When we travel, we try to gather an insight into wherever we are, going beyond the simple tourist sites and learning more about ordinary life and culture. Travelling to Libya last year, we felt that we’d gone some way to achieve this and came home with a different image of the country and its people from the one we had previously. As a result of this, the ordinary people of Tripoli are very much on my mind this morning.
I believe the BBC correspondent was standing not far from this spot this morning, outside the elegant hotel where we spent a couple of days. He described the events going on around him to the sound of shells and gunfire.
I wonder what’s become of these people? Where is the young woman who stopped to wish us welcome to her country, to thank us for visiting and to hope that we enjoy our stay? Where are all the refugees from elsewhere in Africa, that were welcomed into the country as part of the regime? Where are all the families in the marketplace, the young women we met whilst visiting the museum, the charming young man we met at Leptis Magna and his family?
What’s happening in those delightful newly-restored buildings in central Tripoli, where hopes were high for a tourism revival and confidence in the future was placed in beautiful small guesthouses like this?
But uppermost in my mind this morning, what’s become of our dear friend Mohammed and his family? The incredibly well-read man who made us laugh with his comparison between the Sahara and Weston-super-Mare and who taught us a great deal about life in Libya and the world in general, seen though very different eyes?
Sad to say, I have no idea.
See more of our photographs of Tripoli and beyond here and hope that all will be well. Read the blog posts of our incredible time in Libya starting here and hope that, sometime soon, we’ll be able to go there again and feel that Sahara sand between our toes
because really, it’s a long way from Weston super Mare.