Wednesday, 18 August 2010

No Justice!

While I have a lot to write about my recent visit to Libya, some bad news I received a day before leaving put me off writing.
Let me start from the beginning: back in the 1960s my late father (Allah bless his soul) and my mother worked very hard for years to save money to be able to buy land to build properties, they eventually built 2 houses in one of the nicest areas in the city of Benghazi, by then my family moved to Tripoli and in the early 70s the Benghazi houses were put for rent, 2 families moved in, then came the unjust decision by the Libyan government that people living in rented accommodation should not pay rent and practically become the owners of these houses, since 1977 my family had no rent paid to them from these properties, my father tried on many occasions to persuade the families living in our houses to leave but they refused and even threatened to hit him, they became squatters and not only that, they are thieves no matter how much they try to portray themselves as devout Muslims, many good Libyan families refused to squat in homes they didn't own and moved out and returned the homes to their rightful owners but not the thieving families living in our homes for the past 33 years rent free, in fact one of the families went as far as building another floor without any permission.
Both of our houses in Benghazi are worth (I will use the equivalent of Libyan Pound in Sterling) in today's money about £150,000 each and will be worth a lot more as property prices continue to soar in Libya, the people living in our homes know that, they can not sell the houses so one of them told my family that they are prepared to pay us £12,000 for our home! can you believe that? and if we agree they will become the new owners and sell it at at least 10 times more, of course my family refused and told them that are nothing but thieves.
Now the upsetting news I heard a day before leaving Libya is that the government agreed to compensate us for these houses a total of £58,000, that is an insult since both these houses are family size and the cheapest 2 bedroom flat in a run down area of Tripoli costs about £100,000, the insulting amount of £58,000 will have to be shared with my mother and brothers and basically means we lost the houses, this amount does not even cover the rent we lost over the past 33 years, my brothers are going to appeal this decision and as we all agreed, we will never accept this money even if it means losing the houses for ever, I myself can not return and live in Libya since I have no home or job there, how do the authorities expect me and people like me to return when we can not even get what is rightfully ours? they should evict the thieves living in our homes, I have the right to be living there in my father's house that was built by my parents hard work, my father until the day he died kept telling me not to forget about our houses and do everything we can to get them back, his heart was broken for losing them, I feel bad for not being able to do what he wanted, will there ever be justice for people like us in Libya? so far nothing.....

Monday, 26 July 2010

My First Impression Of Tripoli....

I am here, in Tripoli after about 30 years, my first impression was of a stinky disgusting poo but more about that later.... Actually so far I am liking it here even though it has been less than a day since I arrived.

