Yusef knocked on our bedroom
door at around three o'clock in the morning to tell us that the news was
reporting that Kadafy's son and three grandchildren had died as a result of a
NATO airstrike. We got up and watched the news for a bit - details were
sketchy. Finally we went back to bed.
In the morning we watched the
news. Many people thought it was all just more of Kadafy's onslaught of lies.
We'll have to watch the news and see how it all plays out.
My husband went to work and
came home to say that the United Nations building, The British Embassy, the
American Embassy and the Italian Embassy had all been attacked and looted by
Kadafy's gangs. Of course the first thing that the looters marched away with
was booze. Next were computers, laptops, office equipment and anything and
everything else. Reports say that the thugs took pleasure in trying to shoot up
a car at the American embassy - as it was fully armored their bullets couldn't
penetrate it but they had a great time trying. Such a waste. How sad to see
such ignorance. What's next?
I took a walk today. The
wildflowers that had filled the feilds of our farm last month have all dried up
and gone to seed. The ground is crunchy underfoot. The loquats have all been
picked and eaten, now we await summer's bounty: apricots, figs, almonds and
I sat down and counted my many
Today's news: Bin Laden's out
of the picture. Good riddance. Who's next?
With Ben Laden taking centre
stage in the news there were no reports on the international news channels
about Libya. The Libyan television stations were carrying the funeral of
Kadafy's son - but Moamar was nowhere to be seen. Everyone I know suspected
that it was all a show, that Kadafy's son and grandchildren didn't die. The
Libyans I spoke to wanted to know why priests from the church were blessing the
supposed bodies on the TV reports 'Were Kadafy's son and grandchildren
Christian?' they wanted to know. The bodies were kept covered and no one could
say for sure who exactly was under the covers. Later the cemetery was full of
shouting and chanting men and boys and some women. Everyone said it was just
more of Kadafy's propaganda. In the evening they showed people in
Bab-Al-Azzizia dancing to a live band - it was more like a celebration, not a
I've finished one book (The
Mermaid Chair) and I'm starting another. Actually I've started three books and
haven't decided which on I will settle on.
In the morning the weather was
muggy and dusty, threatening to rain, but by afternoon the winds picked-up and
shifted from the south - full force sandstorm. Miserable! Nothing to do but
stay inside until the weather clears.
We heard lots of planes going
over during the night, but we didn't hear any explosions.
The weather was hot and dusty
early in the day but cooled off in the late morning. I took a drive to the nearest
gas station to scope out the gas situation. There were long lines waiting but
the station was closed except for people that needed diesel. I went home and
decided to try again in the late afternoon. But when I checked around later
there was no gasoline to be found... maybe tomorrow.
I spent time walking on the
farm, collecting grasses to use in dried floral arrangements. Something to do,
something to keep busy with. The apricots will be ready to pick in a few days.
Something to look forward to.
After we went to bed we heard
a huge explosion. Dressed in our pajamas, we went outside but we couldn't
determine where it had come from (the next day we heard that it was in
Fashloum). Back to bed, only to be bombed once again, and of course once again
we jumped up and ran outside to see what was going on. After a few minutes we
went back in the house, only to hear a third explosion. The news only reported
the explosions but didn't say what the target was. Finally we went back to bed
and stayed there. If there were any more explosions we must have slept through
NATO's planes were out early
this morning. Usually we expect them around eleven o'clock, but today they were
already buzzing us just after seven. We're all hoping that they step up the
pressure. How much longer will this conflict last? If people in Tripoli take to
the streets to demonstrate they will be mown down, massacred in cold blood. The
embassies have closed up and gone. There will be no foreign observers to witness
My husband took my car to the
gas station in the hours of early morning. At about two o'clock in the
afternoon there were about 30 cars ahead of him so he called me to come with
Yusef in his truck. The plan was that I would take over for him in my car near
the front of the line and he'd get his truck in line at the end. This way I
would spend minimal time at the gas station. I packed up his lunch and we drove
to the gas station. When I got there we switched places. It was complete chaos.
Yusef stayed in his father's truck while my husband stood at the side of the
road near my car to make sure no one harassed me.
