We have to drive in convoy in Libya. Luckily we have not had too much traffic and we are getting the hang of it. We have a guide, and two tourist policemen. There was an incident today when the guide decided to stop and check we were all there, waving us past, just before a critical navigational decision. Inevitably most of us got it wrong! There was much gnashing of teeth and there were a few U-turns (two per car) and we were all back in line.
We stopped for a visit to Leptis Magna – an amazing ruined Roman/ Phoenecian, Hellenic City. The Italians did a great job of reconstruction when they were in occupation and they are continuing to work on the site. There are large buildings, a market, baths and an amphitheatre. I was bowled over by it all – even after Sabratha.
The countryside is very desert like even though we are near the coast in a part of the country where there is some agriculture. It is not terribly exciting. We see sheep, goats, camels and a few donkeys. There are eucalyptus trees and some signs of ploughing.
We were bumped out of our hotel by delegates at the Arab-Africa Summit, here to see the ‘Great Man Made River Project.’ You will have to look it up. Anyway, we were told that the hotel was awful so we would have an upgrade. Well, if the hotel we did stay in was better I cannot think what the other one was like. We are now in parts of the country which are not much visited by tourists and there are not many hotels. We shared the hotel with the Rwandan and Tunisian volleyball teams and there were not many staff. They did their best and we were given lots of bottled water, two huge bars of purple Lux soap and two bottles of shampoo. The beds were small and had one sheet each. We were lucky and had pillows rather than embroidered cushions. We used our dust sheets as top sheets. I slept well on the thin foam mattress on a wooden bed. The bathroom was definitely a wet room but there was hot water and the cockroaches were readily chased off with a broom.
Dinner was a communal affair by the swimming pool. There was plenty of food so we could just eat what we fancied. Libya is a dry country so no alcohol, but they sent out for ‘Becks’ alcohol free beer for us. Everybody relaxed and made the best of the situation. It was cool and we wore our fleeces for the first time in a long while.