Tripoli comes a bit to life

Posted by

In the morning I try to go back to the medina again the holiday is over hence it should be coming to live again. But when I get there it is still slow going. The medina in Tripoli does not wake up until 11 in the morning. But I walk in and the first thing I meet is a fairly old man – Saladin. He has studied French and English at university in the 60ties or 70ties and wants to talk. I can see he is holding some postcards hence I assume this little chat will end with him asking me to buy a postcard. But we start to talk and he tells me about his trips to Scandinavia back in the 1970s. And so forth. Then he reach for his postcards to give me one – now we come to the money part he wants me to pay – but no he just give me a postcard with his address and ask me to tell all the ladies I know in Denmark that there is this bloke – Saladin who want one wife or four.

The backside of the medina

So if anybody is interested let me know Saladin is an independently wealthy man making 100 Libyan Dinars a month in disability pension which is approximately 80$.

This incident was the first of many where I met some Libyans who just want to talk and not sell something. I have gotten so used to travelling to places where the only reason people comes to talk to you is because they want to sell something to you. But Libya is different. Here tourist is such a novelty that it is an interesting event when you meet them and the people is generally so wealthy that they don’t need to sell stuff to the tourist.

The side of the medina

The day progress and my sightseeing are slowed down by randomly meeting locals who wants to talk a bit.

It is quite different personalities such as one of the local priest at the only Catholic Church in Tripoli who tells who The Leader (Gaddafi) invited the entire Christian clerical community to his house the year before. Where the bishop of the church had impressed The Leader by quoting the bible in Arabic by heart. Other stop where a completely random meeting with the local dope dealer who told me it was a lot safer to smoke in Libya than drinking because the penalty for drinking in Libya was one year in prison whereas the penalty for smoking hash is less and you are less likely to get caught. Whether he was right or not I don’t know he could be slightly biased towards hash.

In the evening I want to try to find an internet place. I know there is several but suddenly I just can’t find one.

The sea at the back end of the medina

Hence I try a place which has a photocopier in the room and several PCs it look like an internet place. Hence I walk in and he asks if I can use the internet. The man in the office tells me well we don’t really offer this service but ok you can use the internet – I thank him for the offer and send a few e-mails. Afterwards we start the usual talking and he tells me this is a translation service and not an internet provider but he don’t really wants to work and offers to get a cup of coffee and it is impolite to say no – so even though I should meet my tour group this evening I say yes and we talk a bit – it turns a bit uncomfortable for me when he wants to talk about the Mohamed Cartoons – but ok we can do that as well.

The medina show signs of life

After that I get to meet the rest of the tour group – it is pretty big with 17 in total and we go out for a nice meal at a Moroccan style restaurant.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.