When there were six cars
between me and the pumps they decided to allow only five dinars per car and
they were stamping the car's registration booklet so that you couldn't get more
gas for three days. The car in front of me pumped in 5 dinars and then the
attendant zeroed out the pump and gave the same car another five dinars. I was
livid. Tempers were flaring, there were guns being waved around, I got my five
dinars worth and went home. I have half a tank of gas... that's better than no
gas - and most important: I am safe.
I took a walk about half an
hour before sunset. The air was cool and fresh, the grass dry and crunchy
underfoot. The apricots will be ready to pick soon.
Perfect weather today. We
opened up all the windows and let the fresh air and sunshine in.
It was quiet today, less
planes then usual and also less noise from traffic on the main road. People are
only driving when they absolutely have to, and when they do drive they go
slowly to conserve gas. It's very weird to see most people driving at or below
the speed limit.
We heard an explosion in the
evening but we didn't know where it was from. Other than that it was quiet.
Another day of glorious
weather. Only a few planes. We didn't hear any explosions. It was like a
We went to the grocery store
to buy milk, cheese, eggs and toothpaste. As we drove along we noticed that the
lines of cars waiting to get gasoline seemed a bit longer (is that possible?).
I dreamed about going back to
work. I was met by one of my students as I was getting my bag and books out of
my car. I felt so happy to be back, but my student looked so sad. He told me
that Kadafy was still in power. I dropped the books back onto the seat of the
car and turned around and looked at him and said 'I guess we're not starting
today after all.' Then I got back in the car and drove away. It was as simple
as that. Then I woke up.
We're all waiting. Waiting for
the day that Kadafy and his family are gone. Waiting for the end, waiting for
change, waiting to sort out what is left, and waiting to get back our lives.
Everything is on hold now... while we wait.
Even if Kadafy miraculously
disappeared today it would be months before life returned to some kind of
normalcy. It's May. Then we'd have June and July before the month of Ramadan...
and we all know that NOTHING happens in Libya in Ramadan.... sigh... I just
want to get back to work. I hate not having a plan. I hate not knowing what's
going to happen.... sigh..
We haven't reached the point
of despair..... yet....
des•pair: the feeling of
having lost all hope:
She uttered a cry of
A deep sense of despair
He gave up the struggle in
One harsh word would send her
into the depths of despair.
Eventually, driven to despair,
he threw himself under a train.
Today is a kind of anniversary
for me. I met my husband thirty-one years ago today. We got married two and a
half years later. The day I married him I was suffering from temporary
insanity.... it's had lasting consequences! hehehe!
We've had a few days break
from NATO's planes but this morning they came back for their usual morning
Perfect picnic weather today;
in-laws are all here to pick apricots. Our dogs have spent the afternoon
chasing all the little kids and scaring my sister-in-laws.
It's Mother's Day in America
today. I spoke to my mom, my youngest sister and my son in America.
Bright and sunny today. It's
been quiet in and around Tripoli. The news says that NATO is concentrating on
the areas of Misrata, Sirte and Zintan.
I spoke to a friend of mine
who said she got in line at a gas station yesterday at six in the morning.
After waiting for eight hours they ran out of gasoline so she abandoned her car
in line and went home. She returned today at 6am and finally was able to get
gasoline at two in the afternoon. Over the course of two days she waited in her
car for 12 hours. She had to have her husband pick her up to take her home to
use the bathroom and then return her to her car. It's time for me to get in line for
gasoline... I am dreading it.
We slept with the windows open
last night but I was so tired that I didn't hear the air raids. I vaguely
remember my husband shaking my shoulder to tell me there were explosions but I
just rolled over and continued sleeping.
I had weird dreams... dreams
about bats and owls - both supposedly signs of evil and death, if you believe
in that kind of thing. I dreamt I was keeping them as pets and trying to figure
out what to feed them. The bats were reclusive and kept to themselves, but the
owls were happy to sit on my arm and take food from my hand. I woke up and
wondered about the dream. Maybe I'm just worried about food supplies and also
noticed that fruit bats have been helping themselves to apricots in our
orchard. Our food stocks are still OK and we have plenty of apricots despite the
bats, thank God. Or maybe it's from watching four Harry Potter movies in the
last few weeks. Bats and owls.... weird.
In the morning I watched the
news to see what I'd missed in the night. Apparently there were six explosions
in different parts of Tripoli including Bab-Al-Azzizia. Also reports that the
rebel's flag had been raised for a while at Matiga Airport. Planes flew over
all morning. We all wonder what will happen next.
