In the first week of this month I had Dutch friends over for a week. In preparation for their visit we thought of things to show them in and around Tripoli and the list got longer and longer the more we talked about it. We knew a week would be too short to show them all the highlights, so we made a "Must Do" list. Looking back, we didn't even do all the things on the short list either.

So what did we do? We took them to Sabratha, to Leptis Magna and to Gharyan (pottery and Troglodyte house) and to the Medina (twice). We went to O2 for the best pancakes and hot dogs in town (according to my children), had lovely barbequed chicken from "the arches" on Gargaresh and enjoyed a great meal in beautiful surroundings at the restaurant next to the Marcus Aurelius Arch. I took them shopping for vegetables, bread and meat and helped them look for a carpet.  When they left they had almost a 1000 pictures on their camera, a suitcase full of souvenirs and lots of stories to tell the people back home.

For my family it was a wonderful week too. It was great to show them around and look at the place we call home for 3 years now with new eyes again. When you go about your day to day routine you tend to forget to really look around and a lot of things become normal. Visitors notice things you might have been taking for granted and remind you of the way you looked at it when you had just arrived. Walking around the Medina with a 4 year old, blonde girl, was a whole new experience for me too. My boys have outgrown the cute phase, but this girl was a hit with men and women alike. We carried around many gifts and sweets that were given to her by friendly shop keepers and quite a few mobile phones around town have a picture of her on it.

It was nice to show them 'our' town and enjoy with them all the wonderful things Tripoli has to offer. I realise again how privileged we are to be able to live here for a few years and really get to know the place and many of its people. That is one of the best things about expat life as far as I am concerned.



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By Fokkelien Spaander

Sunday 17th October 2010

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