Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fire! Fire! Fire!

Well health & safety executives in the UK would have been appalled at the so called fire drill which took place at my work today.

At lunch time the fire alarm went off, so instantly I was scarpering out of the building without my personal belongings. As I walked down the hall alone I began to wonder if I was following an incorrect procedure but once outside I found a minute gathering of Western people waiting for the all clear. The designated meeting point for fire drills was blocked up by a humongous 4x4 SUV and there was no name check whatsoever (well considering that the other 1,000+ Libyan employees were still within the building it would have been a complete waste of time).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Right or So Wrong?

Alas, I am a hypocrite. My secret judgmental opinion prior to my arrival on Libyan soil was that people who have cleaners were people who thought that their own “poop” did not stink and I was pretty disgusted that they were happy enough to pay a few bob to have their own mess cleaned up and not bother to do it themselves.

I however, have fallen in to the trap and must eat my own words.

The heat and workload in Libya barely gives me enough energy to cook a meal, let alone start scrubbing the walls and floors. (The first week is not included when I went on the ultimate cleaning, bleaching & polishing domestic goddess binge). So, I have hired a cleaner who comes around to my apartment once a week. She is a lovely Morroccan lady who does not speak a word of English but has a soft smile and a gentle manner (and the fact that none of my valuables have gone missing is an added bonus). I feel so embarrassed that she is cleaning up after me that I have a clean up the night before she comes and I also leave out cakes and crisps and food for her to eat while she is at my house. She arrives at early o’clock and leaves after 5pm and her charge for a days work is 25 LYD . . . which is the equivalent to £12.40 per day, that is £49.60 per month. She cleans absolutely everything, including my duvet and irons my socks. This is a complete luxury to me and one which I was completely against prior to my visit here, and I feel like an absolute hypocrite as I was so against my previous partner having a cleaner back in the UK but at the same time I feel unable to complete anything after work due to my hectic work schedule and the unbelievable heat!

One of the arguments FOR having a cleaner is that it is providing employment to someone who earns very little in Libya and is grateful for all the work that they get...

At the same time I can’t help but think...

Am I participating in exploitation or am I contributing to her personal gain or the economy by employing her?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wonderous Weekends

Yet again, I have had a fabulous weekend and a lovely Saturday spent down by the beach. The added bonus to this weekend was an amazingly handsome dog (well he is like a person really) called Bertie Ahern. Bertie is a delightful little maltese terrier who I managed to play Mum to for the weekend as his Mummy is away in Morrocco. He is so playful and must be a great companion to his owner, as he is so loyal and hates to be alone - he follows you around when you walk around the house & loves to be petted and cuddled lots and lots.
I think I've fallen in love ...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mother & Son Reunited

Today was a big day for my neighbour, her 22 year old son arrived in Libya for the first time to visit for a week. To celebrate his arrival she arranged a big barbeque for him and invited lots of people - there were 34 confirmed. After the major stresses and hassles with arranging his visa it was so nice to see him finally reunited with his Mother on Libyan soil.

However, the stresses did not end there. An enormous amount of preparation went into the barbeque (this included buying a new splendid barbeque (second hand which therefore mean't it needed a good scrub), marinating copious amounts of lamb & chicken, the huge shopping expedition to stock up on food stuffs & goodies, sourcing gas cylinders, chairs & tables etc.

After all of that, it turned out that it was most certainly the wrong day to be holding the BBQ , the security on our Regatta compound would not let anybody in as there was a VIP staying on the compound. In fact, they decided to forget completely even who residents were and we were forced to go get our ID to prove who we were. (This actually is a regular occurence, the head of security has seen my pass and met me on plenty of occasions but still has his power trip days where I'm forced to be interrogated in order to get to my apartment) Even though the majority of the party were turned away by the Regatta Mafia, the barbeque still turned out to be a fun event, and there was certainly triple, if not quadruple portions of food available.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Mum!

Hope you have a wonderful day today Mum.. Thinking of you!

You're famous now, in an anonymous way on lostinlibya blogspot.

Love you lots


Monday, May 18, 2009

Medina Madness..

I ventured back into what is known as the "Medina" in Tripoli today. The Medina is basically a walled medieval market with a few odd bits thrown in, it's a mixture of old and new and I can see it being a paradise for the antique and jewellery conniseur.

(Note - the Medina is smack bang in the centre of Tripoli, sort of a wierd version of Oxford Street to us Londoners)

Despite the dreaded drive throught "DEATH ROUNDABOUT" - (believe it when you see it) I still managed to feel quite guilty that I was more interested in what was in my stomach when I arrived. Luckily I ended up in the most fabulous traditional restaurant which served plenty of bread, a lovely tomato mozzarella salad and an extremely delicious, tender Tajin of Mouton (Lamb) to fill the gap.

Afterwards, I did a very minimal amount of “touristic” shopping (shame on me) – purchasing framed dead scorpions, key rings & Libyan t-shirts for the fam (that's the designer gear you're getting from Libya Bro & Sis).

Saturday, May 9, 2009

It's a Hard Life..

I actually live here now?

But someone has to do it..

I have had the most perfect weekend and despite the flaws of Libya and being away from home,right now I feel blessed to be in a “sort of”paradise..

Well, sun, sea, a terrace sun lounger, fantastic “old / new skool” company - does it really get much better than that?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

I stumbled across an extremely huge sea turtle today on a walk along the beach. I could never have imagined a turtle of this proportion but unfortunately my first experience of seeing this amazing creature was seeing her deteriorating and rotting away on the shore.

Absolutely amazed at the size but also extremely disturbed to have found out that she was more than likely harpooned at sea. Reading further into turtle torture is really sad, all native species of West Indian sea tortoises are now extinct!

However, turtle meat being considered a delicacy and the high commerical value of the shell means that people will continue to endanger the fascinating sea turtle...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Libyan Ladies Lunch

Clearly Not "Salame"..

My office is based in the middle of nowhere - the only options for food are:

1. Bring your own. 2. Camel or Tuna 1/2 dinar baguettes. OR 3. Risk going through the local council estate (much better than the ones I've seen in London mind you) to get to the local greasy burger joint. So three of the younger Libyan secretaries planned an escape lunch for me today whilst all the management were in a meeting. One of them had a car, so we all jumped in as she "boy raced" her way through town to a really nice, upper class Italian restaurant down Gargaresh road (the Rodeo Drive of Tripoli).

Not only did they insist on me choosing where we sat and what we ate, they would not let me pay a penny towards the meal. I am so unbeliveably touched by the hospitality of the Libyans, they are so generous, kind and sweet (apart from the pervy men of course).

Anyway, one of the pizza dishes I ordered was "salame" - which I though would be a laugh but when it arrived I had a tiny panic attack as I thought it could actually be pork salami and then I would end up fired and extradited from the country, working for a Governmental Oil Company. No fear there, the "salame" was a completely disgusting slimy Turkish Halal version of pork which was enjoyed by all. Along with a pizza smothered in calamari & prawns and some very strange looking green jellyish pizza. Bar the food, I had a wonderful brief lunch and journey to and from the restaurant - even though I didn't understand a word that the girls were saying, I have a feeling I've made a few friends.

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day

Attended another expat event today but actually had a very memorable and amusing time. It was the annual darts competition in which over 200 expats from all over the world came to watch. The Filipino expats seem to take the event extremely serious, whilst the British/American/Irish tend to prefer the social aspect.

Anyway, it was good fun watching everyone get thrown in the pool whilst I sat back and relaxed.

Have also realised.......I'm not a big fan of darts, they are actually for farts.