Friday, February 08, 2008

My pet peeves about Libya

[This is gonna get me a lot of hate]

I'm doing this for therapeutic reasons. Gotta get it off my chest kind of stuff. Yes - I am on a rant! Feel free to add your own pet peeves in the comments.

This is just a running list. They're not in any particular order, just as I think em up. I'll add to the list from time to time and link to it.

1. Plastic fruit. Why do Libyan women buy plastic fruit to decorate their houses? Who the heck wants to look at plastic fruit? Is this a thing they started in the eighties when fruit wasn't imported into Libya and kids grew up not knowing how to eat a banana? Did they buy it so they could remember what fruit looked like? Plastic fruit... uggh.

2. Tuna. Why do Libyans LOVE tuna? I would NEVER even think to eat tuna when I was a kid. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches ruled (and still do)! If any kid was stupid enough to bring a tuna sandwich to school in their lunch box they would get teased unmercifully as the 'kid who ate sandwiches that smelled like a woman with a vaginal infection'..... ewe... smelly tuna breath!

3. Water on the bathroom floor... what is their problem? Can't they go to the bathroom and clean up after themselves? I always wonder if it's water... maybe it's pee... Along with this are those skunky looking plastic shib-shibs they stick next to the bathroom door. They come to my house and think I'm strange because we don't have a pair. The floor is dry! I am militant about this!

4. Plastic bra straps. Go to any party with the ladies dressing up and you will find women with plastic bra straps hanging out of their dresses. Those dresses were made for women who have boobs that stand up by themselves. What are they thinking??? Oh... not to forget back fat and flabby arms... cover up please - you are too out of shape for that dress!

5. Tele-visits. Ever go to visit a Libyan woman and they insist that the television must be on while you visit? Usually it's tuned to cartoons or some soap opera. Why can't they just turn it off and have a conversation? Is it because they don't have anything interesting to say? I don't even watch TV at home - why would I want to go to someone else's house to do it?... sigh. I always leave feeling like I've wasted my time. I hate TV.

6. At the supermarket. Why do they put a few things on the counter and then go back to look for more things to buy? Use a basket and when you are sure you have everything - then, and only then, go to the cashier. This must be an Arab thing because I noticed it was always Arabs that did this when I was working as a cashier at Winn Dixie in the US years ago. It always pissed me off when they did this.

7. Honk! Honk! Your driver (usually son or husband) has arrived to pick you up. Libyan women actually know the sound each kind of car makes. I never answer to a honk... ever. Get out of the car and knock on the door or ring the bell! I've noticed that since most people have mobile phones that there is less honking going on... Thank God.

8. Can I borrow your ladder, screwdriver, pipe wrench...? My ladder is the most popular piece of equipment in my neighbourhood. Every time I need to use it it is gone and we have to waste time tracking it down. Not only do my neighbours borrow it but they lend it out to whomever they like too. Once my ladder somehow made it all the way from Benashur to Janzour. Imagine the stories that thing could tell? Am I the only person in the neighbourhood with tools? When we move to our new house I plan on going around to all the neighbours asking to borrow their stuff. That way they will think I don't own any of my own and won't come asking to borrow mine. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours' hardware collection. lol.


  1. Tuna is great! Good source of protein, far tastier and healthier than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! I mean peanut butter and jelly in a sandwich? Discusting. I can’t believe kids would tease other kids using such foul words, maybe ‘stinky breath’ but the rest?

  2. Had to laugh over the water on the bathroom floor comment. As the mother of 3 boys I have similar issues. But it's not just the floor. Have you ever wiped down the walls next to the toilet with a white rag and then looked at it when you're done? Eeeewwwww! It's yellow! Yes, guys splash all over the place. If I ever remodel I swear I'm putting in a urinal surrounded by tile -- maybe even a drain in the floor so I can just hose the room down! Another bathroom pet peeve at our house would be dirty clothes left on the floor. We have a clothes chute in the bathroom that sends dirty items to the laundry area in the basement but do you think they can put their own clothes down the chute? No. They leave them on the floor right in front of the chute opening. Aarrgh!

