Saturday, October 27, 2007

Amusing ourselves

The last few weekends I've been trying to take the kids out and see what's available around town for them to do. A week ago we went to the zoo. Of course, we'd been there many times in the past but we hadn't been there for a while so we thought we would try it again.

We arrived at the gates to the parking lot and there seemed to be a huge amount of men of various ages hanging about and going in. Sometimes the zoo's grounds are used for exhibitions and such so I thought this might be the reason. Upon entering we found that there was indeed something going on, but of the unsavory sort. The place had quite a few families and women with their children, but mostly there were prostitutes and their customers hanging about - all of them busy bluetoothing - a craze that's emerging in Libya.

I decided that since we were already there we might as well make the most of it so we walked around to see what animals were there. Sadly, there were few animals (except the human kind) to look at. The cages and enclosures were mostly empty. The playground area was just crawling with creepy looking guys and most of the benches were taken over by 'businesswomen'. We didn't stay long. I was so disgusted that I didn't even bother to get out my camera. Maybe if the park made a rule that only families and males accompanying families be allowed entry this situation could be put under control and the park would become a nice place to take children again. As for us, we will avoid the zoo from now on except to possibly go very early on a Friday morning.

This weekend we decided to try the new amusement park along the seafront next to the port. An Italian company is behind this enterprise, the rides were mostly being operated by Italians. It was kind of funny to hear them shouting out in a mixture of Italian and Arabic - 'Meeya Meeya!', 'Pronto! Pronto!'.

There was a nice assortment of rides to suit all ages, some games of chance, fast food stands, cotton candy and popcorn, all set to really loud music, mostly with a strong techno beat (which I like!). The park was clean and there were benches to sit on as well and grassy areas that families could either sit in groups on the grass or at tables that were set up.

I did notice that most people were just watching the rides and not riding themselves. Each ride costs a dinar or a dinar and a half depending on the type of ride. Typical Libyans with their low salaries would find this very expensive. For example, I didn't see even one of my students there. I usually meet students where ever I go, but they tell me that they usually don't go to places like this because they've made the choice to spend their money on their education instead. Most of the visitors in the park were families with small children, young people and older people with their grandchildren. While we were there I didn't notice any obvious 'businesswomen' and there weren't a lot of middle aged and older men hanging about either. I did notice a police stand located at the entrance.

We'll probably return to the park in the future after we've saved up enough to enjoy more of the rides.

I found taking pictures at the amusement park challenging. The lighting and the speed of the rides were difficult to catch, especially as I had my kids to look out for a the same time. But I did manage to get some interesting shots. I'm usually a bit leery of taking pictures with people in them but for some reason no one seemed to mind.

Jenna jumping on the trampolines - she really liked this a lot.

Red in the face and resting after jumping!

Bump! Bump! Bumper Cars!

I think Ibrahim liked this ride the best.

People watching and waiting. I didn't notice anyone pushing or shoving -a totally new experience for me here in Libya where that behavior is the norm.

Jenna and Ibrahim loved the swings - they went so fast. Rode them twice.

This ride looked a bit boring - just up and down and round and round.


These two girls were waiting patiently for the ride to begin.


I've never been on this ride.

Fruit juice.

Click on the images to see them larger.


  1. wooow mashallah thats first thing i wana say we have an amusement park in libya with actual ride in them wooohooo libya is goin places lol, i was soo excited to see them pics walhee thanks sooo much
    second thing the zoo OMG and i wanted to visit our oh so great libyan zoo next time i came to libya,, oh well guess i think i will pass on that , thanks for tellin us bout it cos be sure u saved me the embrasement of even askin bout it, as im sure ppl know bout it but as for us in the uk i dnt know much lol so thank u soo much for the real story :D
    bk to the park omg i wana go it looked like fun and respectful with a police stand i dnt know if thats gud or bad, but it must be gud if its like that mashallah sooo happy gives me hope libya is movin forward:D
    thank u thank u thank u for this post
    i love ur blog, it gives me hope in my own country just cos ur an american and u dnt have much of the libyan mentallity of hidin stuff ;)u say it how it is so bluntly saves alot of embarsin situations hehehehe
    take care

  2. these things seem to be very popular in the middle eastern countries too. Saw them by the road side in Saudi Arabia.

    I do miss the bumper car ride though! Although I drive a car, I can't seem to handle the bumper cars.

  3. so tell me, what nationality are the 'buisness women"?

  4. Reading you blog at apple store using the new Leopard operating system, the photos look fantastic beautiful on the new macs. I am still using old Sony CRT monitor where photos do not look great as I see them on here. Great photos.


    Next time I will check your blog on IPhone or Ipod Touch at the store

  5. wow i didnt know libya had an amusement park! i think i would be to afraid to go there! I dunnoo... just a little less trust worthy of things like that in a place like libya :P

  6. wow, i did not even heared of this park excpet from you. i looks great. i've never been to an amusment park in Libya. hopefuly next Time "Six flags" will open in Libya lol...

  7. Why are people surprised that there are 'business woman'in Tripoli. Aren't there in the USA, England and all other countries in the world? No matter what religion there is in a country, business woman are there either in the street or behind closed doors. Isn't that true?

  8. See my remarks on my blog.

  9. I remember when I was a young kid my dad (God bless his soul) used to take us to the amusement park every year during Tripoli International Fair, also I remember the rides were operated by several European countries such as Italy, Germany, France... it was a lot of fun.
    By the way Jenna looks tall, beautiful and lost all those freckles, good for her. My best whishes to the whole family.

  10. I live in Tripoli and I have never seen any Libyan "business woman"!

  11. Hi musiclover
    I apologize for playing a dirty game with, I’m an American from Tulsa Oklahoma, I have a Libyan neighbor who asked me to play several jokes on you, I do not know for sure if you know the term (pulling your leg)??? -- Anyhow, it seems that you are a conservative, polite and inelegant person and I did not feel right to keep playing this type of game on you, so please accept my sincere apology. Sincerely R. Jennings

  12. Thanks my sister khadija for sharing this with us..
    i am plaing to go thier with my friend in my birthday..haviung fun enjoying then going to Zumet Restorant to have dinner..

    if u love to play with us..come .


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