Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wondering how long it will last

It's raining. Not a heavy rain, just a drizzle. Will this be the last time I see rain for a while? I dread the hot, dry summer months without a cloud in sight. Last year in May I had a month of rain in Florida. I'd have appreciated it more if I had gone there for other reasons.... sigh....

I'm going for a walk in the rain before it stops. It might not rain again for months.... sigh..

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010

It's the little things...

I found A&W Root Beer in the supermarket last week. It was three times more expensive than Pepsi and Coke but I got it anyway. Just in time for summer. I'm going to make some really yummy root beer floats. It reminds me of home and my childhood. Now if they could just make sure to keep bringing it to Libya. And while they're at it they could start stocking Dr. Pepper and Mr. Pibb too. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Throwing tradition to the wind

When I first came to Libya twenty-one years ago most women wore a farashia when they ventured out into public. A farashia is part of the traditional Libyan or north African costume. Basically it is a white sheet, often woven out of silk that is worn in such a way that it covers the whole body, usually leaving only one eye peeking out. It's a useful garment that can be used as a quick cover up when a woman wants to go out and also offers protection from the hot north African sun.

Nowadays you rarely see women wearing this traditional cloak, especially in the capital Tripoli. For some reason Libyans seem to want to shed their identities and throw off their own culture, and that means getting rid of the farashia. Either they head for a western style of dress or they face east and choose the all covering black abayah and niqab.  

I suppose that there are plenty of women who think that its the Islamic thing to do. I guess there are all kinds of ways people interpret religious edicts and Islamic scripture. Who am I to tell anyone what to do or wear? But when I see women with  loads of eye make-up peeking out I think that their intention is more likely not because they are looking for that proverbial ticket to heaven. Today I came across an image that made me laugh out loud:

Now I really wonder what is under those niqabs! I guess it could be quite surprising. Ok girls... go ahead and cover your beauty... but please don't drive while you are doing it! I really hate when I see that. The roads are treacherous enough without veiled women behind the wheel. Even worse are the veiled women who are holding BABIES in their laps while they drive. I see this ALL the time now in Tripoli. What are they thinking?

Take 2 minutes

I really love the message in this video. 

You are special.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Getting out the garden gloves

It was a peaceful weekend. I stayed home, caught up on housework and relaxed. We only went out once for a quick run to the supermarket. I took a few pictures today of some of the plants in my garden.

The sunflowers are popping out in clusters. I brought a packet of seeds home with me last year from America.  I was surprised to see so many flowers on each plant. The sunflowers I've seen in Libya have a single larger flower on each plant. I planted them next to the gate and I can see them peeping over the garden wall from my kitchen window. The sky was hazy today... white sky instead of blue.

These small flowers are from the seeds a planted a while ago. I can't remember what they are called but they are so pretty and delicate.

I've been collecting succulents over the years. Very suitable for desert-dry Libya. These are in a flower box that is on the waiting list for hubby's marble edging.

This cactus is beginning to bloom. It looks like its frosted on top. 

This plant has already bloomed once and now it has three flowers that will probably open tonight. Its sitting on another spot that needs marble. I'm holding back on the garden, waiting for the house to get painted but hubby has to get the marble work done first. Hurry up please! My green thumb is itching to get to work!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My New Eyebrows

Someone decided that every Libyan family needed an new family book. The family book is a small book, somewhat resembling a large passport, that has family records in it. A page for the man of the household, and numerous pages for his wife/wives and kids. All the records are in there - birth date, marriage/divorce, death and whatever else they can think to put in there.

I guess it all makes sense to have such a book but I wasn't sure what they needed to change them for. Hubby mentioned something about state of the art technology or something was going to be involved (yeah right!). He also said I had to have 6 pictures with blue backgrounds. Sigh... why does everything in this country require a picture... or lots of them? They must have enough pictures of me to fill a shoebox (or two) already. Libya is obsessed with photos and rubber stamps! Ugh.. so third world!

Off I went to have my picture taken. The professional photographer knew his business - his shop was full of blue  curtains.... and he looked so happy. I'm sure he must be making a fortune off this new family book deal.

Click and flash! Come back in about an hour. I told him I'd pick up the photos the next day. 'What time do you open?' I asked. He replied that he was always open early and to come at nine. So the next morning I went at ten o'clock, giving him enough time to be late. Of course he still wasn't there yet and I had to wait around for him to come.

The pictures were in an envelope and I just glanced at them to make sure they were mine. Later at home, when I looked closer at them  I noticed that the photos had been photoshopped. So totally creepy too! He had filled in my eyebrows with little reddish brown lines. That just really creeped me out. Who would waste time doing that? I mean really - if he was gonna spend time photoshopping my picture you would have thought removing my double chin would have been a more interesting (and useful) challenge.