I started my trip early yesterday morning with my 9 year old son Amir, we arrived nice and early at Gatwick airport, we got there at 09:15 just before the check in desk opens but I was shocked to find a queue of at least 100 African people standing there with a colossal amount of luggage, I booked with Afriqiya airways who clearly detailed their luggage allowance of 2 suit cases per passanger at a total of 48 KG each which is quite generous compared to most airlines yet most of the African passangers obviously did not pay any attention to this and brought everything but the kitchen sink! I knew we were in for a long wait, each family in front of us had way over their allowance, many of them had to buy new suit cases at the airport and transfer stuff between cases or had to pay for extra weight, this caused a lot of delay, eventually after I checked in and borded the plane, it was choas, I have never seen anything like it before. the AirBus 330 was full, there was only about 3 Libyan families, the rest were all Africans on transit to Tripoli to catch planes to their respective countries, the problem was that many of them thought they were on a public bus and just sat any and everywhere, the Libya flight crew were overwhelmed and trying very hard to get them into their booked seats, after a struggle we managed to get to our seats just to find a boy sitting in Amir's seat and a bag on my seat, a woman was standing there, I asked her politely to move her boy and the bag, she said in a minute and just stood there, I asked again she shouted at me to leave her alone, I lost it and told her to blah blah blah her bag and boy or else, she was out of there like a flash, some people can only be dealt with that way!
One and a half hours later we were still on the plane, passangers and crew shouting at eachother, when we eventually took off we were nearly 4 hours late and I was not impressed with my trip of a life time, the plane was great and brand new, each seat had a touch screen TV with great entertainment but all this was marred by the behaviour of some of the passangers, even dirty baby nappies were changed on food trays in front of their mums, the smell was out of this world.
I saw Tripoli from the sky and it was just beautiful, lots of sand and some green areas too, I was home.  After we landed, we got on the coach that transfered us to the terminal, as we reached it I saw my younger brother standing outside, he saw us and waved, we got off the coach and it was all hugs and tears, inside the terminal my 2 other brothers were there with my nephews (hugs and tears take 2) now back to the poo story, as I was waiting for my bags I needed to use the toilet, I asked my brother and he poited it to me but advised me not to use it and wait until we get home No I insisted and walked in, grubby not nice then I went inside the only cubicle that was free which had a floor toilet seat, I have never used any of them before but the shock came when I looked inside, a HUGE DISGUSTING SMELLY POO was staring at me, I was in shock I nearly fainted and ran out of the toilet, my brother saw it on my face and laughed and told me that he tried to warn me! that was not a good first impression not for me and not for any new visitor to Libya just getting off the plane, a simple service that is necessary and very easy to be provided hyginically without going to too much trouble, to think that some people say that people in the west are dirty, well there is the answer for them at Tripoli's Airport.
My bags arrived quickly and we were out on our way to my mother's house, crazy driving but I liked the wide roads and the chaotic atmosphere.  I couldnt recognise a thing then my brother said that we arrived in our street, everything looked new to me, the street in Hai Alandalus was lined with trees and looked very pretty, I got out of the car to the sound of ulilation (zaghareet) from my mum and sisters in-law, my neices had confetti and flower petals and were throwing them on us (hugs and tears take 3) my poor mother got all blurry eyed after huging me and started huging one of her little grand daughters and saying to her hello Amir I missed you so much and showered her with kisses, the poor little girl told her that she was Asmaa not Amir, it was so funny we all laughed, they let me walk into the house on my own then they all followed me, I walked straight into my old bedroom which has been turned into a second sitting room now, pictures of me when I was a child were everywhere, I was like a child walking from one room to the other and into the garden trying to remember things, it was magical, something I have been dreaming about for many years.
After a nice dinner, cakes and tea we sat talking until it was time for my brothers and their families to leave, they were all happy to see us and we had gifts for everyone.
This morning I took Amir out for a short walk, I was worried I might get lost, I recognised the main road but the shops changed, we walked back, an hour later one of my brothers came over and took us for a drive, I didnt expect a lot but what I saw was nice, some very impressive buildings and some vile tasteless buildings too but it was home, I loved it, I will write more about my experience as the days go by and I see more and get more experiences (good ones and bad ones I am sure) need to have a nap now, its boiling hot but I am HAPPY.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Passport Adventure!

WARNING!
Very long post, read at your own risk :o)

I had a passport adventure! it started when I decided to renew my 10 year old never used Libyan passport about 3 weeks ago, I have been thinking about going to Libya for a visit after 30 years of living in the UK without going back all this time.
I went to the Libyan consulate near Knightsbridge, the guy working at the reception while he wasnt the friendliest guy in town he actually was polite even if slow, he called someone from inside who explained that they can not renew my passport as it is very old and that I need a new one, at only £15 I agreed, filled the forms handed in 6 photos (yes 6!) and was told to come back in 2 weeks time, I asked them to add my son Amir to my passport which they refused as he was already registered in his mother's passport, the idea is if I decide to go back to Libya at the end of this month I want to take Amir with me as he hasn't been there for 5 years and can not remember a thing about Libya. this annoyed me and I asked them how I am going to be able to take Amir, they wouldn't even issue him with a passport, eventually I asked them if he can travel on his British passport to which they said yes he can but he has to pay for a visa, I said fine lets do that and how much is the Visa fee please? £65! yes £65 pounds for a 9 year old Libyan boy to visit his country! and as if that was not enough, I had to go to the British passport office to get an Arabic stamp on Amir's passport, as far as I know Libya is the only country in the world that requires that to be done.
Anyway, I left the consulate and went back home without applying for Amir's visa as I wanted to wait for my new Libyan passport first.
After few unsuccessful phone calls to the Libyan consulate, I decided to pay them another visit, yesterday, first I got Amir's Arabic stamp then travelled to Knightsbridge, I met the same receptionist again, to be fair he tried to help but told me the passport hadn't  been done, few minutes later he came back and said because of lack of new passports they are having to renew my old passport for another year which is fine by me, they refunded £5 back and I was told to come back at 3 in the after-noon to pick it up, I thought OK great lets apply for Amir's visa since I'm there, I handed in the forms and the fee of £65 and again I was told to come back about 3 in the after-noon so I had about 3 hours to kill, it had been many years since I went to Knightsbridge so I thought lets go for a walk around and maybe visit Harvey Nichols and Harrods which I haven't visited in many long years so next starts my Knightsbridge adventure, I will get back to the passport adventure later:

I gave Harvey Nichols a miss and went to Harrods instead, the first thing you notice is the huge number of people entering Harrods from all entrances, many of them are just tourists with no intention of buying anything (just like me) I walked inside and straight away I got that feeling that I shouldn't be there, that it is too much, over rated and just uncomfortably over the top and over priced, I didn't feel like taking pictures of all the bling they sell instead I just walked around trying to find something interesting, my first thought was if the Princess Diana & Dodi Fayed shrine was still there! Harrods was sold recently by its Egyptian owner Mohamed Al-Fayed to the Qatari Royal family and I thought perhaps they removed the shrine (which I have never seen before) but as I was walking in the Egyptian Hall I found the huge shrine surrounded by many tourists taking pictures, obviously the new owners thought it was a good people puller that will bring many more people to the shop.

inside this glass pyramid is the engagement ring that's allegedly was given to Diana by Dodi just before they died!

This is a book of condolences I found on the second floor, notice on the plaque the word "Killed" without any mention of the car crash, Mohamed Al-Fayed is still convinced that Diana & Dodi's accident was organised by the British establishment but that of course was never proved.

When Mohamed Al-Fayed bought Harrods he added the Egyptian Hall which is OK but still looks like a fair ride in a theme park, what he did then is he added many  statues dotted near the roof of a sphinx with a man's face, the face is actually modelled on Mohamed Al-Fayed's own face so that you can see him staring at you where ever you walk, what he did after that is he got the Egyptian Hall listed, that means no one would ever be able to change anything, including his face, he left his legacy there for everyone to see, now and in the future.

Al-Fayed staring at you!



By then I was really bored and was really ready to leave, the place was heaving with people from all over the world but the majority I would say were Americans and Gulf Arabs then I remembered that many years ago (about 20 years) I visited the pet department which was full of all sorts of exotic and purebred pets so I looked around and indeed they still had a pet department but with very few animals for sale, you were not allowed to take pictures so I respected the rule and only looked at the fluffy kittens that were for sale at £1000 each! then I went to an enclosure that had 5 white Chihuahua puppies, they looked like white rats but were really cute and full of life, what is the price you might ask! the price was a measly £2,200 each! wow do people actually spend that much money to buy a purebred animal??
At this point I saw some people take pictures so being me, I just took my phone out of my pocket and clicked away, here are a couple in case someone is considering buying a Harrods Chihuahua :o)

Chihuahua anyone?

Well after you buy your precious puppy, what about accessories, clothing, bedding and treats? yes they do have them all, here are some items you might consider buying for your spoilt pet:
 Princess pink dog bed

 only £399 lol

 all the latest in pets fashion!!

Yummy cupcakes, biscuits and birthday cakes, no they are not for humans, these are treats for pets!

I know some people will think that some Europeans value animals more than people and they laugh at them for buying expensive items for their pets, yes many do care about animals and there is nothing wrong with that, most of the stupid items I mentioned up are thankfully only bought by few people, the majority have more sense than fall for this stupid bling, to be honest, to me there is NO difference between an Arab buying a diamond studded mobile phone at £100,000 and a European/British person buying a diamond studded dog collar at £100,000 too, they are both the same, lots of money, no taste and no sense what so ever.

