Saturday, March 28, 2009

Where is this?

I haven't done this in a while.
Where is this?
If you know, click on comments and tell us.

For those of you that said Gharian - YEP! That's right!

If you go on the main road towards Gharian , up the escarpment and then follow the blue signs that say in Arabic and English 'Troglodyte' you will come to a place that has a troglodyte dwelling that is open to the public (for a fee). I took the picture from the view in the parking area there.
Thanks for playing!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Is there anyone using Libyan Wimax?

I've been watching the news about Libya's Wimax Internet. It opened to the general public a few months ago but I only know one person that paid for a subscription and modem only to find that there was no reception where they lived (not far from Tripoli's city centre).

The other day I checked out their website to see if there was any information about where it's available but only parts of it are done and other parts are still under construction. I want to find out whether it will work in the area where we are building our house. There are no telephone lines in the area so that means no ADSL. We could get one of those wireless 'reefee' phones but I haven't met anyone that's been satisfied with the Internet available with them.

Today I noticed on the TechnoLibya blog that Wimax prices have gone down 100 dinars. I imagine they're trying to coax people into making the switch from ADSL. I certainly wouldn't want to spend the money only to find out the system didn't work. I don't think they'll give you a refund.

Is anybody using Wimax? What do you think of it? Comments please!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Children's Day - Eid al Towful

Tomorrow is Children's Day in Libya. Because it falls on a weekend this year some schools celebrated yesterday and some will celebrate on Sunday. All of my kids are too old for it this year with the exception of Ibrahim. He's excited about getting new toys and something new to wear to school too. He's been nagging me for a few days now about it... lololol. Soon enough he will be too big for Eid al Towful and I won't have to worry about it anymore.

I didn't start having kids until I'd been married for six years. They really change your life! I found this interesting video... I thought it was hilarious - but I have a weird sense of humour... lololol...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Nightmare Mother-in-laws

I'm really lucky that I have a wonderful mother-in-law. She's caring and thoughtful. Usually she keeps her opinions to herself - and I know that hers differ from mine by a wide margin. She's also very supportive of me and encourages me to make the best of my life here in Libya.

Not everyone can count themselves lucky when it comes to their husband's mother. I have heard stories of women that have been on the ride to hell and back with their mother-in-law in the driving seat! I've even known people who have had their marriages end in divorce over the interference of their husband's mother (and sisters). This is not just an problem for foreign woman married to Libyans either, although multi-cultural unions seem to be that much more difficult - but Libyan ladies here suffer too from nightmare mother-in-laws.

I came across this article and thought it might be useful: How to Deal With a Difficult Mother-in-law

How's your Azoozah?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fixing Stuff

I read in the news that Ace Hardware is going to open up in Libya. Hardware stores are the realm of men in this country. You seldom see a woman shopping in a hardware store. I like going into my neighbourhood DIY shop even though I know it makes most of the men in there feel uncomfortable.

I'm not even sure Libyans are interested in maintenance - usually they wait until everything falls completely apart and then they just knock everything down and start from scratch. But I like to keep things in working order and every time I go to the shop I find something I need and I get ideas about things I can make and fix.

The shop that I go to the most often has a pretty good selection too - they've even got duct tape and WD40 - two things that will fix most anything!

But by far, the most interesting thing about the shop is the doorway. Now what could possibly be interesting about a doorway, you might ask? Well, I never noticed it until one day last year when my friend Tara and I decided to see if we could find a hack-saw with a special blade that could cut through a carbon fiber mountain bike fork. I suggested we go ask the guys in the hardware store for advice and they were happy to show us their entire stock of saws and saw blades.

And just where do you suppose they are displayed in the shop? Directly ABOVE the entrance's doorway, of course! Just waiting to fall upon some poor unsuspecting person's head.

Libyan logic.... sigh.... Either they have a really sick sense of humour... or they are just plain stupid. - but I bet Ace Hardware won't be nearly as interesting a place when they open.

Teacher's Day!

Today is International Teacher's Day. I had forgotten all about it until I went to school and one of my students came with a beautiful bouquet for me. It was so sweet!

Happy Eid Mu'allam to all the teachers out there!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Air is Clear.. Finally!

We've recovered from the sandstorms of the past few days. The kids wanted to go to the farm and run around and after having been cooped up for too long I was ready to go too. I called my friend and asked if she and her daughter would like to join us and she said 'Let's go!'.

