Thursday, 28 December 2006

Eid Mubarak & A Happy New Year

Wishing everyone an Eid Mubarak and a very Happy and Prosperous New Year

InshaAllah 2007 will be a good year for everyone


We have New Addition to the Family!

Meet DUDU the tame Budgie

This budgie is hand reared and so is used to be handled by people and is very cute, even when its in a bad mood it will still climb on my finger when I put my hand in the cage but then it will go back to its cage if it is not up to playing.
The kids fell in love with it straight away, I am glad it is tame so that it gets to spend time flying around the room as I do not really like to keep it in the cage all the time.

This brings me to another Budgie story, about 6 years ago when my daughter Aida was about 2 years old, I bought her a green tame budgie, she loved it a lot and used to sit watching TV with the budgie (named DuDu as well) sitting on her arm, that year we decided to go to Egypt for a holiday so I asked a friend of mine to look after the budgie until we come back (the same friend that dumped me in the road when I was trying to go to a funeral) I was very grateful to him and I bought him a good after shave to show my gratitude, when we came back, I went to collect the budgie, the first thing I noticed was that the budgie was standing with its head low and not looking very well, my friend said its just missing us!!
I took it home and Aida was thrilled to see it but the budgie did not move much and did not want to come out of its cage! 2 days later I found it at the bottom of the cage with its legs pointing up and very dead.
I went back to my friend and asked him what had happened? he denied that it had anything to do with him but I kept going on and on until he finally gave in and admitted the truth. He was apparently trying to take the budgie out of its cage even though it did not know him and was not used to him yet so it bit him on his finger, he got annoyed and slapped the poor budgie on its head, it never recovered.

Sunday, 24 December 2006

Happy Holidays & Here is My Video

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I would like to wish all our Christian friends a very Happy Christmas

The Christmas Tree at Trafalgar Square, London

This tree is presented to London by Norway's capital Oslo every year as a present to show Norway's gratitude to Britain for its support during World War II. It has become a tradition since then and a main attraction at the square during Christmas.

Blog images

Now for the Video that Beacon (Thank you) tagged me to make and some of you encouraged me to do, here is what I made and since I watched the great work done by Beacon, Chatalaine, A.Adam & Hannu I felt maybe I could come up with something nearly as good :o)

I scanned some pictures, the majority I got from Google and some I borrowed from websites as I do not have much Libyan material.

The Music is "Yarieh" by Cheb Khaled, Rashid, Taha & Faudel..... It was chosen because I do not really have any Libyan music.

I dedicate it to all of you but especially to Trabilsia for her continuous support and kind words, I hope you all enjoy it:

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Libya's Endangered Wildlife

I have been checking the status of some of Libya's wildlife, it seems most of the animals that are native to Libya are either already extinct or God forbid on their way to be extinct.
Although Libya does have some protected areas where animals can live peacefully, the reality is that laws protecting these areas are rarely enforced and therefore animals continue to be collected or hunted just for the fun of it.
Al-Wadan or Barbary sheep is a beautiful big animal, I used to see a herd of them living in Sidi-Elmasri gardens when I was young, I am not sure if this herd still exists as I have heard the gardens are not as they used to be. This animal only exists in north Africa and is on the brink of extinction in Libya.

A Libyan Barbary sheep (Wadan) living on a mountain

The desert fox or Fennec is another animal that can be found living in the Libyan desert, it is a cute small nocturnal animal, I knew of a family in Tripoli when I was young that kept one as a pet, apparently this fox can become a good and playful pet. Recently on TV I watched a program about animals and they showed a box containing five very young Fennec pups being transported from Egypt to a zoo in Mexico through London, luckily at London's Heathrow Airport someone opened the box and found only one still active the other four were unconscious because of dehydration and hunger plus they were too young to be transported, the animals were confiscated by the British authority and were taken to a zoo to be looked after, I am not sure if they all survived.

I have seen one of these foxes in London Zoo, its kept in the Moonlight World, where the enclosure is kept dark during the day so that people can observe nocturnal animals such as the Fennec, it is so dark in there that you have to hold hands with the people you came with if you don't want to get lost in the dark!

This is one of our most beautiful animals, the Gazelle again I used to see a herd of these in Sidi-Elmasri gardens in Tripoli and many families used to keep them in their gardens, I do not think that many of this graceful animal still live in the wild in Libya.

