Saturday, June 07, 2008

Never a dull moment

Today started out as a normal day. I had an appointment to be someplace that in the end turned out not to work out. It was a matter of crossed emails, or emails that went unread (not by me). Of course one thing I have learned about living in Libya is that you never walk out the door without having a PLAN B, and possibly a PLAN C too. So I decided it was time to pull out good old PLAN B.

I called Tara, told her I was on to PLAN B, which was to take her out to breakfast at a place we call the Libyan IHOP, but is actually named O2. They serve an assortment of pancakes and sandwiches and it's right on the beach. I went to get Tara and we decided that since the weather was so nice we'd just go in her Jeep and enjoy the breeze.

We had a nice time eating breakfast. Tara was of course all the while busy playing on her phone.

BFF @ Libyan IHOP!

While we ate our breakfast we discussed what else we needed to do to complete PLAN B. We decided we'd hit Marks and Spencers and see what was on the racks. We parked the Jeep across the road and went in. There is a pretty good assortment of clothing in the shop and the prices are actually pretty good too. Since Tara and I don't share the same tastes in fashion we both went off in different directions.

At one point I turned to look to see where Tara had gotten to and saw that an old man was following her. He looked creepy; shabbily dressed with really beaten up shib-shibs. This guy did not fit in with the typical Marks & Spencer shopper's profile. I watched him for a minute to see what he was up to. He was definitely following Tara around the store. I walked up to Tara and as I was about to tell her about her admirer she said 'That guys following me around the store'.

Tara continued to look at clothes and I did the same, all the while keeping track of the guy we decided to name 'Creepo'. He was definitely following Tara around. I assumed that it might be because she was wearing shorts. Creepo would get close to Tara but he never touched her. I decided to play his game and follow him around. I planned to clobber him with the nearest mannequin if he touched Tara, or anyone else.

At one point I turned and looked straight at Creepo's face - he had red, bloodshot eyes. He knew we knew, so he slowly made his way to the store's entrance, stopping periodically to look at the women's clothes on display (as if he was buying?). I continued to follow him out. I waited in front of the shop's doors and watched him. Creepo crossed the street and stood next to a rather beaten up looking truck that was double parked next to the Jeep. He spent about a minute looking up and down the road, at me and at the Jeep. I wondered if he was planning to take anything from the Jeep. In the end, he finally just got in the truck and drove off. I went back in the shop to find Tara.

Tara paid for her purchases and as we walked out the store I told her about Creepo's behaviour in the street. We decided to consider it an encounter with some weirdo and forget about it.

Our next stop for PLAN B was to pop over to a strip of shops in Gorgi. There is one particular shop we go to that we've named TJ Maxx. It has an everchanging assortment of name brand clothes that can be bought for huge discounts. We were in there for about two minutes and I turned and looked up, straight into Creepo's face.

I walked over to Tara and said 'Our friend is here.' Tara said, 'No way!' and I said 'Yes, I'm absolutely sure it is him'. It was a repeat of the scene from the previous store. This time the guy just wandered around the shop, looking at clothes and watching us - while we watched him. After a bit of this game he walked out the shop and we followed to see him get into his truck and pull it around and park it so that he could follow us down the road when we left.

We got into the Jeep and decided to drive down the road a bit to where there are some cheap shoe stores. Creepo of course followed along behind us, but some cars managed to pull in between us and we didn't see him. We got out and went into the shoe store. The smell of glue in those cheap shoe stores is overpowering. After a few whiffs of the glue you're hallucinating into thinking the gaudy shoes on display are beautiful and you willingly part with your money. Creepo didn't appear in the shop. Tara bought some glitzy looking sandals and we headed back to the car.

Lo and behold! Creepo! Parked on the road in front of us! I had had enough and marched straight over to the truck. 'What is your problem?' I demanded. 'No, no problem. I don't have a problem. I'm just working. I'm just doing my work.' replied Creepo. He held up a big wad of cash. I told him to leave us alone and stop following us. Then I walked to the front of the truck and pointed to the license plate and read off the numbers in a loud voice to Tara. We turned and walked back to the Jeep. As we pulled out we took Creepo's picture (mobile phones can be useful things!). He held his hands over his face and said 'Sharika, Sharika.' (Company, company).