Grilled cheese sandwiches and
salad for lunch, kabab for dinner and Scandinavian kringer with tea for
dessert. No tomato paste today! Yeah!
Wednesday, May 11th, 2011
Explosions woke us in the
middle of the night but we just drifted back to sleep. In the morning at about
8:30 we heard planes and two explosions. We don't usually get air raids at that
time of the day. I'm not sure where the bombs hit. We are getting so used to
the air raids that we don't run outside to look anymore. We just continue on
with whatever we're doing.
Jenna and I went out in the
morning to visit a friend and do a bit of grocery shopping. We came home and
made stuffed peppers, rice pilaf and a mixed salad. Apricots for dessert.
In the evening I sat outside
with my sister-in-law and enjoyed the fresh air.
Everyone I talked to today
commented that they thought Kadafy might be dead since we haven't seen him on
TV in a while. And everyone commented that they thought Saif al-Arab was still
alive and the funeral was a fake. I'm not sure what to believe.
A friend of mine called me on
Wednesday to say she needed to fill her car with gas and wanted to know if I
needed gas too. She suggested we could both go at the same time the next
morning. There would be safety in numbers and having someone to talk to would
be a way to help pass the time. I said it sounded like a good plan. So we met
each other along the way and got in line at six o'clock in the morning at a gas
station that had been designated 'for women only'.
There were hundreds of cars in
line ahead of us. But the line was moving pretty quickly and we were optimistic
that it wouldn't take very long. After three hours (9:00am) the station had run
out of gasoline and everything came to a complete standstill. A few of the
ladies decided to give up and worked out how to maneuver their cars out of the
line. For every car that left, the line moved up. We decided to stick it out
and wait. Hopefully gasoline would be delivered to the station soon.
At eleven o'clock my friend's
husband came to pick us up and take us to a bathroom. Then he brought us back
to the line. We both got in my car, put a sheet up over the windows to block
out the sun and spent time chatting and reading back issues of National
At about 2 o'clock we decided
to get out of the car and walk up the road to the gas station to see if we
could get any information about when the next gas delivery would be. The man
patiently told us that the deliveries were fairly regular and to expect
something in the late afternoon or evening. We stretched our legs a bit by
looking in some nearby shops. My husband came to take us for a bathroom break
at three o'clock.
When we returned we got back
in my car again and relaxed and dozed off and on for a while. The weather was
fine, a cool breeze was blowing - it was nice having a companion to keep from
getting bored (or grumpy). I looked over to the side of the road and saw a
familiar face - it was one of my old students. He came over and we visited for
a while. He said he was staying at his sister's house which was nearby and he
swore that he would stick around and make sure we were safe. He insisted we
take bottles of water from him and asked if we were hungry. He said he knew the
guys that worked at the gas station and went to check out the situation for us.
When he came back he said to expect a tanker to arrive around sunset.
At dusk my friend's husband
came back, dropping off his youngest brother to stay with us and act as a
chaperone and protector. Shortly after that my husband dropped off my son Yusef
to do chaperone duties too. So now including my student, we had three
The tanker truck delivered gasoline
a little after sunset. It took about an hour for the gas to be unloaded and the
lines of cars started moving at about 9:00pm. All day, since the break of dawn,
hundreds of women had been waiting in their cars to fill gas. Many had left
their children at home, or taken the day off work, taken time away from
teaching or studying. Some were young, some old, some pregnant. All had come to
this particular gas station that was designated for women so that they could
have a safe way to fill their cars' gas tanks.
As soon the gas station
attendants started pumping gas, gangs of men and boys started to try to push
their cars into the lines, sneaking in from side roads. Men dressed in army
uniforms and carrying Kalashnikovs swaggered to and fro threatening to shoot
off the legs of anyone who got out of their car. To reinforce their threats,
they shot their guns off into the night sky. Anytime one of the cars driven by
the males tried to cut in line the women would all start to honk their horns.
The 'soldiers' threatened to shoot the cars of anyone honking.
Men were shouting, women were
defending their places, horns were blaring and machine guns were shooting. One
of the soldiers standing next to my car told a colleague 'Cover for me for a
few minutes. I gotta go smoke some weed'. The air was full of the smell of
alcohol and hashish. The boys and men in the cars and the 'soldiers' were
inebriated, armed and dangerous.
