Week one in Libya has been an odd experience. Considering the difficulties I had getting here: 6 month long wait for a visa; When the visa was eventually issued, it was sent to the wrong country; When I eventually got flying towards the country, my connection in London got cancelled; When I eventually arrived in the country, 2 days later than expected, my suitcase didn’t arrive; When I eventually got out of the baggage hall into arrivals, driver wasn’t there, had to wait 1.5 hours for him. Any sane person would take this as a sign that they are not suppose to be here!
And to be fair, the drive from the airport to the staffhouse was a hard one and reminded me of my arrival in London 7.5 years ago, when all that went through my mind was ‘What the hell am I doing here?!’.
When I eventually got home, met my housemates and crashed for some sleep as I would be starting work the next day (with clothes I’d been wearing for 4 days now).
Off to work we went on a Saturday morning, dirty scruffy clothes and all. Work was good and kept me busy. Luckily after the first day at work, my housemate took me to the only mall in Tripoli to buy some clothes and supplies to wear until my suitcase arrived.
So my first impressions of Libya? Well, see the email I sent to my friends in Abu Dhabi.
1. Its way more underdeveloped than I thought, but it definitely has a charm to it.
2. Driving is INSANE!! Seriously guys, AD is Switzerland in comparison to the driving here. NOONE and I mean NOONE follows any road rules. I saw someone go round the wrong way in a roundabout and still had a go at oncoming traffic.
3. Sometimes I feel like I am in a Harry Potter book as everyone keeps mentioning ‘he who must not be named’ (and would appreciate not mentioning the name in emails from hence forth).
4. I’m living in nice house however it seems to be located in a slum J Will send photos soon.
5. I’m quite far from the city centre in some suburban slum which I have no idea how to get to which leaves me quite grateful for the transport provided. However it is quiet and there are shops around which makes it ok for food etc.
6. They ONLY seems to have mint and apple shisha tobacco here so will ask one of you to mail me some tobacco from AD. (PLEASE)
7. My housemates seem really nice and have been really helpful since my arrival.
8. Work… well seeing my arrival took so long they are trying to figure out what to with me, but there are some cool options for me, which I’m excited about.
9. I will definitely learn Arabic here as the English spoken is minimal! J yesterday coming back from shopping our taxi driver was teaching us Arabic J. Libyans are definitely 100% more approachable than Emiratis! More friendly, willing to talk even if you don’t understand J
But what Tripoli has made me realize is how lucky we were in AD. The place is heaven in comparison to Tripoli. However I think I will adjust quite alright here, just need some time.
However this email was sent before the weekend. The weekend showed me how difficult this place can be if you’re not living in Tripoli centre. I spent the day at home depressed about my choice to move here. Why?
I missed my friends in Abu Dhabi. I missed Abu Dhabi. I missed my life in Abu Dhabi. I missed sitting in a café with friends after work having a shisha and just joking around. I missed what Abu Dhabi offered in terms of entertainment. I missed being in Abu Dhabi period!
I think what made it harder is that when I moved to Abu Dhabi, It felt like home to me. I didn’t get the same feeling with Tripoli.
But I made a choice. Remain depressed for the weekend and get the depression out of the way and start the new week with all guns blazing!
I’ll let you know how it went. J