Another day, another adventure! I hope we don't see Creepo again. I wonder who was paying him to follow us? Weird.... sigh...


  1. Well, this following thing was really scary! Be careful please... I've heard some very strange stories of what happened to a couple of expat ladies on the streets of Tripoli recently and BTW, it was really good to see you on this picture after sooo long, it reminded me of how much I've missed being around you :)

  2. I just watched a creepy Dr.Who episode but your post was more interesting and more creepy :o)
    shame we didnt get to find out the big secret!

    be safe


    Today I started out as a normal day
    Had a nice plan and I was on my way

    When you think you have a plan for sure
    Do get a plan B before walk out the door

    But things might not what you wanted to be
    So to be sure have yourself ready for plan C

    I mentioned plan B to Tara, she said me too
    So we had a breakfast at a place called O2

    Had pancakes and sandwiches on the beach
    Away from classroom and students to teach

    Went to Marks & Spencer to finish plan B
    N' pretty good assortment of clothes to see

    Since Tara and I don't share the same taste
    Off in 2 different ways N’ no time to waste

    Excited N’ eager to see what’s on the racks
    Noticing old CREEPO was on Tara’s tracks

    Didn’t fit in with the typical shopper's profile
    What’s he up to? I watched him for a while

    Tara kept looking at clothes, I did the same
    Our eyes on the guy in which we gave a name

    Is it 4 Tara’s cute butt in shorts he’s bound?
    We played his game N’ followed him around

    I had a plan if he touched Tara, me or anyone
    Is to clobber him with the nearest mannequin

    I turned and looked straight at Creepo's face
    Has red, eyes as if he was sprayed with mace

    He knew we knew and we have no doubt
    He walked to the exit, so I followed him out

    As soon as my feet out of the store’s floor
    Saw creepo next to a beat up truck’s door

    Just two minutes in Gorgi TJ Maxx place
    I turned N’ looked up, to see Creepo's face.

    I said ‘our friend is here’ Tara said, 'No way!
    I said am absolutely sure it is him'. Let’s play

    He watched us N’ we played the same game
    Creepo left the store and we did the same

    After sniffing glue for awhile at a shoe store
    We decided to leave N’ headed for the door

    Outside here’s creepo parked in front of us
    Had enough N’ the glue gave me a head rush

    Said to him, What is your problem Old trash?
    He said working N’ held up a big wad of cash

    I said leave us alone and you have no choice
    I read to Tara his plate number in a loud voice

    We decided to put an end to Creepo’s chase
    As we snapped his picture he covered his face

  4. Behi.... I miss you too. And good news that you are moving on to another country and another adventure. Keep posting on your blog so I know what you're up to.

    mahmud... Brilliant! (as usual).

    anglo-libyan... I wish I knew what mr. creepo is all about. This is not the first time I have been followed about (not by the same person - there are lots of creepos in the world)

  5. I will be in Libya in the summer - can you share a few good/GREAT places to shop?
    And Sightsee. Would love to hear your Do's and Don't's in Tripoli.
    I've been to the two Ruins the last time I was there, so I'd like to see something else.

  6. Hello Khadija sweet episode..thing is i have been having a lot of probs lately to write on yr it only me?

  7. Hi Khadija..sad story,nice pic...tell me r the ppl working in marks and spencers Maltese?

  8. Layal... I think they are all Libyans working at Marks and Spencer

  9. khadija.. as always i love reading ure posts.. but i think creepo meant something else by flashing his money.. but i guess u didnt get his message!! (in other words.. he thought he could pay u for something.. if u get what i mean)

    keep writing.. i love reading!

  10. anonymous... I dont think Creepo meant that by flashing the money. Guys that usually interested in that sort of thing don't waste time... they make lewd gestures; pointing to their crotches and saying stupid stuff like "You need Arab man!", "I good!" and 'We f*ck, ok?"


  11. loved your blog, where is TK MAXX or TJ MAXX, and hoe expensive is it?

  12. Reading about you and Tara, all I can say is LOOK OUT WORLD.

    It was nice to see the picture of the two of you and read your adventures, you just make me laugh! Sandi

  13. interesting post, please tell me where is this place you called TK MAXX or TJ MAXX?


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