One man rammed his car into my
front bumper, trying in vain to intimidate me into letting him get in line in
front of me. I told him the line was for women and he swore at me, calling me
the vilest of names. I held my ground and didn't let him in front of me. My
student called me and told me to stay in my car and keep my place. No one would
hurt the women waiting but they would try to intimidate them.
The situation was getting
worse. The gangs of men and boys were getting larger and taking over while the soldiers
(if in fact they were soldiers) disappeared into the night. We wondered why
they had left. Because of the escalating danger, the gas station attendants
decided to close the station. They turned off the pumps and lights and left,
leaving the darkened station to the men and boys who were getting more
boisterous; playing loud music, drinking and smoking. The women held their
places. It was dark and dangerous. I decided to turn on the radio station that
plays the recitation of the Quran 24-hours a day (FM 99.9). I turned up the
volume as high as it would go and told my friend to do the same in her car.
Other women in the line followed our example.
Within minutes a group of
police dressed in navy camouflage uniforms and carrying clubs and Kalashnikovs arrived
on the scene. They proceeded to smash the men's cars with their clubs, dragging
the men out from their cars, beating them over the head and face, crunching
bones, breaking windshields, smashing
headlights and taillights and banging dents into the cars. My student called
and told me not to worry, that the women wouldn't be attacked. Some of the
policemen were jumping up and down on the tops of the cars, crushing the metal
beneath their heavy boots. The men were all trying to back their cars out and flee.
All around were men screaming and crying from pain and shouting out pleas for
mercy. A few shots were fired. Any cars that had been abandoned were attacked
by the police who slashed all of their tires. My heart was pounding. I thought
I would pass out from fear. I have never been so terrified.
After the men's cars had been
cleared out the dust settled and the station became quiet. The police continued
to monitor and patrol the area in the darkness. Two cars tried to return but
the police immediately came out and sent the men on their way. After about 45
minutes of quiet the gas station re-opened and soon the lines of cars began to
move again in an orderly fashion. I reached the pumps at 2:30am.
As I was driving out of the
gas station my student appeared to ask if I needed an escort home. He had
stayed with us all night on the sidelines just as he'd promised. I thanked him
for his kindness and we left. It was almost three o'clock in the morning when
we arrived safely home. The ordeal had lasted over twenty hours.
I spent a quiet day at home
recovering from the trauma and drama of yesterday.
When I woke up this morning I
looked at the clock and was surprised to see that I'd slept for 12 hours. I guess
it was an after effect of the traumatic gas station adventure. I spent the
morning tending to my garden. Then I sat on the front porch and read a book.
After lunch I took a long nap. I let the peaceful day wash over me. I feel much
There have been about six
explosions this evening. I'm not sure where or what they hit. I spoke to
friends who live in Tajoura and near the centre of Tripoli but they said it
wasn't in their area.
I've got a house full of
hormonal teenagers.... I am living in more than a war zone.... God help me...
God help us all....
My salary situation has been
resolved! Yeah! Such a relief! Now I have to make it last until Libya gets back
to work again.... whenever that is.
I had a haircut. I didn't need
one for another week or so, but when I spoke to my stylist she said 'Get in
here cuz I'm leaving in a few days.' So I hopped in the chair and said 'Give me
a cut that will last and last.' Short! My hair hasn't been this short in ages.
But it's a good cut that will grow out nicely.
Ibrahim has grown out of last
year's summer clothes so I took him shopping to see if we could find something
to wear. He's at the stage where it's hard to find clothes. The shops have
either small kid's stuff or young men's stuff, but not a lot for 12-year olds
(and the shops only have last year's merchandise to choose from). I think we
will have to take his jeans and make cut offs to wear around the house.
I sat on the front porch in
the late afternoon listening to NATO's planes drop bombs south and southwest of
Tripoli (but nothing too close by). One after the other until almost sunset.
They've never bombed like that before, and not at that time of the day
In the evening I walked to my brother-in-law's
farm and his wife made pizza for the kids. We used an electric pizza maker that
we hooked up to an extension cord so we could bake the pizza's outside in the
garden while we watched the kid's play. We had a nice time.
There was a knock on our
bedroom door early this morning. Nora cracked the door open and poked her head
in and said 'We have a bee situation going on in the kitchen.' The 'bee
situation' turned out to be a swarm that had come in through the kitchen window.