  3. Yup, I can relate to most of that. I do like tuna though. We are going this summer, so I can probably add a few thing to the list after that. Do you have any lists of what you like about Libya and the Libyan people?

  4. Doesn't a lot of water come from those showers that drain into the floor? One shower and everything gets sprayed.
    As for the rest, according to Islamc scholar sheik Ahmad Kutty, urinating while standing is makruh. At least the guys could do their bit by sitting down. Just one more put-down for women who have to clean up IMHO. Maybe you could ask someone at the mosque about the relevant hadith, copy it out in English and Arabic and paste it on the bathdroom door.
    What's a shib shib?

  5. Yes, water on the floor is a big annoyance for me. If you use the bathroom correctly, i.e. Islamically, then there shouldn't be any 'najis' on the floor. (Of course I am talking about a Western toilet.) I put a rug on the floor to put your wet feet on to dry after making wudu. How can people slosh water everywhere in the bathroom while making wudu? MashAllah. I guess I will never understand.

    About the sitting for men while urinating, I had a friend in the states put a sign at the top of the toilet that said, "Sitting is Sunnah." In both Arabic and English for those guests who never learn.

  6. Tuna salad sandwich was and is a staple in our family here in the States. We all took them to school.
    Fat women wearing dresses that don't suit them... world wide!
    Plastic fruit again world wide
    Dirty bathrooms be they wet with water or pee again world wide... well not so much in Europe but then you pay for a clean loo there.
    Rude people all over the world leave the TV on, nothing new there.
    Horn honking to pick up someone, borrowing the neighbors things again both are world wide.
    Teri you need to dig deeper than that to find something wrong with Libya so far everything is WORLD WIDE! :)

  7. You must be bored again ! Remember what happened to you last week when you got bored ? Be careful !

    Libyan thing ......I think it is so strange that a religion that is obsessed over modesty ,and the Libyan people are among the 1st class in this , would go out in public wearing their pajamas .The women here will wear their nightgowns out , just throwing a abaya over it .You can see the hem of the gown hanging out underneath the abaya, or see the gown when they walk .The other evening I saw a grown man walking home from the neighborhood store , wearing his pajamas , robe , and slippers ! A grown man at that . He looked totally surprised to see me staring at him , like this was a normal thing .

  8. I actually i was really surprised by what you wrote. I'm a libya who was born and raised in libya and i never saw a single thing from what you said i only heard about it. As you know in each society there are different classes of people (top, middle, and low) which in libya most of the time don't depend on the economic status but on your origin and your family. I can tell that the people that your are talking about are what we call them shlaftiya (lower class). For instance, even within tripoli poeple from different classes use different words, eat and dress differently. From what you write on your blog you don't seem to know the libyan society well enough , you are engaded with limited poeple. I have an advice for you: don't say that all libyans do this and that, instead, say the people i know do such a thing because as i said poeple are different. Also, chatalaine said a that it happens everywhere and it also happens in north america. they have some people who do similar things.

    As for the on the edge, i am with you with what you said on the pijama thing. I hate it when people go out with it. However, not only the libyan do it but also in north america. They walk in the streets, boys and girls, wearing their pijamas and their flipflop. I really hate it.

  9. Things in Tripoli city are getting out of hand
    With a lot of Stuff that I don't understand

    Plastic fruit on every table. What’s the point?
    Best successful business in Tripoli is a tuna joint

    Careful when you open a bathroom door
    You might need an inflatable boat to cross the floor

    Women, with plastic bra straps, cover up please
    With back fat and flabby arms, is that a tease?

