Monday, July 20, 2009

The best laid plans...

I was feeling so full of enthusiasm on Friday to spend the weekend exploring Tripoli. It didn't quite work out that way. The highlight of Saturday was oohing and aahing at the's huge, there were barrels and barrels and barrels of different olives, and cheeses...oh my. While waiting in line at the checkout, I got into conversation with a Lebanese-American guy, as well as a woman from New was all very ex-patty and the guy very kindly gave me a lift home.

So Sunday, I was especially determined to get some exploring done. After futzing about for the morning, I headed down to Al Mina to get some lunch and get a better feel for the place, though getting there was a challenge. The taxi driver took lots of back streets and I figured we must be close. He kept asking me the name of the restaurant I wanted, and I kept saying things along the lines of 'it's next to the ocean. The sea. The water. Big water?' Even though his English was quite good, he didn't understand, and I came to realise that we weren't actually very far from home.

Finally I remembered the word, 'corniche' which is the waterfront promenade type thing, and his eyes lit up and we were off.

I spotted the landmark I was looking for. I wandered around the corner, listening for the sounds of people laughing and chatting over lunch and was rewarded with...nothing. There was no-one there. Not a soul. Everything was closed. I couldn't believe it. But I walked and walked and only passed a couple of people.

I carried on walking and went for a stroll along the waterfront, almost getting blown away in the process.

I decided that it was time to get out of Al Mina and check out some of the historical sites. I had my heart set on an old soap souk (thinking I'd leave the Citadel for a cooler, less sunny day), so hailed a cab, and the driver nodded that he knew where it was. I ended up in the heart of the old town, with no clue where anything was, and again, the place was pretty deserted. No-one I asked seemed to know what I was talking about, so I kept wandering. Fruitless. I came to a street which I realised was where I'd met my friendly stalker on my first night in Tripoli so decided to hightail it out of there, just in case!

After recounting my lack of adventure to my housemates they couldn't help but laugh. "Everybody comes to Tripoli with such good intentions of seeing the Citadel...but no-one ever manages to get there." I'll prove them day...

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