Someone had left a jar of honey on the counter and the bees were lured in by
the smell of the honey dripping near the jar's cover. It took a while to move
the swarm outside - everything in the house now smells of smoke. Too bad we
didn't have a hive to put them in. I've been asking my husband for ages to get
some hives. Now maybe he will do it.
The weather was glorious
today. I took a walk, picked apricots and mulberries, relaxed in the garden and
read a book. Later I took a nap. If I could ignore NATO's air raids throughout
the afternoon dropping bombs, it would feel like a holiday. I wondered what
could possibly be left to bomb.
The ICC charged Kadafy, his
son Saif, and his brother in law Sanussi with war crimes. Now if they could
only issue the arrest warrants and collect them and take them away (along with
the rest of their clan).
I wish that we had internet so
I could pinpoint all the locations that have been bombed around Tripoli on
Google Earth. Last night there were explosions near two of my friends' homes.
They are both ok but say the experience of being so close to a target is very
traumatic to say the least.
Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
I decided to check out things
at work today. As soon as all this mess is over I want to get started back at
my evening job so I thought sorting out my cupboards, books and papers would be
a good idea. When I got there I opened the gate and the main door, but when I
reached the inside door I noticed the door had been damaged and the lock
changed. I found the son of the owner of the building who told me the building
had been broken into but nothing had been stolen. The morning manager had put
in a new lock and repaired the door. He didn't know who had done it but said
they were most likely looking for money. I locked up and left. I'll have to get
a new key from the morning manager, but that will have to wait until next week
as she has run out of gas and can't get to work. What a mess. I'm glad I wasn't
there when whoever decided to break in - that could have been really dangerous.
I visited with friends in the
evening. It was nice to get away from my kids for a change and do something
different. Otherwise it was life as usual.
I slept well all night long.
In the morning, my husband said during the night the whole town erupted in
gunshots and blaring horns. Apparently on the Libyan television channel they
said the green flag had been raised in Benghazi and the country was one again.
Of course it was just a big lie. Probably a diversion of some kind. I'm glad I
slept through it all.
I heard that Aishia and Sophia
have gone across the border to Djerba. I thought they had a travel ban placed
on them. Maybe they should be put on a leaky migrant boat to Lampadusa.... or
given a tent in the refugee camp on the border..... sigh...
I finished reading the book
'Room' by Emma Donoghue. It was hard to get into at first because it's written
through the mind of a five-year-old (baby talk) who had never experienced life
outside a room that he and his mother were held captive in. I room without
windows, only a skylight. When they escaped they had to adapt to life in the
world - the boy had only known an 8 foot by 8 foot room without windows - now
he and his mother were free. It took time to for them to adapt and they needed
assistance. It was interesting.
The book made me ponder what a
free Libya will be like for the Libyans who have known nothing but Kadafy.
Everyone under the age of 42 will have to adapt to a different kind of life
too. The door is unlocked.... they have to get up the courage to step through
to a new life.... a life of choices.... a free life.
We went to sleep listening to
the sound of NATO's planes humming in the distance but were soon awoken when
the sounds became louder and closer. The planes roared overhead and then we
heard the sounds of bombs screaming toward their targets followed by huge
explosions that shook the house and rattled the windows. We ran out into the
garden to listen and watch. There hasn't been this much bombing ever.
After things seemed to calm
down we went inside to watch the news and see what was being reported. Libyan
naval ships in the port had been hit in Tripoli as well as in Khoms and Sirte.
We had also witnessed bombings on land to the south, east and west of us but
these hadn't been mentioned on the news. We turned off the TV and went back to
In the morning we watched the
news again while we ate assida with honey for breakfast. It was mentioned that
a tanker loaded with gasoline had been turned away. The gasoline situation in
Libya is going to become even worse. I told my husband we needed to be patient
and not use the car unless it's absolutely necessary - he wanted to take a ride
down to the port to have a look! No way! My car has a half tank but my
husband's truck is nearly empty. I don't want to get in the gas lines again -
it's too dangerous, but I may be forced to.
The weather today was cold and
windy. Last week the weather was perfect but today it felt as though winter
wanted to come back again.
