I was recently asked to show around a family relocating to Tripoli from Dubai. After 24 hours here they were looking somewhat shocked, so a friend and I rapidly thought up some ways in which Tripoli scores over Dubai. First of all, the weather is undoubtedly better. Second, it’s not as expensive here, and you’re less likely to be tempted to spend your money. Third, the people are different, locals as well as expats. For example, I have been told by more than one person that conversation in Dubai tends to centre on cars, clubs and other means of advertising one’s wealth. I don’t think it’s like that in Tripoli, although just now there’s obviously a lot of talk about football and there are even foreigners (who probably don’t know where Libya is on the map) making a brief acquaintance with Tripoli airport as they travel to South Africa for the World Cup.

But as artist Evgeni Andreev says in his expat interview (read it in ‘Features’), ‘Not everything in this world is football and TV’ and that is where Tripoli residents have such a big advantage over those living in places like Dubai. Because cultural life here is limited, and because there are not many places to go for organized entertainment, we have great opportunities to do things that in other places may be out of reach, such as direct a pantomime, play in the first rugby team, front a band, or stage our own art exhibitions.

A friend who is soon to leave Tripoli made a speech at his farewell dinner in which he put down his business success here to ‘courage, trust, and people’. I think he also had a huge dose of luck, but his words do ring true. Have the courage to be a little daring, trust that you will succeed, and work with others to achieve your aims. And now is the time to do some thinking! While you doze in the summer sun, take inspiration from others and imagine what you could do to make Tripoli a more stimulating place in which to live. And after the summer, put your plans into action.

Meanwhile, enjoy the football,


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By Kate Minogue

Sunday 20th June 2010

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