by Picasa

Blog - Trip of a Lifetime

There's an interesting blog about a family of 7 who go to the homeland (Libya) of their father in a quest of excitement and wonder. Written by an American woman who has a Libyan husband, this is the journal of her family's first visit to Libya.

Will they like it here? Will they stay? What excitement lies ahead for this family of seven? Tune in to Trip of a Lifetime and see how the tale begins and follow old momma's story of how it all works out.

Of course, I've added the link to my sidebar for future reference.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

It's that time of the year again!

Every year at this time the Queen of the Night cactus that I brought back from my mother's garden in Florida blooms.

The plant itself really isn't much to look at, but the blooms are quite amazing! The plant is long, thin and snakelike and climbs up on any nearby plant or if it's planted in the garden next to a tree it will climb up into it. In June, small fuzzy buds begin to sprout from the sides of the cactus. They become long, about 6 inches or so and then one day, late in the afternoon the flower slowly begins to open. By midnight the flower is in full bloom. I took a picture with my hand holding the base of the flower to give you an idea of its size. For part of the night the flower emits a pleasant but very slight perfume.

By morning the flower has wilted and closed, never to open again. In a few days the spent blossom will fall off the plant. We all enjoy watching this spectacle of nature - even the neighbours come to have a look. It makes me happy to share something from my mom's backyard.


Yesterday was number one son, Adam's birthday. Hard to believe that I have a 17 year old son. Adam is too big to give birthday spankings to so we just had to be happy with singing him 'Happy Birthday!'. Adam's pretty tall. The last time he allowed me to measure him he was 6 foot 2 and a half. He's taller than that now but when I say to him 'Hey Adam how tall are you? Let's get the measuring tape out and check.' he runs off in the other direction saying 'Bari imshi!' (Go away!).

Adam is at the age where he thinks his parents are so uncool. Yesterday morning I said to him 'Hey Adam, lets go shopping. I'll get you something for your birthday.' He looked at me like I was crazy and said, 'I can't drive around in the car with you. What will the guys in the nieghbourhood think if they see me in the car with my mom? How embarrassing!'

Yusef suggested that if I let Adam drive then he would probably go along with my shopping idea, but Adam still doesn't have his drivers license and I don't like him driving. He does sneak off with the keys and ride around the neighbourhood from time to time, but I had a big fit about this and threatened him with bodily harm if he tries it again with my car. A year from now he'll be able to get a license and then he can nag his father about getting a car of his own.

In the evening I suggested that we go to the bakery and get a cake. But Adam was against the whole idea.'Do you think I am a little kid?' he said. So no cake for Adam. I decided not to get too excited about Adam's lack of interest in celebrating his birthday because Nora's birthday is just over a week away and she wants to have fun. So we will!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Joe's visit

Joe Tourist has finally finished organizing his photos and journal of his trip to Libya and has posted it on his website. Click on the image to visit his site or on this link: (I'm also going to add the link to my sidebar for future refference) Posted by Picasa

Are you happy?

Test your happiness with a test designed by psychologist Professor Ed Deiner from the Univ of Illinois. Click on the image above to visit BBC's site. They've got a whole bunch of stuff related to happiness. - I took the test, but in my opinion I think the results would depend on what kind of mood I was in when taking the test. What do you think? Posted by Picasa


The cat had kittens a few weeks ago and they are now at the stage of running around exploring everything. Mew, mew, mew . . . all over the house. We fixed up a cozy box for the cat and her offspring outside next to the door, but she keeps bringing them inside. She's so proud of her little family.

In a few weeks the kittens will be ready to face the world on their own. Does anybody want a kitty? There are three of them. Free! To a good home only, of course. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Shopping in Libya

I've been out shopping again. Not that that's anything new in my life because I spend a good portion of my life on the quest for a bargain. I usually love shopping, but there are times when I get so disgusted with the people who work in the shops.