It was time to leave by then and head back to the Libyan consulate, as I arrived about 2:30 a number of Libyan people were waiting for their passports, the receptionist then came with a pile of passports and started handing them, he saw me and said he had my passport, as he was ready to give it to me, he noticed something, a note, he then told me sorry I need to take it back it needs one more stamp by then the nice Libyan lady that works at the visa section came over and gave me Amir's passport with the Visa to enter Libya, I sat down for a while not knowing what is going on until a man from the consulate came out to talk to me, he said that my passport was never renewed and therefore could not be extended and that I need a new passport, I started to get angry by then and told him that I originally applied for a new one and so on... then he said that it might take a week to one month for my passport to be ready, I was shocked I told him that I applied about 3 weeks ago and that because they told me it was going to be ready this after-noon that I payed £65 for Amir's visa, he was actually very nice and understanding, he told me to go upstairs and ask to talk to the consul, I did just that, while I was waiting the same guy came over and asked me to follow him, he took me to the consul who was surprisingly very friendly, I explained the situation to him and he actually was very angry that they refused to add Amir to my passport and that I was made to pay £65 for a visa for my Libyan son to visit his country, he picked up the phone and told them downstairs off and that they had no right to make rules and decisions, he then agreed to renew my passport for another year and asked me to come back as soon as I am back from Libya and promised me a brand new passport he then told me to go downstairs to pick up the £65 I paid, I was very pleased with him, he really did do his job well, unfortunately there are some there that think just because they work in an office then they can make up the rules and do what ever they want, the money was refunded immediately and I left the consulate a happy bunny, all in all it was not a bad experience, I expected a lot worse but there are some really good people there that do try to help. I am still not sure if I will be going to Libya, after a 30 years absence  for me this is a major step, if I do go it will have to be soon (in the next week or so) as I want to be back before Ramadan, InshaAllah Khair.

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This morning I received an Email which read:

Dear Anglo-Libyan,
Congratulations! Emma Lee here, and your blog, Anglo Libyan, has received
our 2010 Top 40 Muslim Blogs award!
You can see your name amongst our winners here at:
Winners were chosen through a scoring system led by internet nominations,
which came from your reader base!

I had no idea about the Muslim Blogs Awards, I do not know who voted for me but I am honoured.  many thanks to Emma and all that voted me.

Top Muslim Blog

Sunday, 6 June 2010

SPELBOUND!

After last week with all the bad news and the upsets, I can only pray that life gets better for everyone in Gaza, yesterday there was a big demonstration in London against the Israeli aggression, I didn't go but some of my friends did, unfortunately in few days time everything will be forgotten as usual and Israel will carry on with its crimes against fellow human beings.

Last night I watched the final of Britain's Got Talent, I didn't pay much attention to it this year but I have seen the winning act during the auditions and I thought they were amazing so it was no surprise that they won the competition, SPELBOUND are very talented and very discipline, their act is breath taking and I am sure they made the whole nation proud:



As usual there was a mixture of freaks, untalented people and animals and some that were talented, here are my other favourite acts, Tina & Chandi the dog followed by the wonderful strong voice of Christopher Stone:



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Yesterday Aida was invited to a birthday outing by one of her school friends, it was the first time that Aida went out to central London without any of us, she was accompanied by 7 friends and the mother of the birthday girl. They first went to watch Prince Of Persia at the cinema then went for a party lunch at Planet Hollywood, which she thought was amazing, I myself have never been there but I suppose when our children do things we never have it still feels good, Aida is 11 years old now and is really looking after herself and the way she looks.

Monday, 17 May 2010

This And That!!

Where do I start? A lot has been happening but I didn't feel like updating my blog which is a shame since I do like writing my thoughts and what ever!
A day after my last post, my father in law died in Benghazi and we decided again that Aida would accompany her mother while Amir stays with me, it was a quick decision as they had to leave the following morning, luckily it was the beginning of the Easter holiday and the kids were off school for the next 2 weeks, of course as most people know the Ash cloud covered the skies above Britain 2 weeks later and so Aida and her mum could not return and had to stay an extra week in Libya until they managed to fly back.

Aida & her cousin Bushra at Tripoli Airport

Justify Full Amir did not give me any trouble at all, as last year when we both stayed together, he was as good as gold and really enjoyed being with me, we managed to do few things but the most enjoyable day was when we visited Chessington's World Of Adventures, that was amazing, some of the rides were really scary, something that I used to enjoy a lot but now as I am older they sort of make me dizzy and vomitty but it was worth it just for the screams and laughs that were coming from Amir.





The theme park contains a fully stocked zoo too which was great as I do love animals, the highlight was a naughty little cute gorilla that we just wanted to take home but I think there was more chance of us being locked up there than bringing the baby gorilla home :oS

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Last week we had a general election here in the UK, the result of which probably wasn't what many people wanted but that is democracy at its best, I too voted, a privilege I got from living in this wonderful country where human rights are recognised and respected, I saw a middle age Iraqi woman walking towards the polling station holding her British passport and voting card up with a very proud look on her face, this lady never had the opportunity to vote before but now walked proudly doing what we all should do in a free society, good on her.