I'm not going to post my picture here. If you want to see it you'll have to wait your turn at the family book office.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

a work in progress...

Hubby has been spending his free time working on the outside of our house. He's been putting in marble trim around the flower boxes and other areas. He's insisting on doing the work himself... he's going to drive us all crazy...  

This is one of the boxes... in progress...

Here you can see that it's nearly finished. We've put in a few plants. It just needs the marble edging around the floor tile. As soon as hubby gets all the marble detailing work finished we can paint the outside of the house. One step at a time....

Friday, April 09, 2010

Libya's past held hostage

A  two-day conference of the Council of Antiquities in Cairo, with representitives from 25 countries including Libya, say that they want antiquities returned from abroad. The conference ended on Thursday with a wish list of priceless relics housed in Western museums. Many of the countries are former colonies who say their heritage has been stolen. Among them was Libya which requested the return of a statue of Apollo from the British Museum and a marble statue of a woman from the Louvre.

I haven't any information about the statue in Paris, but there is an article with a beautiful image of the Apollo statue on the British Museum's website. I'd have put the image on this post but it's a big 'modowah' (as Libyans would say) to go through to request the permission from the British Museum to use the image. So please have a look at the link.

I hope Libya is able to recover these artifacts from their past.  

Safe sex....

This morning I was checking my email and catching up on what's happening in the Libyan blogosphere and came across On the Edge's post about her experience with a traffic cop that pulled her over while she was driving her husband. The cop thought she was her husband's 'special friend', assuming that a if Libyan man was out with a foreign women then they must be on a date... sigh...  

Of course I just had to comment! But look what word showed up for the word verification:

Toooo funnny!!!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Looking up

As Nora and I were coming home this evening we got stuck in the middle of a demonstration. There were groups of runners carrying flaming torches followed by buses, firetrucks, ambulances and police cars. Sirens blaring all the way from downtown to the university. There was a car full of guys, shouting into walkie-talkies and waving  at me, telling me to get off the road... I just ignored them and continued driving. They kept swerving and acting as though they were going to run into me... sigh...  It was a long day and I wasn't going to wait a moment longer to get home.

Tomorrow is a holiday here... April 7th. I'm not sure if anyone has the day off work or school.. no one seems to know. We'll just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings. 

I feel better today. 

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Going through a phase.... Will I recover?

The internet has been intermittent lately and it's frustrating. I have no idea what they are doing with wimax but I wish they would hurry up and sort it out. We've come to rely on it for making phone calls to family and friends and when the signal is weak you can just forget it. 

I've been going through an 'I hate my life in Libya' phase lately. This all started when I got up one morning to take the kids to school and found that one of our dogs had been poisoned. Quick thinking by hubby who force fed milk to the dog and bought enough time to get some antidote from the vet. We aren't sure who poisoned poor Flora but we have a pretty good idea.... sick bastards... sigh.. I spent the entire morning in bed crying.

We've already lost one dog to poisoning, and let me tell you it is a horrific way to die. Also our cat disapeared and we're not sure if she was poisoned or stolen. Luckily Laila's kittens were old enough to fend for themselves when she dissapeared. It is very difficult to lose your pets. We still keep looking for Laila, hoping she had been stolen and will escape and find her way home. The dog has recovered, thank God.

On another note; I found a nice bag in Marks & Spencer last week. It's just about perfect.. it has a loooong shoulder strap, which most bags nowadays lack. The only thing I really don't like about it is that is has two large side pockets. I made a note to never, ever, put anything expensive in the pockets because they would definitely be targetted by pickpockets. I put pens and a few board markers in the pockets - cheap and easily replaced. Two days after I bought the bag I popped into Monsoon to look for a gift for a friend. It was about 5 o'clock and there were only two other customers in the shop... one of them came right over, crowding me and bumping up against me. I knew just what she was doing. I turned and smiled at her as she took her hand out of the pocket of my bag. She looked very dissapointed. It was just another point for my 'I hate my life in Libya' box. 

Jenna came home from school and announced that there was a man on the street next to her school who was masturbating. This unfortunately is a common occurance here. I can't understand why there isn't more survailance in the area near the school. Over the years this has happened three times to me, and my daughters, friends and colleagues have also witnessed such disgusting behaviour. Sick! Sick! Sick! More points for the 'I hate it here' box. What a week!

Food is getting really expensive, meat and chicken prices have really gone up, chicken doubling in the last month. It cost us 18 dinars to buy two chickens yesterday. Today we had a meatless lunch (bazeen bil fool), maybe we'll do that more often. What's with the inflation? I feel so cheated! It's depressing! All I know is that Ramadan will be here in a August and the prices soar in the Holy month every year. So between now and then I think we'll have to buy a freezer so I can start stocking up on things.

It's springtime, the sun is shining, the birds are singing... things will start to look up soon.. I hope... life can be so depressing sometimes.

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