Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy Eid

Eid Day started as usual with Eid prayers at the mosque, afterwards we set off for my mother-in-law's house to slaughter our sheep with the family. It probably seems appalling to those living in non-Muslim countries to think that kids would all gather round to watch an animal being slaughtered, but kids in Muslim countries are used to the idea of the annual sacrifice and look forward to the excitement.

Our sheep was ready.... or was he? No apparently he wasn't going to give up with out a fight. He managed to get loose and try to make a run for it. Big excitement as all the boys ran around chasing after it, while the girls all squealed and ran out of the way!

They managed to catch the poor thing, and in no time at all he'd breathed his last (Allahu Akbar!).
Everyone had a job to do - most important was my mother-in-law who made sure everyone had enough hot milk, coffee and tea to help them get a start on the day. She also made sure that everyone was doing their job. She'd been up since the crack of dawn making sure all the knives, dishes and other equipment were ready and had even covered the entire garage floor with cardboard so the mess would be easier to clean up when we were finished.

Even Ibrahim lent a helping hand - he was the official leg holder.

The men continued to slaughter the sheep one by one....

....while the woman prepared the stuffing for tradition Libyan sausages, called usban. Chopped up liver, meat, bits of fat, parsley, onions, rice, tomato paste and spices are all mixed together and stuffed in the sheep's intestines, then it's all steamed until it's cooked. - I hate it, but everyone else loves it.
By the afternoon we were back home and I hung my salted meat out on the line to dry.

It was a long day, but a nice one. I wish you all - Happy Eid!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Your own personal tour-guide!

This evening I was reading The New York Times on my newly installed New York Times Reader and came across an article about tourists using narrated walking tours that were pre-recorded and downloaded onto their MP3 players and iPods. [Away From the Tour Group, an MP3 Player as Your Guide]

Wow! I thought, wouldn't that be perfect for taking tours around the old city, museum and places like Sabratha and Leptis? It could certainly be an improvement of the kind of tours that Jax and Scoutie took while visiting Libya recently: Santa doesn't go to Libya. Does anyone want to try their hand at creating a tour of the interesting places around Libya?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Where is this? - #15

Here's a new picture for the 'Where is this?' challenge. If you think you know where it is (or you want to guess) click on comments. Click on the picture to see an enlarged image.

The pictures for the game 'Where is this?' have all been taken from someplace in Libya and are in an area open to the public. The prize for the winner will be the satisfaction of knowing that you had the right answer! - I'll let you know who the winner is.

*** So far only Highlander has tried to answer this challenge... Is it because it's too difficult this time? I've decided to give you some hints! - see how nice I am!!

Hint # One : It's not in Tripoli

Hint # Two :
Hope this helps!!
Beacon commented: Is it on the way to or in Tajoura?

and I said: Beacon.... be more specific!

Then Syd commented: The old church on the Tagura high way that goes to Benghazi road ? It is on a small hillock that has been bulldozed on one side . It is on the left hand side as you drive toward the sea ?

Well, it's in Tajoura and Syd has placed it exactly - so I guess credit should go to both, but more to Syd. It's actually not a church but a chapel which is smaller than a church. From the information that I have it was built by the Italian family that once lived on that land and was used by the families and their workers that lived in the area.

The structure is crumbling but it's interesting to see and photograph. I imagine it would make a really weird black-and-white set for a music video or something.

There are still some farms in the area but many houses are being built on the farmland. We talked with one of the boys living nearby and he said that people often stop by to take photos of the old chapel. I don't think that I've ever seen any online.

There isn't much left of the structure, one side is almost completely gone.

The chapel was once a gathering place for the people who lived near, now the chapel is only visited by crazy people like me with their cameras.... and a home to pigeons and bats.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Education in Libya

Recently an office opened up in a house in a residential area of Tripoli. While passing by I noticed that they had installed a sign announcing that this was the 'home' of the Libyan National Commission for Education, Culture and Science.

I found a few things rather strange about this. First, was that the sign was written in both Arabic and English. What's strange about that, you ask? Well, according to Libyan laws it is illegal to have any signs in languages other than Arabic. Stiff fines are imposed on anyone who breaks this law. I guess that the education commission is exempt, but that's weird because I think these are a the same people who are behind the law in the first place.

But what is even more of an eye opener is that on closer inspection of the sign I found this:

I wasn't sure whether I should cry, laugh, or just feel ashamed.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The neighbours upstairs are making us crazy!

The workers upstairs are so stupid! They've been banging away like mad in the bathroom. The noise has been deafening. Recently it sounded as though they would be breaking through the ceiling at any moment. Mustafa and Adam went up to investigate and what do you suppose they found?