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Many of us are still in shock about the tragic Libyan airplane crash that killed so many innocent lives, my condolences to the families of all victims including my brother's in-laws who lost their daughter in this tragedy and the best of luck to the boy survivor Ruben who has captured the world's heart, lets hope the Libyan authorities do the right thing with their investigation and compensate all victims no matter what nationality they were.
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Amir with what must be the biggest Crisp in the world!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Toulouse


Q:What do you call a Frenchman with 2 toilet seats on his head?
A: Toulouse! (2 Loos)
I know, I know, its an old English joke and its not funny but I had to mention it since it has been in my head ever since I went to Toulouse in France last week for a couple of days.
I knew this silly joke for a long time but I never thought I would actually go there one day!
You see, my closest friend whom I knew since I was a child and who I haven't seen for over 16 years was in Toulouse doing a training course with Air Bus, Air Bus is one of the most popular reasons for people visiting and studying in Toulouse, so when my friend told me he was there, I waited until he successfully finished his course and had few days left so I decided to go and visit him, we have always kept in touch but it was about time to meet again.
That morning I woke up early and drove to Gatwick airport to catch the 6:30 am flight to Toulouse, I only had hand luggage and soon was sitting in the plane waiting for it to fly but sit is what we did as the plane did not move for the next hour, we had many excuses about the luggage truck getting lost and so on! eventually we were on our way. I kept thinking about my friend, we were in our early 30s when we last met, now we are heading towards late 40s, I was wondering what he looked like and how old am I going to look like to him.
One hour and thirty minutes later we landed in Toulouse, I was out in few minutes, looked around the people waiting and there at the end I saw my friend's smiling face, he hadn't changed much but he had no hair left at all, I don't have much hair but compared to him, well there is no comparison :o)
Seeing him brought back many happy memories of when we used to be neighbours and close friends to our studying days in Oxford and so on... seeing him made me realise that I do miss Libya a lot that part of me was still there waiting for me to come back.
Capitol building, equivalent to Town Hall or City Council
After we went to the hotel for a few minutes, we went out for a walk to see the town and have a well deserved coffee, it was still morning and the weather was nice and sunny, the centre of town was small with many beautiful old buildings but not many shops which is good for someone coming from London, of course all around the squares they have many street cafes, something we don't really have in the UK unless you want to breath pollution and have a heart attack!
We had many coffees and many stories to tell each other, that's until he told me that after 6 weeks of hard studying in Toulouse, he did not have any time to buy presents for his wife and children and that the only time to do that was the 2 days I was with him, I didn't mind too much as I thought still we will be together, 2 days later I felt that my feet melted from all the walking we did, I probably walked more in 2 days than what I would do in a year, maybe I should get rid of my car!
One sight I have never seen in the UK although I heard it would be introduced soon, is bicycles for hire attached to coin/credit card machines, you swipe your card, take the bike and then return it to any point where they have bikes for hire, which is all over the city, great idea.


The first day after we went back to the hotel which is an apartment/hotel, they each had a little kitchen and a sitting room in their apartment, we were invited for dinner by one of the Libyan pilots staying there, dinner was Makarona Mbowkha (steamed noodles with lamb and tomato sauce) which was nice but to my horror it was covered with horrible raisins which I hate more than anything, my kids call them rotten grapes and I couldn't agree more, so while trying not to appear rude, I pushed the raisins to one side, we were served a really nice Harissa (North African Chili Sauce) which tasted like home made Harissa, I asked the guy if he made it, he said no, that he bought it from an Algerian shop up the road so I made a note of buying some.
The next day we went to the Algerian shop and got some Harissa, the city is full of North Africans mainly Algerians and Tunisians, just like Paris but unlike Paris most North Africans in Toulouse seemed well dressed and middle class, in the evening many of them would be sitting in the cafes with families and friends looking their best, another thing I noticed most of the French people were very friendly which is completely different from Paris, here even though they do not speak much English they still carried on talking to you in French and tried to to make you understand, nice people.
While walking back from the Algerian shop I noticed certain ladies of the night (except it was early morning) standing at street corners trying to do some trade, the weird thing is that the average age of these ladies was about 65 years old with some well over 70! looking very strange with caked makeup on their faces, strange world!
The rest of the day was spent shopping, shopping and more shopping by the time we were back all I wanted to do was to put my feet up.
That night we had a fine dinning dinner, this is where the food is so well presented that it looks like a picture, even the plates were like triangular tiles! it was OK when it came to taste but really pretty to look at, the dessert was out of this world, I have watched people on TV make chocolate fondant but never actually tried it before, I especially like it when they split the cake and melted chocolate oozes out, so I ordered it and it looked stunning, I am not really into chocolate cakes, I prefer non chocolate but had to try this one, the cake was warm served with a small tub of custard and fresh strawberry and I split it with my spoon and the most delicious melted chocolate came out, it really was heavenly, the other dessert was blocks of chocolate with a tooth pick stuck in them then dipped in batter and fried then served with fruit sauce, it was a bit like Lugmet ElGadi but with warm chocolate inside, it was lovely.



