Sunday, October 28, 2012

On My To Do List

I haven't been to the Tripoli Museum in ages, since before the war. It's on my list of things to do. I want to see what changes have been made - they used to have nearly a whole floor dedicated to Gadaffi. I want to find out what's in it's place, if anything. And did they get rid of the stuffed deformed animals? I always found it amusing that they were next to the Gadaffi exhibits. All kidding aside, the museum is pretty impressive, which is why it warrants another visit.

I took these a few years ago when I visited the museum with some friends.

Not to be missed: The stuffed deformed animal section!
Also on my list of things to do is to head for the beach for some beach-combing  I want to drag back some things to put in my garden. I found a really informative website listing the tides in Tripoli... have to go when the tide is low - and lately that is in the morning after I drop my kids off at school.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

More Unexploded Ordinance in Libya - Type 314

Disarming munitions is an ongoing process in Libya, one that is likely to take years and years. Recently I came across an article about the discovery of French made cluster bombs that have been found in the west of Libya. 
C. J. Chivers/The New York Times

During the war, NATO's airstrikes repeatedly hit one of Libya's largest munition storage dumps, in an area called Ga-a, resulting in huge explosions that lasted hours and hours. Later, the munitions depot was looted by anti-Qaddafi fighters who made off with anything that they thought was useful or salable. All kinds of weapons were stored at the site, among them were French made cluster bombs named Type 314. 

C. J. Chivers/The New York Times
Little is known about how Type 314s made their way to Libya, but what is known is that so far the disposal teams working to disarm munitions in Libya haven't got a clue how the Type 314s work or how to safely defuse them. Surely France's military has this knowledge, but this information is kept in a classified ordinance disposal document database and because of military classifications this information is being withheld. This is causing a major problem for disposal technicians as they have no way of dealing with this type of munition when they are found. 

For a more in-depth article about this situation please see: French Cluster Munitions in Libya, and a Call for Help 

Or, if you have any information about Type 314s and their disposal  please contact: or - anonymity will be provided. 

It's All in the Intonation

Me: Hey Honey, I'm learning Gaelic online.
Hubby: (looks disinterested) That's nice.
Me: Ciamar a tha sibh?
Hubby: Ooooh Yeah! (looking very interested)
Me: No! That is NOT what that means! It means 'How are you?'.

I think I will skip to the advanced lessons... If Lesson One provoked such interest imagine what the advanced lessons will do!

Thanks Pig Sty Avenue for the link. It's been a good refresher of what beginner students go through.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mangling a Language

For years and years Gadaffi forbade any signs in English.... Maybe because he saw the mess the Chinese make of things... I'm looking forward to a new Libya with wonderfully funny signs. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Libya still finding it's feet, but hey, it's finally autumn!

It's finally autumn here. The weather is cooling off and we've had a few showers. Below is a picture I took   one day last week of an approaching storm at sunset. There was an incredible show of lightning right behind the mosque but I was never able to click fast enough to catch the lightning strikes.

We've finally finished painting the house, well just the stucco (or graffit as they call it here) so far. We still have to paint the ironwork. These days we're installing all the lighting and as my husband has decided to take on this project himself there is a lot of him going up and down ladders and turning on and off the electricity. But it looks good so far - I'm really pleased how it's all coming together.

Next Friday is Eid al Adha - the Feast of the Sacrifice or in Libya it's often referred to as Eid al Kabir, the Greater Eid. More information can be found about the holiday on: Wikipedia. We've already got our sacrificial ram. He was imported from Spain so we've aptly named him Juan. Usually we wait until right before Eid Day to buy our ram and this might be a better idea because Juan is becoming kind of a pet and I think it's going to be hard to slaughter and eat him. Poor Juan.

Libya has been a bit unsettled... There was a prison break last week so check points were in place around town. We're locking our doors and I'm not going out unless it's necessary.  Some areas around Tripoli had electricity cuts and now there are water cuts too that are expected to last for five days. Thankfully we have a well, so as long as we have electricity we have water. But most unsettling is the assault on Bani Walid. Clashes in the former Gadaffi stronghold have resulted in a number of deaths and injured so far. I wish they had sorted out the situation with Bani Walid a year ago, but the NTC were adamant that they were surrounded and would just give in... how stupid was that.... sigh...  There has been an increase in the number of helicopters and small planes flying over our house in the direction of Bani Walid. I hate the sound of the planes, they make me feel nervous. I pray that they find a peaceful solution.

Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of the death of Moamar Gadaffi. I will never forget that day for as long as I live

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Matter of Security

The news services are full of reports questioning the level of security at the US Consulate in Benghazi, as well as the embassy in Tripoli and other embassies throughout the region. Safety and security should be an issue for embassy personnel  but what about Americans living in countries where embassies are now open only for emergency services? And what are emergency services anyway? 

Recently, a friend of mine had an emergency and as she has no internet she asked if I would look online for the emergency phone number. Ok, that was easy enough... but wait! The phone numbers don't work! Out of service says the recording in Arabic. Plan B: Let's try the emergency email... within seconds of clicking on the send button I got an automatic reply. The message back was: 

Thank you for contacting the Consular Section at U.S. Embassy Tripoli.  We normally respond to inquiries within three business days. 

Three business days!?! For an emergency!?! There was also a different phone number than the one on their website... but of course that one doesn't work either. So, if you are an American in Libya and you have an emergency... 

You're just out of luck... 
Deal with it....

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

As time goes by....

When the weather is just right and the morning is peaceful I throw open all the doors and windows and let the fresh air and soft morning light inside. And to add to the mood I turn on some music.... moldy oldies. There are always some songs from Frank Sinatra thrown into the mix. Breakfast on the terrace. 

Yes, it's a great way to begin the day. But not only that, it sends my husband down memory lane. There's something about Frank Sinatra in the morning that reminds him of his childhood. The villa next door was leased by an American family. On beautiful mornings when the windows were all open, the sound of the radio drifted over from next door - Frank Sinatra joined them for breakfast. But better than that, it was the signal that breakfast would soon be over and the American kids from next door, Bobby, Butchy and Chrissy, would soon be sent out to play. My husband's childhood playmates.... I wonder what happened to them...

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