Many people used to go on hunting trips in the desert and I am sure have hunted this lovely animal to extinction.

Of course I have written about the Kleinmanni tortoise (Egyptian/Libyan tortoise) a couple of times before Here & Here , they are an endangered species and are already extinct in Egypt but Libya still has a small population.

This is another tortoise species that can be found in Libya, it is referred to as the Golden Greek Tortoise which is just a type of Spur-Thigh Tortoise.

This one is my own Golden Greek Tortoise, it is a beautiful large female

The Libyan Jerboa which is an endangered species as well, in Europe and the USA this rodent is bred and kept as a pet

I am sure there are other species that I did not cover which is due to me not knowing about them or lack of information, I hope that there are people in Libya that care about conserving these animals and that there are programs to breed them in order to release them back in the wild.

Monday, 18 December 2006

The Tree & The Mouse

When I was very young living in Tripoli, we had an American family living next door to us, I remember just before Christmas they used to ask me and my brothers to come and help them decorate their Christmas tree which we used to like and really look forward to doing and I remember at Christmas there would be presents for us under the tree, they were such a lovely family. Now it seems the same is happening to my children, this weekend the neighbours asked me if I mind bringing my children over to help decorate the tree, I was delighted becuase I knew my kids would love to do that.

So they went over and they put some decorations on the tree and they made these cardboard stars with the neighbours names written on them with a glitter pen in Arabic which the neighbours thought is very cool!

After the tree was ready, the neighbours put all the presents they bought under the tree, the kids were delighted to see their names on some of the presents, I promised them that I would take them over on boxing day.


Do you remeber my story about the mouse?

Yesterday I went to visit the same friend, he told me that his cat (Chicken) had brought in 3 mice on Saturday, 2 of them were dead but the third was still alive and he managed to save it and out it in a plastic box as you can see in the picture below, anyway he brought the box to show me how cute the mouse is because I kept telling him to just put them out in the garden and that they were virmin and dirty, as he opened the box the mouse was lying down on an old sock and it did look cute! and it did look very dead as well, of course he was not happy that the mouse died so he took the box to the front door, picked up the mouse by its tail to throw it in the rubbish bin then a miracle! the mouse moved, I heard him laughing so I went over to find him very happy and holding the mouse in his hand, still it did not look very well.

He thought it might be dehydrated so he tried to put water on its mouth, the mouse was moving a bit but mainly just lay on his hand not attempting to do anything.

He eventually put the mouse back in its box and put the box away.
I saw him this morning in the street, I asked him how the mouse was? IT IS DEAD!
He told me few weeks ago he did the same with a mouse but then he had forgotten about it for few days, when he remembred, he opened the box and found the mouse as dry as an autumn leaf.
This is the nasty culprit, the lovely CHICKEN
One more thing, I was checking Chatalaine's blog yesterday and found a pleasant surprise, she had made a Video/Slideshow of how Tripoli used to be I think back in the 60's, I really enjoyed the show, many places I recognised (I left Libya in 1980), check it out, its on YouTube as well.
I am still having problems commenting on some blogs, I know it is affecting many of you as well, some of my comments appear twice or even more sometimes and I can not delete them, sorry about that, I even commented on Trabilsia's latest post, it appeared twice but on her post it shows 0 comments!

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

My News of Libya

Some of you asked me to write about my meeting with my Libyan friend that just come back from a long visit to Libya, although he did tell me a lot as we gossiped for few hours but I will be asking him more as I am going to see him again InshaAllah before his return to Libya.
Let me start by saying that my friend lived in the UK for well over 20 years, his first time back to Libya was about 2 years ago, since then he has been coming and going but his visits have been lasting longer and longer in Libya.
When I met him few days ago he had been here only a couple of days but he told me he was already missing Libya and can't wait to return.

The Ancient Greek ruins in Shahat
One of the first things he did was show me a video he took of a trip from Benghazi to Shahat and Sousa, the scenery was amazing and really out of this world, the Green Mountain was very green and lush, the Greek ruins are amazing and screaming for tourists to come and admire them, as he was filming he was being driven, I noticed the car was driving a bit fast and sometimes overtaking other cars in dangerous snaking roads, my friend told me of course about the many accidents and preventable deaths on the roads in Libya, check Khadija Teri & Beacon's blogs for more on this subject.
Of course when they arrived in Shahat there was the obligatory ZARDA (Picnic) they had the BBQ, the meat, the rugs and everything else (but the kitchen sink!) typical of a Libyan picnic.

