Saturday, June 29, 2013

Life's annoyances in Libya

It's house fly season in Libya. No matter what you do the house seems full of these awful bugs. And they are annoying - dive bombing your head, buzzing around your ears, doing their best to get into your eyes. 

As the weather warms up so does all the garbage that litters the streets around town and this encourages the proliferation of the little beasts. There is also the fruit that fills the trees in the farm lands, overripe fruit drops to the ground and provides the perfect breeding grounds. No matter how hard we try to keep the windows and doors tightly shut we are still plagued by the swarms. It's the time of year I dread.

We've tried fly traps but that just attracted more flies! And we've tried fly paper strips - those long curly, gluey strips you hang around.... they only work if the flies land on them and they are unsightly and there is always the chance that someone will get tangled up in one... a big sticky mess! What seems to work the best is turning all the lights off in the house and waiting for the flies to try to get out the closed windows and then spraying them with a lethal dose of Raid. But is that good for us, we wonder. My vacuum cleaner is full of the nasty little bugs.

There is some respite if you sit outside in the garden, but not much. And in addition to the buzzing of the flies you have the buzzing of drones overhead. Life in Libya these days.... sigh... 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A 5-minute Adventure

Whenever the receptionist at work steps out for five minutes you can bet that there will be a constant stream of visitors. Today a man walked in looking distraught. He started in on a story about his family being outside in the car and he needed to get something but he needed 20 dinars to pay for it "It's important - this is an emergency. My wife and kids are waiting outside in the car". He opened his vest and pulled out his family book and said he would leave his family book with me and come back with the 20 dinars. I decided to give him 2 dinars and see if he'd take that and leave. 

He shook his head and said "No! No! Wallahi (I swear to Allah), I only want to borrow 20 dinars. I will give you my family book and come back with the money. It's an emergency. My wife and children are outside" he again opened his vest and took out his family book to show me. This time I noticed that I could see through the lining in his vest pocket and sitting there plain as day was a 20 dinar note. I shook my head and said sorry and turned away from him. I wondered why he was asking for money when he had some in his pocket. He asked if there was a Libyan that he could talk to so I went inside and sent one of the students out to talk to him. 

A minute later my student came back and said the man had gone. "Did you give him any money?" I asked. "Yes" he said. "Did he give you his family book?" I asked. "No - I only had 15 dinars and he took that and left." he replied. We let it go at that and went back to our lesson.

Later, after class, when I had time to sit down and think about it and it hit me like a flash of bright light. The guy must be using this as a ruse to change the banknotes that are no longer valid at the bank. He gets people to give him 20 dinars and gives them his family book and then returns awhile later and hands the unsuspecting person the bad banknotes. The person probably doesn't realize it until later - the whole time thinking they've done someone a good deed. And although he wasn't interested in my paltry 2 dinars he pockets the 15 that my student gave him and took off. I imagine a lot of people just hand him 20 dinars and say "Please, please take the money. Wallahi!" and of course he then takes the money and off he goes. 

What will they think of next? 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Beach weather

Yesterday was the longest day of the year. In the morning the girls and I, along with our good friend Sally, had a leisurely picnic breakfast at a picnic area near the sea. It was lovely, the breeze beautiful - perfect weather.

Afterwards we went down to the beach to have a look - the usual garbage everywhere with Libyans happily sitting in the filth. Plastic bags and dirty diapers floating in the water along with the swimmers who seemed totally oblivious. What on earth is the matter with these people?

NOTE: For those of my readers who will complain and say I'm being negative about Libyans... please go down to the beach and have a look yourself... but please remove your blinders first!

I think my daughter took some pictures. I'll ask her if I can post some.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Just around the corner

Ramadan is just around the corner. That means it's the big mad rush to get everything ready. I'm not in the mood this year. But I did see a nice big gas grill in one of the shops... it had a rather expensive price tag and another tag that said Walmart on it.

We could do with cooking out this Ramadan... grilled chicken, hamburgers, shish kabobs,  steak.... easy quick meals that will go great with the 30 days of Libyan soup. With my luck I'll go back to the shop and find the grill gone, but I'll look this weekend.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Libyan Waiting Room

I'm waiting
Waiting for the situation to improve
It's turning into a longer wait
Than I ever expected
But I guess I'll wait
A little while longer

There are plenty of chairs in this waiting room
And room enough for everyone
All that's required
Is patience

Friday, June 14, 2013

A quiet morning surprise

I woke up early this morning to a quiet house and looked outside the window...everything was white. There was a heavy fog. I made myself some breakfast and put it on a tray and headed outside to sit on the front porch and eat breakfast while I watched the sun come out and burn off the fog.

The past few days my husband has been busy building a bird-feeder and I was delighted to see he had finished it last night (after I had gone to bed) and set it up in the front garden where I could watch it from my chair on the porch. I hope he makes a few more. 

My new bird-feeder - still a bit misty as the fog cleared.

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