Another common sight in Toulouse is the large amount of tramps walking around the city begging for money yet each single one of them had a huge dog with him, how can they afford to keep the dogs and buy the Alcohol that keeps them drunk all the time!! I felt more sorry for the dogs who seemed bored and miserable, the owners of these dogs above were on the side arguing and shouting at each other while drinking, the poor dogs just huddled together.

Next morning we went for a great breakfast at the hotel, started with pancakes and crepes with honey, followed by a plate of smoked salmon with the most fantastic crunchy crispy French bread that was followed by cheese & mushroom omelet followed by fresh fruit salad of pineapple and lychee with nuts all washed down with fresh orange juice and fresh coffee, I swear I wished my tummy was bigger so that I could eat more lol.
Luckily both my flight back to London and my friend's flight back to Libya were within one hour of each other that after noon, so we went together but I was a bit concerned about the Harissa I bought, I wasn't sure if it would be classed as liquid which is forbidden to carry on hand luggage in British planes (another thanks to Ben Laden for making life more difficult for all of us) I enquired at the check in desk and as I suspected I was told it is classed as liquid and I had 2 choices, either bin the Harissa or pay £20 to check in my small bag, I did just that, I wasn't going to go home with out my Harissa, probably ended up as the most expensive Harissa in the world!
2 hours later I was back in good old London and stuck in a traffic jam driving towards home, at least some things never change, home sweet home.
Did I write all of the above?? Who is going to read all of this???? its 5:30AM !!!!!!

Saturday, 27 March 2010

The Circus Comes To Town (Sirte Town)

The Arab circus comes to town, Sirte town that is! The same old boring circus sets tent in Libya this time and with no new acts, just the same old acts, the same old clowns and performers have gathered again, the same circus that was deemed a failure even before it arrived, no one is expecting anything new or useful, just the same hot air over and over again even though they know that the costs will run in the hundreds of millions of pounds but that is OK as long as it keeps the old clowns happy.
As usual ordinary Arab people have no say in the matter, if it was up to them then they would happily cancel the performance and contribute all that money to help poor children all over the world, help the suffering children of Gaza and their families but instead we will have a lot of leaders condemning Israel for its crimes against the Palestinians yet those leaders are as guilty as the Israelis for they talk but do not take action, they sit on their puffed up armchairs eat, drink and watch fat dancers performing for them with no care in the world.

Channel 4 recently showed a documentary called "The Children Of Gaza" it was a pleasure to watch and very powerful, anyone with a bit of humanity in them would be moved by the plight of these brave children.
you can watch the documentary on this link:

http://www.archive.org/details/ChildrenOfGaza
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This is a new version of the famous song IMAGINE, this version comes from the US TV show Glee, it is sung by a group of deaf teenagers accompanied by the cast, watch until the end, it really is beautiful:

Friday, 19 March 2010

Alice & Sophie!

I have received a "friendly warning" to update my blog from the newly formed LBMB so I thought I better update before the warnings become not so friendly lol .

The kids have been waiting to watch the new Alice In Wonderland film since they saw the trailers a while ago, I too wanted to watch it as it seemed good fun 3D film and what a delight it was! the effects were amazing, we all liked the red queen best, played by the talented Helena Bonham Carter, she had a huge head which made her character really funny and Johnny Depp was wonderful as the mad hatter, highly recommended especially if you watch the 3D version.

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I have been enjoying a newish column on The Tripoli Post by Sophie McBain called Tripoli Diaries, this is how its described:
“In the Tripoli Post's new weekly column, Sophie McBain explores the ins and outs of expat life in Libya's capital city.”
So far Sophie has written 9 articles about life in Tripoli and its not about expats only, read the diaries and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Greed!!!!

Staying on the subject of weddings, these are pictures from a mass wedding in the USA, the company that organised the wedding told the happy couples that they hid presents inside the huge wedding cake including one cheques to the value of $50,000, the idea was that when the married couple cut the cake, each might find a present which could be that nice fat cheques!