Something really embarrassing happened there, so if you are of the sensitive type skip this bit!
While my friend was walking through the ancient Greek ruins he found some very old caves dug up by the ancient people that lived there as you can see in the picture below.
some of these caves are small some are large and apparently people used to live in them, so he walked inside one of them and was confronted by this awful sight, a man was doing his toilet business inside (a Number 2) imagine that! I am wondering what the smell was like, it must have been awful, this man got up quickly and most likely did not clean himself. How embarrassing is this for him :o)
Luckily for this man, my friend's video camera was switched off, otherwise the video would probably be on YouTube by now.
My first reaction was what a dirty man but then I asked my friend if there were any public toilets there, he laughed at me, there are no public toilets there or anywhere near, then I realised that this poor man had to go and what was he supposed to do? the only places with privacy are the caves or so he thought :o)
This led to my friend telling me that even places that have public toilets in Libya are a no go area as more or less all public toilets are so disgusting that no one in their right state of mind would use them.
The cave used as a toilet was something like this Sousa cave (above) so I thought I would give some Free ideas to the authorities in Libya on creating some public conveniences:

How about this double Decker toilet, it can be used by people that are visiting the caves while the top deck can be used by people standing on the hill
They are cheap to make.

Or for a really luxury stay, how about this Luxurious Cave? all the caves can be turned into something like that, what do you think? :o)

On a more serious note, if the authorities want tourists to come and visit the the treasures that we have in our country then they should expect that these tourists have paid a lot of money to come and therefore they are going to expect to find the highest standards of hygiene, comfort and cleanliness, if they can not find a toilet, what are they to do? how would you expect them to respect our country? Would you want them to mess our treasured ruins by using them as toilets?

On other issues in Libya, my friend comes from the city of Benghazi and that is where his family still live.
His impression of Benghazi was very poor, he told me the city is in a very bad state, it is very run down, very dirty and lacks most normal public services which he said is very sad and has even effected many people living there.

On the other hand he visited Tripoli and was very impressed by how big, clean and modern it was, so much so that he told me he is seriously thinking about moving to Tripoli to live there.
This is really good to know but this should not be done on the expense of other cities, why is Benghazi being neglected? how many other cities are suffering as well?
Lets hope InshaAllah that everywhere gets the Tripoli treatment.

I do not apologise for my Critisism, this is Productive Critisism and is for the benefit of our Country

This is it for now until I find out more from my Friend. To Be Continued...............

One last thing, today is my last day at work this year! as from tomorrow I start the rest of my annual leave and the Christmas & New Year holidays and I will be back at work on 2nd January 2007 InshaAllah.

Monday, 11 December 2006

Tornado, School Closure & A Friend

I have had strange few days, Thursday morning I was helping a Muslim lady sort out her late husband's Arabic book collections when a Tornado landed in that part of London and caused a lot of damage! the strange thing is that while I was working I noticed that it went very dark then it started raining heavily, I just carried on working for another 30 minutes then left, as I was trying to turn right into the main road policeman stopped me and told me the road was closed and that I must turn left, I looked quickly and could see firebrigade and ambulances blocking the road about 100 meters away and just assumed it was an accident.
I turned the Radio on and was really surprised to find out that a Tornado struck about a 100 meters from where I was! and only affected a small area in North West London, when I went back to my office which is few minutes away my colleagues told how the storm suddenly appeared with loud noise and hail and thunder and that it lasted less than a minute, they thought I would have more to tell them or that I have seen more, I didn't see or hear anything, I am so disappointed, something so rare with so much damage passes on top of my head and I missed it, it can only mean one thing, the house where I was working had perfect double glazing that just blocked out the noise.
A sister of a Libyan friend of mine used to live in this road, many of the Libyan community in London live in that area.
some of the damage caused

Saturday The Avenue School (the Muslim school I blogged about before) had its farewell party and as the Headteacher said, it went out with a bang.
I took my children there to meet their ex-teachers and school friends, there was a lot of people many ex-teachers, ex-parents and ex-pupils turned up to say goodbye to the school that had been open for the past 10 years. We had a British Muslim rapping group and they were very funny as well and were a big hit with the children, the food was fantastic good quality Lebanese food and there was a lot of it plus many cakes and drinks, it was a good day and we all felt happy to see other people that we had not seen for a while and sad as well as we probably wont be seeing them again as the school is due to close on Friday.
Today is an exiting day for me, one of my best friends who went back to Libya about 8 months ago is back in London and I am going to see him at 7 this evening, I can't wait, I have missed him a lot and have so much to tell him and I am sure he has a lot to tell me too.

