My existential crisis is over. It was a strange couple of days towards the end of last week where I simply did not feel that great. My previous post was written in a moment where I seemed detached from reality. I literally just started writing down what was in my head in that moment. I wrote this on Thursday night. Yesterday I read the post and burst out laughing and sent to a friend to show them what my state of mind was like. They burst out laughing as well. So I thought I had to post my little outburst of randomness.
The title of the post, I can’t take too much credit for as it’s the title of a Sufjan Stevens song, which I adapted slightly. I’ve started this habit of adapting movie and song titles for my post titles. The song had been playing on my iPod on Friday, but didn’t know the title (I have over 5000 songs on my iPod, so sometimes a song plays I’ve never heard). When I saw the title of the song, A Conjunction of Drones Simulating the Way in Which Sufjan Stevens Has an Existential Crisis in the Great Godfrey Maze, I laughed. It was a perfect.
There now that I have offered an explanation for the sheer stupidity of yesterday’s post, I can return to blogging about Libya. Inshallah.
For those of you who don’t know that word, it’s Arabic for God willing. I know this word from Abu Dhabi already, but I’ve never heard it used as much as I do here. In Abu Dhabi when you were paying for any kind of service and you asked when this service would be provided, if the reply contained the ‘Inshallah’ attachment, you automatically knew it would be a while before they got round to providing the service.
Here in Libya, I found the word has a similar connotation, though they do use it in the ‘God willing’ sense as well. The problem is that sometimes the use of it in certain contexts can be quite frightening. I don’t really like when I ask a taxi driver whether he can take me to a place and he responds with ‘Inshallah’… That to me implies that usually the trip doesn’t have a happy ending. It’s like he is saying “Ha! You want to go there? Usually people do not make it there alive, but maybe today you will be lucky!”. After a while of living in an Arabic country you get used to it and the word works its way into your vocabulary. I’ve caught myself saying it a few times already.
Thursday night saw my existential crisis deepen further when my housemates and I, went to a new hotel in Tripoli for a shisha. Why did my crisis worsen? Well, it might be the fact that for three hours we were transported from Tripoli to a dream world of extravagance. Okay I might be exaggerating slightly. But it was certainly a change from Saraya and the Marcus Aureilius Café. The Rixos Al Nasr hotel has recently opened in Tripoli and my colleague and friend, Marcelo, came to me last week and said “Tony, I was at a place last week which I really think you should go to for a shisha.”
Marcelo lived in Abu Dhabi as well and knows quite well the types of shisha places which were at our disposal in the city. So I organized with some friends and colleagues for us to have a shisha there.
As I approached the hotel I knew that this was going to be something different. It was unlike anything I’d seen in Tripoli. Aesthetically the exterior was simple, yet sleek and elegant. The indoor in my opinion didn’t do the exterior any justice as it seemed over the top. We proceeded to the garden/patio area of the hotel filled with tables. My mind whispered to me “Tony, you’ve done it! You are able to teleport between places! You are in Abu Dhabi!”. At this point I let my mind indulge in the teleportation fantasy as I was in no state to argue with myself.
So for three hours we were sat in the garden enjoying a shisha and the terribly slow service. But for those three hours we were not in Libya. We were someone else. I’m not sure where, but it wasn’t Tripoli. It was a good evening, we did something different in a place which offered a sense of tranquility when we most needed it. It’s by no means cheap, but it’s worth the money in the end for the simple reason that it is different.