The kids have been cleaning
the area of the farm near the entrance, moving rocks and pulling weeds. They
keep finding scorpions as they work and Yusef has been preserving them by
throwing them in a bottle with a bit of gasoline. After they've soaked awhile
(and are 100% dead) he takes them out and dries them.
|Just one of many... |
Scorpions can be easily found
at night using an ultraviolet light but I haven't been able to find one in
Libya. The scorpions glow when the ultraviolet light hits them. It would be
nice to use to check for scorpions in the garden around the house. I've been
stung once and it was extremely unpleasant!
I began reading a new book
today: 'Breathless' by Dean Koonts. So far it's ok.
Today I'm looking on the
bright side and counting blessings. Since the end of February:
- I've read 35 books,
- watched lots of movies
- and six seasons of Two and a
- prepared a teacher training
- worked in the garden,
- spent time with my family and
- taught my daughters how to
bake cakes and cookies,
- prepared Masterchef style
- located constellations and
planets in the night sky,
- taken long walks,
- sorted out books and
- picked and dried herbs,
- made floral arrangements,
- organized all the cupboards
- had my haircut three times
- lost five kilos (without even
- had more time to develop the
spiritual side of my life,
.... and that's only some of
the list. I never used to have so much free time to do the things I want to do
- now I do.
We had a thunderstorm this
morning. It didn't last long but it was refreshing and settled the dust for a
while. Then the wind picked up and the sand started blowing hard. The air was
full of dust. Finally, as the sun set the wind died down but the air was still
hazy with particles of dust.
There have been some
explosions this morning and throughout most of the day. I don't know if they
are from NATO or not - just Boom! Boom! To the south of us. Mostly they sound
far away. But where exactly, I couldn't say.
Air raids in the night, we
woke up, listened for a while and went back to sleep. I've started going to bed
at about ten o'clock because with all the interruptions in the night from air
raids I need as much sleep as I can get.
Beauty sleep... don't want to look like a hag now, do I?
The weather today was hot,
dusty and muggy. I drove into town to get keys made for the doors at work. The
first two locksmiths I went to were closed but I finally found a place open. On
the way back home I stopped at the butcher's and the greengrocer's.
We're stocked up now for a
while. My gas tank is just a bit below half. The lines at the gas stations keep
getting longer. When I sit on my front porch I can hear gunshots coming from
far off at the gas station in Ain Zara. How long is this going to go on like
I keep hearing about
businesses that are being broken into - thieves making off with office
equipment, computers, HD TV's - anything that can be carted off and sold. It
makes me so sad to hear that Libyans are stealing from each other. This is a
time when they should be helping each other. But apparently they are out for
themselves.... a behaviour that they have learnt these past 42 years. Take
whatever opportunity that appears. Jump in other people’s houses and property -
squatters rights. Take what you want even if it doesn't belong to you. Finders
keepers.... So sad.
There is talk that everyone in
Tripoli will take to the streets and demonstrate on the 28th or 29th. We'll see
if that happens. Maybe they will be too busy either waiting in gas lines... or
robbing each other.
Cool and overcast today. I had
my morning coffee on the front porch and watched the clouds drift by. Then I
went inside to watch the news but there wasn't any new news about Libya so I
turned off the TV and went back to contemplating life on the front porch....
Meatless Monday: Bazine bil
foul for lunch.
Once again we were awoken in
the night by the sounds of planes and bombs. I lost count of the explosions -
there must have been at least thirty, coming from every direction but mostly
from the city in the area around Bab-Al-Azizia. I went outside to chase the
kids back into the house. The sky was overcast and it was hard to tell the
smoke from the clouds. As soon as our hearts started beating at a normal rate
we went back to bed.
The phone rang at around four
in the morning. It was my friend Tara calling from the US. She'd been watching
Twitter and wanted to know if the bombs were raining down and were we OK. 'That
was about two hours ago' I told her. 'It only lasted about five minutes and
then it was over.' She had a hard time believing me. People think that in a war
you are bombed relentlessly, but the reality is that the air raids last a few
minutes and then you go on with life.
I've discovered that war is
pretty boring. Most of the time is spent waiting for something to happen, and
while you wait you carry on with regular things like cooking, cleaning,
shopping, and waiting in queues for gas or bread. When NATO's planes are
overhead we listen for bombs, but usually they only strike at certain times of
the day - and mostly at night. I suppose it's different in places like Misurata
where the fighting takes place in the streets. But so far in Tripoli it's just
been a waiting game (thank God!).