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Furniture Puzzle

Have you ever tried assembling one or more of these flat pack furniture? Some furniture shops in the UK have a show room where you go and look at the furniture and when you decide you like what you see then you note down the number and go to the stock room and pick up your desired piece of furniture in a flat pack! a good example of these shops is the Swedish chain IKEA, I am sure Libya would be getting one soon or the famously reliable ARGOS.

The problem with these flat packs is that as soon as you open them, you realise that you made a big mistake, you are confronted with a huge number of different pieces of wood, some of them have a letter or number on them, the majority have none! you feel dizzy and think my God how am I going to do that? then you find the instructions booklet and you feel relief as it says on the front easy assembly until you open the booklet and what you see is very bad black & white drawings that are so confusing I am sure you need a PhD to understand them. You lay all the pieces on the floor and start looking carefully at the drawings and trying to follow it step by step, attach part A to part D but which is part A? and is this part D? sometimes you just have to guess and hope that you got it right! couple of days later your piece of furniture resembles the pictures on the box, you are exhausted but pleased with yourself and proud of your new piece of furniture until you look at the booklet and see this: Assembly Time 2 Hours!
Once I was helping a friend assemble a computer desk from Ikea, he asked me to help him as he knew I have done it before, so I start assembling and got very busy doing it that I didn't know or notice what my friend was doing, few hours later he said to me, look I made it easier for you by assembling the drawers of the desk, I said but the instructions said follow it step by step and I am still in page 1, the drawer assembly is in page 6 maybe you should not have done that, he told me to stop worrying and that it was fine, well it wasn't! we had to break the drawers that he glued together and then reassemble them as it had to be done through the desk, I think he learnt his lesson and will follow instructions from now on. I am glad his computer desk is still in use.
The problem with these flat packs is usually the instructions, even though I have used them for many years as buying already assembled furniture in this country is very expensive, the instructions are still as bad and really difficult to follow even though they make it sound so easy that a child can do it! well they are wrong.

Monday, 4 December 2006

Faulty Phone

Last week my mobile phone switched itself off then refused to switch back on, I only had this phone about 2 months with a new 18 months contract with O2, I phoned O2 and told them what happened, they told me that I need to go to an O2 shop where they will check it for me, so they gave me the phone number of the nearest O2 shop near where I work, I rang that number and started telling them about the problem with my phone when the lady that answered suddenly said, excuse me sir this is not an O2 shop this is the O2 shopping centre in Finchley Road (which I know very well) but I said O2 customer service gave me your number, she said they have made this mistake so many times, that shows I suppose how reliable O2 are!
I got back to the customer service line and had a long conversation with them, told them that I need a phone at my work and they are messing me about and what are they going to do about it, they said absolutely nothing can be done, I have to take my phone to a Nokia repair centre, they do not know where, I have to find it myself and if I dare cancel my contract with them then I am liable to pay the line rental fees for the whole duration, I told them that when I was with another phone company and my phone broke down they replaced it 24 hours later no questions asked to which they said that perhaps I should have stayed with them.
Anyway I took my phone to a Nokia centre and was told it will take about 10 days to repair, when I mentioned that I needed a phone they offered to give me a phone on loan until mine is back, I agreed to that, I was given a very old Nokia that looks very embrassing and very worn out, it has a very bad camera and if that was not bad enough, when I looked in the Gallery I found loads of pictures of a very ugly couple celebrating their Hindu wedding! I know I am bad but I really could not stop laughing as I kept watching them posing for the pictures.
I am still without my all singing all dancing Nokia N80 and the worst thing is that they told me that they have to reset the phone which means loosing all the contact numbers, text messages that I saved and all the pictures I have, I have downloaded most of these pictures on my PC and have all the contacts saved in MS outlook but still it means having to enter all of them manually once I get the phone back, I really can't wait.
How did we ever survive without camera MP3 phones before?

