The capital city of Libya is Tripoli with the temperature that can get up to 46C in summer while other parts of Libya can be below 25 at the same time. But the climate is generally Mediterranean along the Libyan coast with dry and extreme desert interior.
There are many services available regarding travel to Libya including arrangements to get domestic services to visit different places in Libya. There are flights every day to and from Libya, mostly to Tripoli International Airport, from the major airports like Heathrow, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Rome, Cairo and several flights during the week from other European cities like Milan, Manchester and Vienna.
Like Cubans with Castro, most Libyans have only known Gaddafi as their leader. You are accosted with this knowledge at every turn as roadside banners and billboards proclaim “38”. This signifies the number of years he has been in power. Marry this to the fact that 50% of Libyans are under age 30 and you have an interesting population. Our guide explains that they are used to him and know how his mind works so they are anxious about who and when he will be replaced. The other posters of him state 1999.9.9 which is the date of the first Africa Unity Organization meeting – another landmark for Gaddafi on his march to “high priest” if you will. Can you imagine Stephen Harper putting up posters of the date of his election to office?
One of Gaddafi’s ideas back in 1998 was to offer $ 200,000 USD to any Libyan who was interested in going to West Africa to help populate the area. You had to go and set up a business there and the local Libyan officer would check your papers and dole out the loan. You did not have to pay it back for 5 years. So our tour guide, Tarek, went to Burkina Faso and met up with another Libyan who had taken the loan. He owned 2 restaurants – one in Ouagadougou and one in Accra – and so Tarek became the manager of both restaurants. It was also a good way to get away from his mother who was bugging him to get married. So life was quite good for 2 or 3 years but then the world changed in 2001 and he moved back to Libya.
The port came as a gift from Septimius Severus. Born in Leptis in 145AD, this local boy made so good that he became an emperor, the only African to have reached that level. (While on the subject, he died in York.) Leptis, by now rich from olive oil, greatly prospered further from his benefaction, a relationship celebrated in the triumphal arch.
The arch is still there, almost intact. You can see its obsequious marble fresco in the National Museum. Like many other colossal buildings, it has been rendered to its present state initially by the desert and much later by the Italians. Shattered by earthquakes, Leptis lay buried in sand till the 1920s, when the Italians excavated and meticulously restored it during their colonization of Libya.
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