Today I went out to pick up a few things. Since I have girls to buy for as well as myself, I spend lots of time looking in lingerie shops. Today's quest was bras so I popped into a nearby shop to see what they had. There was a nice big countertop with loads of bras - different types and styles. A few years ago you would be lucky to find any bras. Still the choice is limited and you have to hunt to find things of good quality, but the hunt is part of the fun.

I found the style I liked and was looking for the right size. Hovering about 6 inches away from me was the sales guy. 'What are you looking for?' - I ignorred him. Again he says, 'What are you looking for?' I turned and gave him the look I save for people who have just asked a very stupid question and replied, 'Isn't it obvious? I'm standing here with my hands on a pile of bras - What do YOU think I am looking for?' He got the message because he said nothing and backed away.

Why do salesmen come and suck your air while you are trying to buy things like bras and panties? And why they are standing right next to you in a flash if you go anywhere near thongs? One day if I'm bored and have time, I will do my best to torture the guy and start making him answer a zillion questions about all the lingerie in the store . . .make him wish he never worked there . . . If I had time . . . I seldom have time for such fun and games.

Another thing that I noticed while shopping for shoes was that if I go alone the sales guys pay no attention whatsoever to me. But if I take my girls they are all over us, ready to help in any way they can. This is fine if I want to buy something for the girls, but I hate shopping with Sara and Nora. Only Jenna has inherited my 'shop until you drop' gene. Sara and Nora are awful to shop with, especially Nora.

A few weeks ago I went out to buy a skirt. I walked into the shop and before I could even approach a clothes rack I was practically attacked by the sales guy. 'What do you want to buy?' he asked. Actually he didn't really say this, it came across more like a demand. I acted like I didn't hear him and headed for a selection of skirts. 'What do you want to buy?' he demanded again. I turned and looked at him and said. 'Maybe I don't want to buy anything. Maybe I just want to look. You know, some people just want to look on their own. If I need your help I will ask you. Back off please.' Sometimes you just have to be blunt with these characters!

He decided to back off and leaned over a clothes rack while he watched a football match on the ever present television. The thought that he had draped himself over merchandise that I might want to buy didn't occur to him and he had no idea at all that I considered his behaviour rude. I wasn't interested in giving this guy any of my money so I left the shop empty handed.

Occasionally I get really disgusted with these fools, and on those days I take revenge. It's very simple, all you have to do is say to the guy, 'I think I saw the baladiyah about a block away. Have they been in this area yet?' The guy will imediately turn pale. 'Baladiyah!' - the word is out. All up and down the row of shops the guys are pulling the shutters down. 'Baladiyah! Baladiyah!'

I can shut down all of Shara Jaraba in about ten minutes. . . . hehehehe

Sunday, June 11, 2006 hell of a long time!

All this business of going to funerals and contemplating life and death has got me thinking. . . . They say in Islam that if you die and go to paradise you will be with your spouse for eternity. Actually they say all kinds of things. . . and probably at the rate I'm going these days, I'll most likely find the bouncers at the gates tossing me out on my ear.

In any case, I'm not sure I find the idea of spending eternity with my husband very inviting. Will he still spend most of his time watching Aljazeera? Will he still complain about my cooking? Will he still have the annoying habit of stopping sentences midway - leaving me waiting for the end of the sentence? And what about the other annoying habits he has. . . . will I have to put up with THOSE for eternity too?

Eternity. . . why does the word eternity have such a negative connotation?

What would life be like if I couldn't torture my poor husband? hehehe

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A funeral

I've been to a funeral today. My husband's grandmother's sister passed away this morning. She was probably about 100 years old.

Khalti Turkiya was an amazing woman. She was extremely intelligent even though she had no formal education. Typical of most Libyan families, our family is huge, but Khalti always knew everyone's name. She never forgot anyone. Not only that, she would remember all kinds of facts about everyone; what they liked or didn't like, any health problems they might have and any interesting stories they might have. She wasn't being nosey, she was just sociable and friendly. Always happy to talk to everyone.