Saturday, 2 December 2006

Another Birthday


Myspace layouts

Amir is 6 today, Happy Birthday my lovely boy with my best wishes to you InshaAllah

Thursday, 30 November 2006

Funeral & Traffic

Again the Libyan community in London gathered at the mosque today for the funeral of one of the most respected Libyan men in the UK, Mr. Mohsen Omaire May Allah have mercy on his soul (الحاج محسن عمير عليه رحمة الله).
I phoned my boss earlier and asked him for permission to attend the Janaza Prayer, he was kind enough to let me attend the prayers and he even told me that I can go to the burial if I wanted, The deceased was a friend of my late father and he was always kind to me so I was really grateful that I could attend the burial.
I left work a bit early and headed to the mosque and put my car in the pay & display car park, as I entered the mosque there were many Libyan men inside then someone announced that the Dhuhr prayers was in half an hour and not now so many of us had to go out to the car park to adjust the time for parking.
After the prayers we stood outside trying to organise how to get to the cemetry, I didn't know how to get there as I have only been there once before so I asked one of my friends who knew the way to let me follow him and I kept repeating it to him in case he forgets. We got to the car park then he started driving and I was driving behind him.
As soon as he got to the traffic light it started to change, instead of stopping as there was no way that I could go through, he shot past the now red traffic light, I had to wait and it was one of those annouying lights that take for ever to change, as I got through I started looking for my friends car thinking he would be waiting for me, he was not there! I drove further and kept looking but nothing! I phoned him and asked him where he was, he said he was on his way to the cemetry, I was surprised and reminded him that I did'nt know the way and was depending on him to show me the way, he blamed me for not driving through the red light to catch up with him, can you believe this?? I drove around in circles then decided to drive back to work. I am so angry, in fact I am fuming and can feel black smoke coming out of the top of my head, I missed the funeral because I am a law abiding citizen that did not want to drive through red traffic lights.

Sunday, 26 November 2006

My Son the HERO

Children's imagination has no bounds, they usually come up with the weirdest things, like my 5 year old son when I am walking out with him usually as soon as we are on the pavement he would say Baba make sure that you do not step on the grooves or cracks between pavement slabs! Why? apparently there are Crocodiles & Sharks living there and if I step in between then that is it, I am eaten by them! the funny thing is that sometimes when I am walking on my own I catch myself doing it, walking from the middle of one slab to the other just as my son told me.
Once I was driving and both of my kids were sitting at the back, I heard someone break wind and it was REALLY stinky, I turned my head and said ooooffffffff who did this? my daughter straightaway said it wasn't her, after a short pause my son said it was him and he had to do it because we were being chased by lots of Baddies and he wanted to save us so he let out this smelly wind to repel them, I am sure it worked since it was very smelly.

Well I should be thankful to my son the HERO he saved me from all those nasty crocodiles & sharks and the horrible Baddies.

Another important thing for me to say:

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Today is my mother's birthday, I want to wish her a happy day and wish her a long healthy life InshAllah and tell her that I love her and think the best of her and that she has always stood by me and my brothers even though she left her family in Lebanon at young age to come and live in Libya with my father after they got married, she has suffered a lot by not seeing her family for many many years due to many circumstances but she never lost any of her kindness and her happy sense of humour.

May Allah bless my mother and all the mothers everywhere

My mother wrote many poems as this was what she enjoyed most, she told me that she wrote the following short poems back in the 1960s when my brothers and I were very young, she would tuck us in our beds and stay with us until we fall asleep then she would write poems as there was not much else to do these days:

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يادنيا امرك غريب
وحالك .. عجيب

تقربى .. البعيد
وتبعدى .. القريب

تعطينا كل ما عندك من عداب
وتأخدى منا الصحة والشباب

العمر يمر يوما بعد يوم
وتنطفئ شمعة الحياة

ولا نأخد من دنيانا شيئ
سوى قبر صغير
وحفنة من تراب


يا صغارى

يا احبابى ياأعزائى

أنتم زهورى
أنتم طيورى

أنتم الأمل فى حياتى

لكم من دمى طعاما
ومن دمعى شرابا

ومن جسدى شمعة
تنير لكم طريق الحياة