Jodido pero not so contento anymore…

I’ve been in Libya just over a year and a month now and today I reached my rock bottom. I’m prone to the odd instances of being over dramatic about certain issues but today I think I have every right to be dramatic, annoyed, frustrated, angry, sad and any other emotion applicable to the moment.

I’m not one to point at Libya and say ‘It’s her fault!’ when things go wrong but today there is nothing else to point to. I know I’m not getting to a point but when anger types, it does not always do so coherently, so let me explain: I’m now suppose to be on a flight to South Africa and not in my bedroom. Why am I not on said flight? Well because after 3 weeks of being promised my passport would be ready (residence visa being renewed) for my departure yesterday, the sympathetic folks at my company’s visa department said “Sorry, your passport is not ready, you can’t travel today, maybe on Saturday, Inshallah!*“. This news was given to me with the casualness of “You’ve missed the bus, the next one will be round in 15 minutes”. Now those of you who read this and this might have realised that I was really looking forward to this holiday therefore I refuse to apologise for my ire.

Who to blame? Libya’s ridiculous, archaic and bureaucratic visa system?; The competence of my company’s visa department?; The Libyan people’s inability to give you bad news and tell you “Inshallah”? I refuse to point the finger… at one thing. It’s all of the above.

Firstly, Libya’s visa system is something that is going to hamper its effort to open up to the world and become a tourist destination. For someone working in the country (legally) it’s a nightmare. It took six months to get my work visa issued before arrival (this is not the norm, though unpredictability is king). When I did arrive it three months to get my residence visa (now that is the norm, but still long) which meant I couldn’t leave the country during that time. Once you get a residence visa, you can only leave country if you have a re-entry visa (which doesn’t always take long, but it is an inconvenience). This means that you can’t leave the country whenever you want, unless you a multi entry visa and to obtain one of those, some major arse-kissing is required (not a forte of mine as I tend to be a tad too honest for most people’s liking). Though I do think the system, needs to be streamlined, it is way too bureaucratic and long-winded.

Secondly, Libyan people seem to have a dislike for giving people bad news and instead of saying, you won’t be able to travel by the 10th of February, they simply say: “It will be ready, Inshallah!”. Look I’m no expert on religion but I’m sure God has worse things to worry about than my visa. In some cases this hesitance in delivering bad news can be endearing, but in this case, it’s infuriating. If I had known at the start of the week that I would be unable to travel, I could have planned accordingly. But no. In their minds it seems so much better to keep my hopes until the very morning of my flight and then tell me “Sorry, your passport is not ready, you can’t travel today, maybe on Saturday, Inshallah!“.

Finally something can be said about the professionalism of certain people in this country, however I prefer to leave this post for more sunny day (Sarcasm employed in this last sentence.).

*Inshallah : Means God willing (or the ubiquitous se Deus quiser for any Portuguese readers). This word is used after every sentence. “Will it rain?”, “Inshallah” etc. Read Mr. Wispa’s comments on the word that every expat in Libya dreads to hear

**Jodido pero contento

I’ve been in Libya just over a year and a month now and today I reached my rock bottom. I’m prone to the odd instances of being over dramatic about certain issues but today I think I have every right to be dramatic, annoyed, frustrated, angry, sad and any other emotion applicable to the moment.

I’m not one to point at Libya and say ‘It’s her fault!’ when things go wrong but today there is nothing else to point to. I know I’m not getting to a point but when anger types, it does not always do so coherently, so let me explain: I’m now suppose to be on a flight to South Africa and not in my bedroom. Why am I not on said flight? Well because after 3 weeks of being promised my passport would be ready (residence visa being renewed) for my departure yesterday, the sympathetic folks at my company’s visa department said “Sorry, your passport is not ready, you can’t travel today, maybe on Saturday, Inshallah!*“. This news was given to me with the casualness of “You’ve missed the bus, the next one will be round in 15 minutes”. Now those of you who read this and this might have realised that I was really looking forward to this holiday therefore I refuse to apologise for my ire.

Who to blame? Libya’s ridiculous, archaic and bureaucratic visa system?; The competence of my company’s visa department?; The Libyan people’s inability to give you bad news and tell you “Inshallah”? I refuse to point the finger… at one thing. It’s all of the above.

Firstly, Libya’s visa system is something that is going to hamper its effort to open up to the world and become a tourist destination. For someone working in the country (legally) it’s a nightmare. It took six months to get my work visa issued before arrival (this is not the norm, though unpredictability is king). When I did arrive it three months to get my residence visa (now that is the norm, but still long) which meant I couldn’t leave the country during that time. Once you get a residence visa, you can only leave country if you have a re-entry visa (which doesn’t always take long, but it is an inconvenience). This means that you can’t leave the country whenever you want, unless you a multi entry visa and to obtain one of those, some major arse-kissing is required (not a forte of mine as I tend to be a tad too honest for most people’s liking). Though I do think the system, needs to be streamlined, it is way too bureaucratic and long-winded.

Secondly, Libyan people seem to have a dislike for giving people bad news and instead of saying, you won’t be able to travel by the 10th of February, they simply say: “It will be ready, Inshallah!”. Look I’m no expert on religion but I’m sure God has worse things to worry about than my visa. In some cases this hesitance in delivering bad news can be endearing, but in this case, it’s infuriating. If I had known at the start of the week that I would be unable to travel, I could have planned accordingly. But no. In their minds it seems so much better to keep my hopes until the very morning of my flight and then tell me “Sorry, your passport is not ready, you can’t travel today, maybe on Saturday, Inshallah!“.

Finally something can be said about the professionalism of certain people in this country, however I prefer to leave this post for more sunny day (Sarcasm employed in this last sentence.).

*Inshallah : Means God willing (or the ubiquitous se Deus quiser for any Portuguese readers). This word is used after every sentence. “Will it rain?”, “Inshallah” etc. Read Mr. Wispa’s comments on the word that every expat in Libya dreads to hear

**Jodido pero contento


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7 Responses to Jodido pero not so contento anymore…

  1. raquel says:

    😦 detesto ver-te assim….

  2. Emma Parker says:

    Grrrr! How frustrating! TOTALLY agree with you on the hearing bad news. I would MUCH rather deal with the disappointment there and then than make plans and find out at the last minute that it was never going to be ready anyway. And missing out on going home? Well there’s not much that can soothe this kind of wound I have to say.

  3. Wispa Jones says:

    Sympathies, Tonito.

    I know your pain very well, after a shocker of a Christmas. Some days, nothing seems to go right…

    The link to the wispajones blog will no longer work, I am sorry to say. I have suspended my blogging activities for a while, until the current climate resolves itself.

    The worst place to hear Inshallah, as I said in my blog, has got to be on aeroplane. I don’t want my safe landing to depend on god’s will. This is one of those occasions where the will of engineers will do quite nicely, thank you very much!

    Glad to hear you finally got your passport. All the best, WJ

  4. Pingback: Lucky February the 17th: The time a missing passport meant I missed the Libyan Revolution « Travelling Tonito's Adventures

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