Libya oh Libya oh have you met Libya?
Libya, the ta-atooed lady...
Looks like the trip will be going ahead, stunned as they are that I accepted.
Now comes the issue of getting a visa for Libya. They have no consulate or mission in Singapore, although there is one in Australia and one in Malaysia. However they would not send me to Canberra or KL just to get a visa. I found an Australian-Arab Community page that starts off with this warning: "It is difficult to obtain a visa." Terrific! It then explains the requirements:
-: Passport personal details translated into Arabic
-: Letter from employer
That seems easy enough. But as I have nowhere to deposit this information with my passport I'll have to try and get a Visa on Arrival. The company in Libya recommends that I send them "a copy of my passport." What does that mean? A photocopy of the cover? The personal details page? All stamped pages? all of the above? And how to send them? Scanned and converted to pdf? Photocopied and faxed? Photocopied and couriered?
They also need complete flight details from my home destination including stopovers, for both incoming and outgoing flight-plans. They can then have the Visa waiting for me at the Tripoli airport on arrival.
Libya is an ATM free zone as well, so I will have to go with pockets full of cash which is a bit worrying. What sort of hotels are available in Tripoli? [Two types: really expensive (private) or really bad (Government)]
Do they accept credit card or not? [No, they don't.] Who will pay the hotel bill? Me, or the local company? If they pay, it will make it a lot easier for me.
Will I have Internet access? Will I be able to get my email, let alone blog?
The flight details are being sorted at the moment. I will probably have to go via Frankfurt. As I am due to fly out on a Friday (their Holy Day) there are few flights, so my options are limited. I will have to go to London to get a connection back to Singapore.
And if I am in London, I might as well stay over the weekend and do some sight-seeing. Catch up with the X or something. Visit the Tate, the British Museum. Nah, did that last time. See a WestEnd show? Have high tea at Claridges? Go to Stratfford-on-Avon? The Lakes District? "Pop" down to Jersey to catch up with some ex-HKers?
Hang on you lot, I'm only talking a weekend, not bloody all summer. Notice how I am more excited about the tourist prospects of visiting London for 2 days than I am about a whole week in Tripoli? What does that tell you about my specifications for a good time?
This quote from LibyaTourism might give you a hint about my trepidations: "TRIPOLI has changed little since its foundation in the first millennium BC." OK, has it got electricity? Air-conditioning? Flushing toilets? Traffic lights?
OTHER MONKEYS SAID
Libya may not be quite as barren as you think:
10 minutes of lust with a dark-eyed Morrocan beauty... mmm.
40 years lost in a Libyan jail with lots of dark-eyed moustachioed Libyan not-so-beautifuls guys... mmm.
Let me think about it more fully before I pull the hotel cleaner into my room for a quickie. That dude's post reads more like a Penthouse Forum letter than a real incident if you ask me.
I think I can wait till I get to England for some Yorkshire pudenda...
I helped bomb Libya 20 years ago. Give 'em my regards. If the Air Force had let the Navy help bomb Tripoli, Khadaffi might be dead and there would be lots of good hotels there now.
Khadaffi (sp?) is everyone's buddy now though, otherwise I wouldn't be going there - get the feeling you're living in an Orwellian world where the enemies change sides overnight??
Hopefully there'll be some historic sites and buildings left in Tripoli from the bombings so I'll have something see when I venture out from my crappy hotel.