In the morning we got up and
started the day. Nora had an exam at uni so I dropped her off and came home.
After watching my daily dose of news I started on my list of mundane chores
around the house.
The apricots are finished but
there are some mulberries left and peaches are just beginning to ripen. I'm
counting my blessings! Having fruit trees to pick from is truly wonderful.
My husband is going to have
his truck modified to use gas cylinders (like we use for cooking) instead of
gasoline. Supposedly you get approximately 400 kilometres per gas cylinder. I
hope this works. The gasoline situation is worse than ever. My car has just
over a quarter of a tank now. I'm not looking forward to sitting in lines at
the gas station. It's just way too dangerous.
Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
There were more air raids
during the night. I was too tired to care. I'd hear the planes and the
explosions and roll over and go back to sleep.
When I woke up at seven there
was no electricity. I got up and made assida for breakfast and then poked
around the house for a while. Finally I went to back to bed and read a book until
I fell asleep again. The electricity didn't come back on until one o'clock in
the afternoon. I wondered if this was going to turn out to be a common
I dropped my husband off at
his mother's house so he could pick up his truck to take it to the garage. I
visited with my mother-in-law for a bit and we watched Obama giving a speech.
Then I went home.
More speeches.... I cooked a
huge pot of barley soup and watched Obama giving yet another speech. Phew.....
long winded speeches one right after the next...
After lunch I called my mom. I
usually call my son and tell him to pass on the message that we are all OK.
While I talk I watch the clock and talk for a minute and then say bye and hang
up. But if I call my mom I talk for five minutes. 'Don't worry about us Mom. We
are OK.' I really miss the internet. We were always in contact when we had
internet. Now I have to be happy with a minute phone call a day. Well, I guess
I should be happy with that - some places in Libya don't have any telephone
service at all.
In the evening Ibrahim and I
walked to my brother-in-law's farm to visit with his wife and Ibrahim could
play with the children. I hadn't heard from them in about a week, it turned out
that they have all been sick with some kind of stomach virus. I hope we don't
catch it.... I feel sick just thinking about it.
We slept the night through. If
there were any explosions we didn't hear them.
I woke up at seven in the
morning and started in on housework. Ibrahim was my assistant for the day (so
I'd let him play computer games when we finished).
We took all of Ibrahim's
clothes out of his wardrobe and washed them. Tomorrow we will decide what to
keep and the rest we'll bag up and send to his younger cousins. Ibrahim is
nearly as tall as I am now. He's at the stage when he's growing out of his
clothes faster than I can buy new ones. Nothing from last year will ever fit
him again. It's hard to believe that in four months he will become a teenager.
We cooked lunch together;
Ibrahim stirring and putting in the correct amounts of spices, adding just the
right amount of water. Ibrahim likes to cook and if he watches something being
made he immediately commits it to his memory. This is fantastic until you
discover him baking a cake or making spaghetti bolognaise at four o'clock in
the morning (because he woke up and was bored and hungry). I think we need to
start locking the kitchen at night!
The weather today was
wonderful. After I finished all the housework for the day I sat out on the
front porch with Ibrahim and my husband. We drank tea with roasted
peanuts. Oh what a nice day. If only
NATO's planes didn't remind us of the war.
The usual air raids during the
night. Some explosions quite close by. We got out of bed, had a look around at
the sky and then went back to bed.
The weather was beautiful. We
had a peaceful day.
More of the same - air raids
during the night - we turn over, pull the blanket up over our ears and go back
to sleep. There is nothing we can do about the explosions and their accuracy is
so amazing that we feel safe enough to sleep through it all.
My husband and I went to the
grocery store to look around and get a few things. They're beginning to bring
in more kinds of cheese now - expensive, but it's available.
I visited a friend in the
evening. It was nice to get away from the kids for a while.
One of my friends was in the
gas line for FIVE DAYS. Finally she got gasoline but it was a HUGE ordeal -
lots of shooting and fighting and she said all the police were armed with
Kalashnikovs and Taser guns. They were shooting off the Kalashnikovs and
threatening people with the Tasers. She said it was extremely frightening.
Six o'clock in the
morning: Ring.... Ring.... Ring...
I reached over and picked up
the phone and looked simultaneously at the caller ID and the clock. It was a
friend. Why was she calling at this
hour? I answered the call.