The workers were indeed trying to go through the floor and into our flat! The had bought huge pipes, the kind that are used outdoors to connect the house to the sewer systems, and they wanted to connect these pipes from the bathtub drain across the bathroom and then on to the outside sewer system. But in order for them to fit they decided that they would have to go through the ceiling in my bathroom and then on and out through the wall of my bathroom. They said they wanted these big, huge pipes so that there would never be a problem with the drains getting clogged. (Maybe they think people are in the habit of using the bathtub as a toilet!!)

They'd managed to knock away the floor up there so that the ceiling is only about an inch thick! I suggested they could just continue on knocking out the hole and put in some steps and share our bathroom. They have revised their original plans and today they are upstairs trying to sort out their near disaster. Now, not only is there banging going on, there's lots of shouting and yelling too because Mustafa has decided that since the new neighbour can't manage to supervise his workers than he will do it.

hmmm... maybe I should get a pot of tea going just in case stupid Egyptian peasants who call themselves plumbers visitors 'drop' in unexpectedly.

By the way... I'm switching my blog to the new Beta version. You'll have to be a bit patient while I make sure all the links and things work.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Well, here I go again....

Well, here I go again, posting a holiday story...

My students have been set the task of writing a childhood memory. I wrote one last year and posted it on our school's blog as an example. I've dug it out once again for my students.

I thought I would mention it on my blog for anyone who wanted to read it... it's got a nice holiday theme! Here's the link: A childhood memory - Christmas story

Happy Holidays to you all!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Some progress

The doors and windows are finally being installed in the house. They still need to be stained and varnished with the final colour (which of course we're arguing about). It's starting to look like some progress is being made but of course for every step forward it seems there are two steps backward...
The painter convinced my husband that orange ceilings were 'all the rage' nowadays and that we should paint ours that way. In real life the ceiling is actually a much brighter orange than it appears in the picture above. Needless to say, I was not pleased! The ceiling will be repainted, white .... OR ELSE!!!!!!

Aside from the fiasco of the orange ceiling the guest room's bathroom floor needs to be pulled up and tiled all over again because water pools in the corner instead of going down the drain like it's supposed to.

Eventually the house will be finished.... won't it???

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A winner!

Someone has the correct answer to 'Where is this? - #14. Have a look to see who it is and to see the pictures I've added.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Air Show in Libya

I didn't have time to attend the recent air show that was held this past week at Meetiga Airport, the old Wheelus Airbase, but my husband went and took Ibrahim. He also took my camera and I've uploaded the pictures here: Air Show - Libya 2006

I'd also like to mention.... So far only one person has tried a guess at the latest 'Where is this?' challenge! What's the matter? Is it too difficult??? Have a look here: Where is this? - #14

Libyan Roads are Deadly!

In the past two days I've had two funerals to attend. Both were unfortunate victims of car accidents. Everyone in Libya knows how dangerous the driving is here and most people blame the drivers themselves. People do not obey the laws... I often wonder if there are any traffic laws here.

Lack of good old common sense is also a huge problem but the cause of one of the accidents was not the driver himself, it was because the roads are not being properly maintained. The driver hit a huge pothole in the road and lost control of the car resulting in the death of the passenger. The driver is in serious condition in the hospital's intensive care unit. Talk at the funeral revealed that the same pothole has caused the deaths of at least nine people so far.

Beacon, a Libyan blogger, has a new blog featuring road safety. Check it out here: Tripoli Nights
I'll add it to my sidebar for future reference.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A meme - 6 weird things

Ok... so I've been tagged with a meme by Zaynab. The 6 weird things about me, meme. Actually it's quite strange because I was only discussing my weirdness about an hour before I got tagged. This particular person seems to think I'm normal for some reason and gets angry when I say that I think I'm weird.

I suppose there are different degrees of weirdness and who's to judge what's really weird after all? Is anyone normal? And what is normal anyway?

Well, here's six things about me that are weird:

1. I work even when I'm sleeping. When I'm asleep my mind is going full speed ahead. Whenever I have a difficult project going I go to sleep at night and I figure things out while I'm sleeping. It works very well most times but it can cause me to wake up with a severe headache if I've been concentrating extremely hard about something. I get some of my best ideas while I'm asleep so an occasional headache is acceptable. I also use this method to find things that I've misplaced. I think about the item before I go to sleep and then I find it while sleeping. In the morning it is right where I envisioned it would be. Works nearly every time!

2. I seldom watch TV. I've no time for it, and I can't sit still long enough to watch an entire program anyway. My husband can't understand how I can sit in front of the computer for hours - I can do that because I've usually got at least 6 things going on at once - multi-tasking to my heart's content.

