Three months. I’ve been here for three months. Three interesting months. Though it feels like I arrived yesterday. I’ve completely lost track of time in this country. The only time and day that have any significance to me is five-thirty on Thursdays i.e. Weekend. Obviously me loosing track of time has nothing to do with Libya itself but more with work and how much ‘time’ it demands of me.
My initial butterflies-in-my-stomach feeling of being ‘in love’ with Libya is starting to wear off now and this new love feeling is developing into a love/hate relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the country and its people but some days you start to wonder how long you can take it here. The other day, whilst having a shisha with some other expats, this topic came up. One of the guys in particular was having a tough time staying here for long stretches of time. He has been here for longer than I and he too moved here from the Emirates. And we both agree on one thing. The Emirates is a lot more Expat friendly than Libya and at times you can forget you’re not in the so-called West.
In many ways Libya has everything the Emirates hasn’t. Friendly Locals; A rich and colourful history; An amazing landscape which offers some breathtaking scenery; Friendlier weather etc. Which makes living in this country so much more of an experience in comparison to the Emirates. The Emirates has something which this country doesn’t. The Emirates gives you an outlet to vent and relax. Malls, cinemas, good beaches in the city, bars, good restaurants etc. Sure some of these things can be found here in Libya, but not to the same standard.
A simple and very personal example. A decent shisha lounge. In Abu Dhabi I had several places to choose from though most nights ended up at my favourite place called Tche Tche’s in Khalidiya. In Tripoli the only place I’ve had a decent shisha has been at Saraya’s and it’s not the best shisha I’ve had, that’s for sure. Yes this is a very personal example but I’m sure the lack of variety and options is across the board and not only with regards to shisha lounges.
Though as I’ve said before you have to make the most of what you have, so I refuse to be brought down by the lack of options! But now I appreciate the holiday scheme of my company, which gives me breaks out of Libya every now and then.
I am now off to Abu Dhabi for the weekend. It’s strange how Abu Dhabi now seems like the normal world in comparison to Tripoli and Libya.