We had a nice walk and after that the girls decided to wash the dust off the cars while I sat with my friend and we caught up on our news. Yusef went to work... he made a nice pot of tea for us.

Yusef.. looking good!

We sat and visited while the sun set. It was a beautiful sight to see. Made that much better with a mug of hot tea - thank you Yusef!

Tomorrow the kids go back to school after a long weekend and I will start to sort out the laundry that has piled up... after the peace and fresh air of today I feel I can face anything... even the mountain of laundry.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Ibrahim in the Car

The winds started to die down and it rained mud. I looked at the weather forecast and it said there will be more wind tomorrow. Ibrahim and I decided to run a few errands but when we got downstairs we found the car completely coated in a layer of dirt. The first thing we did was to head straight to the car wash. I'm sure it won't stay clean for long!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Returning to Dust

We've been having a sandstorm for the past few days and from the weather report it looks as though it will last through tomorrow. Everything in my house is coated with a fine layer of sand, or a thick layer of dust, depending on how you look at it! But I haven't got time these days.

Last week my husband's aunt had a stroke. It was her third one. I visited her in hospital before she had the actual stroke (or maybe while it was happening) and shortly after I left the hospital she went into a coma and was put in intensive care. She stayed that way for a few days before finally passing away.

I went to the funeral and assisted while she was being washed and prepared for burial. The woman who was supervising was old and well experienced. She was kind and patient, and made the whole process comfortable and at the same time dignified. It was a relief to see Amti at peace.

Now we'll get down to the business of the funeral.. the part I hate... the gossip-fest... sigh.. made just that much worse because of the miserable weather. If you sit inside it's stuffy, hot and crowded with smells that are indescribable. If you sit in the tent outside you are pelted with sand and have to listen to the tent poles creaking in the wind, the whole time wondering if it might fall down. Either place you sit you are surrounded by women who are happily gossiping the hours away.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Ben Walid: An Emerald Embedded in Stone

March 2nd is Declaration Day, which is an official public holiday in Libya. Since I didn't have to work I got together with a friend and we took a drive into the countryside. We'd packed up some bags of things to snack on, and off we went. We ended up in Ben Walid, about a two-hour drive from the capitol, Tripoli.

The drive through the countryside takes you down poorly paved, rutted roads that wind their way through barren rocky landscape with hardly anything to see for miles around. You have to drive at a fast enough pace so that you feel like you are flying over the rough roads. If you slow down the roads just seem worse. And because you have to keep a close watch on the roads to avoid hitting any huge potholes you miss the scenery. But as it's pretty monotonous there really isn't much to see for long stretches of the way. But never mind that because the treat awaits you upon arrival.

When you arrive in the town the first thing you notice is that below you lies a lush green valley and above the valley are rocky hills. The contrast between the dry rocky landscape and the emerald green grass is amazing.

Once in the valley you are overcome with the peace of the place; birds sing, butterflies flit and bees buzz and there is the smell of the grass and flowers - a smell that you never experience in Tripoli.

We parked the car and unloaded our picnic and sat under the trees in the grass. It was lovely.

It almost looks like it could be a golf course. And maybe it could be one day. I took this picture from the top. There is a small hotel above the valley that is under renovation but has some rooms available. There are some Roman ruins in the area but we didn't have time to hunt them down for a visit. It would have meant stopping and asking people and we didn't want to do that. Some signs would have been nice - we'd have been able to get there by ourselves if there were signs... sigh...

Parts of the hilly areas surrounding the valley have remnants of ancient rock dwellings and amongst these are more modern style homes that people live in. There are also many cemeteries with lots of tombs of marabouts.

We had a relaxing picnic and after driving around a while we headed for home. Back to work and school tomorrow.

Happy Birthday Shelby!

My niece, Shelby, had a birthday yesterday! This is a picture of her out yesterday practicing her driving skills.... Wow! She can drive, text and drink a slurpy all at the same time!

It seems like only yesterday that my kids and my sister's kids were watching Barney. Where has the time gone? uugh... I'm starting to sound like my mother!

Shelby, I hope you had a wonderful birthday. Make your mom buy you a ticket so you can come over here and perfect your driving techniques on Libya's state of the art, pothole-filled roads!

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