3. Spiders - I love them!

4. I can give someone the silent treatment indefinitely. I'm a very patient person, but I reach my limits and when I get fed up I just switch the person off completely. One of my sister in laws got the silent treatment for 6 years. I only gave up because she forced the truce by coming to the hospital when my daughter Jenna was being born and insisted on being the first person to see me when I came out of the delivery room. She bent over me and kissed me and begged my forgiveness - I gave in. Had she not done that I would still not be speaking to her. Now whenever she gets out of line with me I remind her that I can stop speaking to her and this straightens her out immediately.

5. I try to look on the bright side and find humour in things... this has probably helped me to survive in Libya. I don't think you can live here without a sense of humour. 'What's so funny?' and 'What are you smiling/laughing about?' is something I hear from people all the time. - I can't always explain it, they just don't see the humour in things the same way I do.

6. I can't stand to have anything cover my face. If I'm sleeping I must have my face outside the blanket. No way could I ever do 'the black veil thing' that is becoming so popular these days in Libya.

The rules say I must tag six people.... six weird people?.... who am I to say who is weird and who is normal?..... Do it if you think you're weird enough!

Where is this? - #14

Here's a new picture for the 'Where is this?' challenge. If you think you know where it is (or you want to guess) click on comments. Click on the picture to see an enlarged image.

The pictures for the game 'Where is this?' have all been taken from someplace in Libya and are in an area open to the public. The prize for the winner will be the satisfaction of knowing that you had the right answer! - I'll let you know who the winner is.


Onlibya says:

"It is in Hay Al-Andaloos, diagonal from the old Aluminum shoping center, north of the road going west." and "O.K, I think I got the answer for you there teri, it is the Language school in Gurji. Next to Alfurqan little shop of etc's. Did I get it? If yes, what is my prize? J.L"
Yes, that's it! You've won! The prize is knowing you've got the correct answer... but some people have suggested I give a 'real' prize. Maybe in the future... I'll have to think about it... Congratulations Onlibya!

So where is this? It's a view of the small park in Hay Al-andaloos, near the old Suk Hay Al-andaloos. I was near there on Thursday and Friday because Nora, my daughter, had an exam at the Cambridge exam center that is located next to the park, while I was waiting for her I snapped a few pictures. Here are some more:

Libyan Museums

I found this on the web and thought it would be of interest to many who read my blog. Now I know which direction to head for next time I'm in the mood to visit a museum.

Museums and the Web for information, and Museums in Libya on Flickr for the image.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

cooler weather has arrived

It's finally starting to feel like winter here. It's been raining on and off for the past few days and the nights are cold enough now that you have to close the windows and use a blanket. - my favourite kind of weather!

The banging upstairs continues. Yesterday I hung out 4 loads of laundry and then heard the doorbell ring. It was the guy from upstairs asking if I would move the laundry because they were going to be working on the balcony above it and didn't want to get cement on my newly laundered clothing. . . . They never bothered to tell me this last week when they were working on the balcony over my car. I came out and found spots and splashes of cement all over it. Thank God for the rain - it washed most of it off the car and there wasn't any damage. I do wish all the renovating would finish... the noise, the dust and the inconvenience are driving me mad. Now I've got a house full of damp laundry, hanging over every available surface.

This will be the day visitors arrive...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Hiking in Rega'at

Yesterday we went with some friends to Rega'at for a picnic and hike in the mountains. As we started out on our adventure it looked as though it might be a day of rain and it sprinkled a bit on the trip out to Rega'at. But by the time we arrived the weather had cleared and was perfect for the rest of the day. [click on the images to see bigger pictures]

After we filled ourselves with hamburgers we headed for the hills. Bates Mountain, named after the English man who surveyed it sometime in the 18th or 19th century, isn't very big as far as mountains are concerned, but it is quite a challenge for couch potatoes and housewives! It can actually be quite dangerous if you're not careful.

'Ibrahim! Watch out!' and 'Ibrahim! Be careful!' and 'Ibrahim! Stop throwing rocks!'

We all enjoyed looking at the mountain's many treasures. Here's a new friend, Ian, looking at some fossilized shells.

It's amazing to think that this mountain was once part of the sea.

This plant smells almost like oregano or thyme. I brought a handful home with me, some will find it's way into my sauce pots this week.

Is it a centipede? A milipede? - it's got 40 legs! hmm.... centi = 100, does mili = 1 million? I'll have to google it.

Tiny plants growing from cracks in the rocks.

Near the summit we took a break to catch our breath. The views of the surroundings were breathtaking. - catching our breath... breathtaking views... fresh air to breathe... breathless... lol

Poor Mustafa! There is no Aljazeera up here!

The view of the Jafara Plain is dotted with farms and olive trees.

After a few hours it was time to descend. We took a route we had never tried before. It was more difficult than the usual way but we enjoyed the challenge.

In real life this was a zillion times more beautiful!

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