I have been away from Libya now for four months. We do not do politics or religion at Look Out Libya – my exile has its roots in more mundane causes: administrative and economic circumstances, and forces of nature.


At the beginning of the year I was a visa exile; whilst Tripoli enjoyed its first warm days, with terraces slowly filling up and dark winter coats gradually retreating from the street view, I was stuck in Northern Europe in half a meter of snow. What did I miss most? The smell of lemon blossom from our garden, the arrival of the first water melons, the first coffee with vanilla ice cream on a terrace, blue skies and brilliant sea views.


Then came April and travel was disrupted due to nature’s intervention; volcanoes made leaving Europe near to impossible and sand storms hindered entry into Libya. I did not really miss the ‘giblis’ or the unpredictable spring weather. However, it is the time of the year the hills around Tarhuna are at their greenest, when you can still spend a whole day outside exploring the hills and wadis round Tripoli and when you plan your last forays into the desert before the heat of the summer sets in.


Now I am an economic exile;  work will keep me elsewhere for a while. And strangely enough, I had not realised I missed all of the above so much until a flight south took me straight over Libya. The sky was incredibly clear and the views amazing. I could follow our route along the coast and then inland over the Sahara. Fezzan’s endless straight desert roads, green valleys and agricultural crop circles, and dark mountainous areas were all clearly visible. I suddenly felt homesick for the fascinating country I had travelled so extensively, friends and colleagues I had left behind, both local and expatriate, and all the particularities of life in Tripoli. Hope to be back soon.


Jacky.




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By Jacky Baltissen

Sunday 30th May 2010

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