'Hello? Is everything OK?' I
asked cautiously. 'Sorry to call you at this hour but I just heard that there
is a line for women at the Arada Gas Station and there are only four women in
the line' my friend explained. 'Are they pumping gas?' I asked. 'Yes' my friend
replied 'Do you want to go?' I looked over at my husband who was nodding
enthusiastically and said 'I guess so.... sure.' We decided where we would meet
and I quickly got dressed and headed out the door.
We arrived at the gas station
only to find the aftermath of what looked like a brawl. The police were waving
away the cars driven by women saying that they weren't filling up for women
anymore. There must have been fighting at the pumps. A smashed up car was
pushed on the median, windows and headlights broken. One man was stumbling
along at the side of the road so drunk that he had to be held up by a friend
who was only slightly less inebriated. He was babbling incoherently. The police
were sending them on their way. God knows what we had just missed. One of the
policemen had suggested we try the gas station in Sidi Masri so we headed that
Ten minutes later we arrived
at the station in Sidi Masri to discover that they were only pumping gas for
men. We tried to convince them to let us in but they were unsympathetic and
refused to help us. What next? My friend and I decided that as long as we were
out we'd see what was happening at the Tajoura Gas Station. So off we went.
When we arrived there we found orderly lines. The one for men lined up in one
direction and in the other direction was a double line for women that was three
times as long as the men's line. But the pumps were closed; everyone was
waiting for gasoline to be delivered. And who knew when that would happen?
We decided that since the
lines for men were shorter than the ones for women that we'd go home and send
our husbands to fill the tanks. Then we went back to my friend's house and made
pancakes and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and had ourselves a good laugh
while we wondered what on earth we were doing in Libya.
We haven't heard any nearby
explosions from NATO in a few days and there haven't been very many planes
overhead. With the gasoline situation there aren't very many cars on the roads.
Almost the only sounds to be heard in my neighbourhood are birds singing,
chickens clucking, roosters crowing and dogs barking. Occasionally we hear
gunshots in the distance. For the most part it feels peaceful so I'm putting up
my feet, relaxing with a book and doing my best to pretend I'm on vacation.
There were planes going
overhead last night and sometime after 10pm I heard three explosions in the
distance to the south. At one point I heard a different kind of plane go over.
It sounded like a huge fan blowing a strong wind. The dogs jumped up and started
barking at the weird noise. I wondered if it was a drone. I went to bed alone
around midnight - my husband was in line at a gas station somewhere in Tripoli.
Sometime in the middle of the
night my husband came home. He didn't get any gasoline. He'd left because it
was just too dangerous to stay in line.
The kids had stayed up all
night long and when I got up in the morning I had to deal with the aftermath of
- The TV room carpet was hanging
over a wall in the garden - someone must have spilled something on it.
- One of my houseplants had been
knocked over - all that was left of it were a few broken stems and a pile of
potting soil on the floor.
- Ibrahim's toys were scattered
- At one point during the night
Ibrahim had chased one of the cats around the living room and it had peed on
the sofa in revenge. The stripped sofa cushions were leaning against the wall
and the pillows were piled up in the corner. Thank God the upholstery is
- Sara had cooked an entire
chicken (We're rationing! That chicken was supposed to last three meals!).
- The kitchen was a mess.
- Piles of dirty clothes
littered the bathroom floor.
Needless to say, I was rather
unhappy about the state of my house. The kids had all gone to bed and I had to deal
with the mess.
I cleared a place to sit on
the sofa in the TV room so I could watch the morning news. The South African
leader had been to Tripoli to try to talk some sense into Kadafy.... ha ha ha.
All of these empty negotiations are just wasting everyone's time (and
patience). I'm waiting for the British to start using their bunker busters. A
good, well placed bomb or two (or three) would brighten my day.
We heard some big explosions a
little before 10pm. We wondered if NATO would get down to business now that
Kadafy said he wasn't going to give up. I sat outside on the porch reading and
listening for more air raids. At midnight I went inside and got ready for bed.
I have enjoyed reading your blog about life in Libya. When I was young and in school one of my desk mates was a boy who had grown up there and we heard the most amusing stories. Reading your blog, especially under the present circumstances brought back to mind some of the stories I heard from him. I do hope that you have good luck and the war gets over soon! Odzer from India.ReplyDelete