In Libya when ladies get old and their children have all grown they 'go visiting'. This means they visit everyone's family, spending a few days with each. We always loved it when Khalti Turkiya made it to my husband's family home. We looked forward to her visits because Khalti was a storyteller! We would all gather around and she would entertain us with accounts of her life, stories that were true and also tales she made up in her head. She kept us mesmerized and because her stories were often funny we were always laughing. She also had a vast amount of poetry and songs that she had memorized, some going back to her early childhood years. I was always amazed at the things Khalti knew about. She was probably a genius in her own right - imagine if she had been given an education!

May God bless her and reward her for all the good that she did in her life!

Before leaving the house for the funeral I checked my email and found that my sister had bought me a subscription to flickr. So now I can upload pictures to my hearts content. Have a look. Thanks Sis!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Some blogs

I've been adding to my list of Libyan and Libya related blogs. Have a look if you can pull yourself away from the World Cup!
  • White African - a Manchester / Tripoli blogger
  • Reflections - a Libyan blogger from Oklahoma
  • Libyan Violet - a Libyan multicultural and multiracial single mum. Striving to bridge the East and West.
  • Maiuna - lives in Tripoli but she's from Darnah
  • Mhmoud Essalah - Into the mind of Mhmoud who's in Canada

    I've added them to my sidebar for future reference.

What Color Green Are You?

I'm Teal Green!

You are a one of a kind, original person. There's no one even close to being like you.
Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible.
While you are a bit offbeat, you don't scare people away with your quirks.
Your warm personality nicely counteracts and strange habits you may have.
I took this quiz out of curiosity - the 'green' in me is teal.
How did they know that was my favourite color?
Says I'm offbeat and quirky. . . . what do you think about that?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Another visit to the castle

OK . . . everyone's been nagging me, both on and offline, about what has been keeping me busy these days. Well, one of the things that I've been up to is having another look into the castle - the Saray el Hamra - that is located in Tripoli's medina next to the Green Square. Part of it has been turned into a museum which is open to the public, but the other parts of the castle are closed to the general public. These parts contain offices of the Archiological Society and and currently many parts of the castle are being restored.

It was a hot morning but the atmosphere inside the castle was cool and calm. The hustle and bustle of downtown Tripoli was not heard. It was so peaceful to walk through the castle. You could almost feel the spirits of the past lingering in every corner.

There are old water wells scattered throughout the castle. Here you can see a well. I wonder how many buckets of water did it take to create the grooves made by the rope?

There are various types of fountains and tiles throughout the castle.

Arches . . . doorways . . . and steps . . . the place is like a maze!

The castle was continually being added to throughout it's history. There are many styles of columns used in the castle. Some were brought in from Leptis Magna and Sabratha and recycled in the Turkish period.

The Turks often used the crecent symbol in their designs.

Lot's of restoration is needed. Here's a sample of new tiles.

This is a view from one of the offices located inside the castle.

An amazing amount of archives are stored inside. Maps, designs, pictures. Some very old and some new.

I was really impressed with the amount of information. . . rooms and rooms of it all.

This was guarding a doorway in a courtyard. Posted by Picasa

Another fountain. This area has been restored.

Some courtyards are shady and cool.

Other courtyards are bright and sunny.

In the back part of this picture you can see the top floors of the adjacent museum. Part of this was built when the museum was added.

A window . . .

Another kind of window.

There is an extensive library containing books written in a multitude of languages. Also some of the tables and chairs in the library are antique. The table and chair in this picture dates back to the Turkish period.

Room after room of cataloged books and resource material. For someone like me who loves books, this was pretty close to being heaven!

There are roads inside the castle too.

A door with intricately carved designs.

A doorway and fountain.

Shade and light.

There are various kinds of lights hanging from archways. Now they have electricity in them, but in the days before electriciy they must have had gas, oil or candles in them.

Another light. The sunlight shining through the coloured glass makes the lights glow in the daytime too.

I'll be uploading my pictures to flickr . . . I've reached my limit for this month but check them from time to time to see if I've added more. Posted by Picasa

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