But what happened shows how greedy humans can be, the ladies as soon as they heard about the cheques, the forgot about their husbands and forgot about their beautiful white wedding dresses and attacked the huge cake just to find that cheque:










These ladies found some presents but clearly they are not happy!


The winner with the $50,000 cheque, I wonder if she dumped her husband!

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One more picture

It seems somebody forgot to take his hat off inside the mosque lol :o)

Monday, 22 February 2010

Big Fat Gypsy Weddings.....


My favourite programs on TV are usually reality TV programs so when I saw an advert about gypsy weddings in the UK I thought that sounded interesting and so I watched it when it was on and it really was an amazing program.

Most people including British people know very little about the gypsies which in turn are a private community that do not mix a lot with everyone else, here in the UK there are 2 types or groups of gypsies, the Romani Gypsies and the Travellers which originally came from Ireland but have been here for many generations, the program I watched was about the Travellers community which still holds a very strong Irish accent even though they have been here for so long which can only mean that they do keep together and hardly mix with the rest of us.

Most people think of Gypsies as low class people with no morals what so ever, to be honest some gypsies are to blame for this bad reputation but in general good and bad are in every community, this program showed a rare insight into the Traveller community, it showed the prejudice they sometimes encounter but one thing for sure, it showed that when it comes to glitter, tack and over the top taste they are by far the best.

Someone on the program said that she never met any group of people with a higher moral values than the gypsies, obviously she hadn't met many people but there is some truth to what she said, even though the program showed many teenage gypsy girls dressed in very skimpy clothes that barely covered them yet this was their way of attracting men, according to gypsy moral laws, girls are not allowed to have a boyfriend and therefore end up getting married at a very young age usually before their 18th birthday and until then they live at their parents house and are not allowed to sleep with men out of wedding lock, that was something I never knew and they seem to believe strongly in it.

Most gypsy girls start saving for their wedding at a very young age and they have this obsession about the size of their wedding dresses, the bigger the better, the size of these dresses are amazing and unlike anything I have ever seen in my life, some of the dresses weight about 170 KG! yes!! in fact the dress maker said most girls end up with permanent scars on their hips due to the massive weight of their dresses yet they will not go for anything else! it was very weird seeing them trying to get into their wedding carriages with these dresses.

The weddings and clothes are out of this world, talk about tacky but that is the way they like it, not every ones idea of a perfect wedding but each to their own....

These videos show some clips of the program, if you can get the full program then do watch it, very strange and an eye opener:


Here is a link to another short clip
The full program can be watched her but I am not sure if it is available outside of the UK

Monday, 15 February 2010

The Israeli / Arab Food War.....

Many have heard or read about the Israeli / Arab food war, this began when Israel decided that some popular Middle Eastern dishes are Israeli dishes and they went as far as calling them Israeli traditional food ignoring the fact that some of these dishes have been served in the Middle East for many centuries.
In the news in recent months they reported about the biggest Humus and Tabouleh dishes prepared by Lebanese chefs to enter the Guinness World Of Records and to be registered as Lebanese traditional food dishes and not Israeli, as far as I remember Lebanon succeeded in their bid.
While I understand that many Jews that lived in Arab/Middle Eastern countries may have taken with them these dishes when they immigrated to Israel but I do not think that this changes the identity of the food too!
In Libya there are food dishes that were associated with the Libyan Jewish community such as Haraimi but at the end this is a Libyan dish and not Israeli so can you imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Israeli/Arab food war has actually reached Libya!
The following pictures are from a flight magazine where they had an article about Israeli food, the article lists some "Popular Israeli Dishes" that are all very traditional Arab dishes including Schawarma and Falafel but wait for it: SHAKSHUKA! yes our very own Libyan Shakshuka has become a Popular Israeli Dish!!


click on picture for a bigger view
The article to be fair, did mention that Libyan Jews brought this dish to Israel when they immigrated yet still its listed under popular Israeli dishes, I wonder where else the fact that this is a Libyan dish is listed! soon it will become as a traditional Israeli dish as they have claimed Humus, Tabouleh and Falafel are.
Here is what the article says:
This ultra basic combination of eggs, tomatoes, garlic and spices cooked over high heat arrived in Israel from Libya in the 1950s. Originally a staple of the urban lower classes, today shakshuka can be found nationwide and has become a true culinary icon.