    Those dresses you’re wearing with lots of loops
    Are meant to be for bombshells with big boobs

    Try to Lend anything to Libyans if you dare
    Getting it back is just another nightmare

    A Libyan borrowed my ladder to fix his door
    My ladder traveled from Benashur to Janzour

    Drivers set behind the wheels and love to honk
    A sign of being lazy or too much junk in the trunk

    Every time I visit a house they turn on the TV
    Is it a TV love or are they trying to impress me

    At the supermarket I can see an Arab encounter
    He picks one item at time and crowd the counter

    When I get hungry n’ I wanted to satisfy my belly
    I will turn to my favorite peanut butter and Jelly

  10. Ah KT - this is just not in Libya- I have run into the same problem here in Egypt - wet bathrooms - never knew washing up was such a messy job - and for some reason my dh does not seem to think to wipe up the floor after himself - would like to know if he is like that at his 'home' (my place has been dubbed the pleasure palace). And the plastic straps on the bras - come on ladies give it a rest. Afraid I am not with you on the tuna though - as I like tuna salad and eat it quite often.
    But on the rest - amen, amen, amen.

  11. Anonymous... I've been here nearly 19 years... I've seen the whole range of Libyans... they are for the most part just as I said.. get your head out of the sand.

    Mahmud - you are truly a genius! You're the official 'Rhyme Guy'!

    On the edge - good point - the pajama thing.. I hate it when they go out in slippers or women who wear shib shib with socks. They are too lazy to bend oveer and put on a pair of shoes... sigh.

  12. Tuna Rocks! Hell, if it weren't for Libyan Tuna and Tunisian beer I'd waste away!

  13. Back to the tuna thing ..... I went "home" to visit after the 1st 2 years here , and the 1st thing I said was ... I will do anything (i.e. clean house , laundey, do dishes etc. )but PLEASE don't feed me anything with tuna !!!!

    Now I am used to tuna "everything"( pizza, sandwiches, pizza rolls , tuna salads , tuna macaroni , tuna for breakfast ) and am sure I would miss it's nutritious value in our diet but I would kill for a little smoked beef sausage now and then .

  14. Wow, 19 years in Libya and from what you said you don't seem to know all the libyans. I think you are the one that should look around and open your mind before accusing all libyans of being like what you described. There are many people in many countries that do bizzar things but we don't accuse a whole country for being the same. For instance, there are americans that they don't even clean after themselves and they leave the toilet in horible state, there are also some who eat with there mouth wide open so you can see the food beig chewed in there mouth, or some of them wear shib shib with socks or wear sandles in the cold snowy winter.
    As for the tuna sandwich, most mideteranian countries eat it and it is way better and healther than the peanut butter. Well what can i expect from a person who come from a country that they don't understand a thing about food. A while before i heard some nutritions in the U.S were saying that olive oil was bad for the health!!! I don't know which is more bad, olive oil or taco bill and mackdonald junk food!!!
    I guess what what most of you said applies on people you know only, so don't assocciate the whole libyans.

  15. Well I've only been here 3 years and I'd like to add to your list!
    Why do Libyans.....

    buy a new car and leave the plastic on the hood and trunk until it finally peels off?

    buy a new car and leave the plastic covering the interior?

    Not understand the concept of 'taking turns'?

    Use their children as 'airbags'

    Not use their headlights while driving at night?

    Insist on 'working on their cars' in a busy roundabout?

    Think the trunk of their car is where pets ride?

    And finally...insist on hosing their asses off and leaving their waste water all over the floor in the few public restrooms available.

  16. well if you don't like it tancgirl go back to your country!! maybe they are superhumans who are totally perfect ..seh

  17. Oh i forgut to add, at least they hose their ass to CLEAN the WASTE but not like westrens who do it and wipe with a toilet paper. Oh and they also sell a perfume for the ass so it won't smell bad after they wipe ..ohhhhhhh so gross

  18. @ Hillbilly...I'll bet you have a nice ass! Too bad it's on your shoulders...

  19. For a second there I thought you were referring to Puerto Rico and not Libya. All you listed is exactly what I go through here every day. :o)

  20. Nope, but at least i clean it not wipe it with a toilet paper ;)

  21. They do the tuna thing in Tunisia as well. Tuna on everything. I like tuna, but not everything.

    Shib-shib is a shoe/sandal.

