The only thing we hadn't
expected about Libya was – the rain! Living in Cairo,
we often forget that it rains else where in the world!
Imagine our surprise when we disembarked in Tripoli into
the pouring rain. Luckily it wasn't too heavy,
and only lasted a couple days.
Libyans are nuts
about babies! We were nervous about passing through customs
(on my British passport!), but security whisked us to the
front of the line and the passport inspector looked very
seriously at our passports for about 1 second before he
started to make funny faces at Zoë! Raising
one eyebrow at a time was his specialty! During our one
week trip Zoë accumulated
almost a dozen impromptu gifts from store owners, hotel
employees and random people on the street. Strange men
and women would dart out of cars and shops to kiss her
on the cheek or take her out of our arms. At first we were
a bit alarmed, but we learned to expect it.
Libya has no tourists! We visited the extensive Roman
cities of Leptis Magna (maybe a dozen tourists) and Sabratha
(zero tourists), and several different medieval Berber
granaries. We also spent a day driving to the "must
of Ghadames on the edge of the Sahara which had maybe 5
tourists. Leptis was a class A roman site, comparable to
Ephesus in Turkey.
We were obliged to organize
our entire trip through a travel agent and consequently
we traveled in a private car with a guide. Quite a treat!
The guide organized everything, food, tickets, hotels...
This is completely contrary to the way we normally like
to travel. However, the convenience of the guide had its
positives and negatives - we felt really insulated and
met very few Libyans. Kind of weird! However, it made things
easy for our
first time traveling deep with Zoë.
Zoë traveled like a champ! She barely complained,
even on our longest car rides or as we walked about countless
ruins. We traveled slowly, and
tried to get in as many naps as possible. I have to admit
that Robyn and I are also very enthusiastic about participating