  22. sounds like you have a vaginal infection, write something about that

  23. I have the same complaint about people who have the tv on when I visit. I don't understand it. It seems so rude to me, and yet the people I visit are friends who aren't rude in other ways. Drives me nuts, though.

  24. some years ago I was totally shocked about a group of american tourists. It was in the Philharmonie in Berlin, the most famous german concert hall, where all people wear the nicest clothes they have. Only this group of Americans were sitting in sport clothes and sport shoes in coloures like pink, yellow, grasgreen. Obviously they are not from the lower class of the society, as they have the money to travel to europe and pay the ticket for the concert. Stupide people are living everywhere, don`t forget this!!

  25. i met impressive Libyan boys who wipe all over the kitchen after cooked, dry the toilet floor every single time after using. And he hate it when i wore my "simply contemporary light and easy" sandle out with him. my candle dinner could easily turn down to standard cafe meal due to my "light and easy".

    yea, the on the TV thingy seem to mean "people take u seriously as a guest.."

    well.. i do love tuna though..


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  27. As an American student (well, college now), I can honestly say, a lot of kids are foul mouthed little buggers! Not all, of course, because all generalizations are false-- even this one. Even CHURCH kids are crude at times-- I volunteer with my church's middle school (grades 6through 8, ages 10-14) youth group Wednesday nights, and I'm surprised at some of the stuff that comes out of their mouths. At church no less, though not when Fr. Ilgen is around.

    To the anonymous poster-- have the courage to put your real name on your criticism. Khadija is just saying what she has observed, as a resident of Tripoli for nearly two decades. Maybe she's just been unlucky enough to see some of the worst the country has to offer. I'm sure not everything is truly horrible, at least I hope not. And of course, we as Americans do have much higher standards than most of the rest of the world. Wet floors in the bathroom are going to disgust most of us-- if I see a dirty rest stop bathroom here, I just pass on using it period. I'd rather have the uncomfortable feeling of a full bladder than use something that isn't up to my normal standards.

    I do want to visit Tripoli-- I'd like to spend a month in the country, learning Arabic, and experiencing everything Libya has to offer, both good AND bad. I don't want a typical touristy experience, I want to live life like a Libyan. I'll probably be renting a flat for the duration of my stay, unless I can make other arrangements. I have a few questions though, I'll be blogging about that ASAP. Things like, "What's the Derebi section of Tripoli like?"; "What's a good place to learn Arabic, that offers private/semi private lessons that aren't of the immersion type, that are all day,"; "I'm Catholic, where can I worship?".... as you can see, I'm an American going to Tripoli. I have my questions, and I want ANSWERS, from those that know. And are willing to share.

    ~Melinda~ -- I don't allow anonymous posters myself. I was just sick of having the element known as "ja-hosh" (sorry for the language) criticize everything I said, call me a "snob puppet of The Leader", question me when I question the "racial profiling" of Arabs at PDX.... etc. Some censorship is a good thing.

  28. look at yourself first , people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones! I visit europe regularly , there are good people and evil ones, I've never said americans or british people are so and so... whatever you've said depends on your morals and respect of your self? programs like oprah and Dr. phil make every thing in americans and europeans naked ... dirty houses,bad wives, nasty people compete with each other, gays, incredible things happened betwen father and daughter ,mother and son, between brother and sister ... thanks god we are libyans not animals (as we watched , alot of watching indeed?) so all I want to say that criticism begins at home !

  29. You make me laugh so hard !!! I am soon to move to Libya and am not looking forward to it, but will have to make the best of it. Wish me luck.

  30. I can't believe the overreaction over this post. I am a libyan who grew up in the us and i just went to libya for the first time this summer. I think this post was so funny and I agree with all of it, except again the tuna...which i love. Khadija is merely expressing what she noticed. She never said all libyans are bad or dirty. There is no need for anyone to criticize all westerners or all arabs or anything. As was said before, there are good and bad people everywhere...clean and dirty people everywhere. Everyone has the right to express what they noticed visiting a country..but you dont have to be so rude and vulgar people!


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