The Nomad Mum's Diary

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I'm alive

For the first time in more than three years I felt alive, really alive. It was the opening of an exhibition by one of my favorite Libyan artists. For me, it was a rare occasion to be a part of the art scene in Tripoli again. I was surprised that people still remembered me because I left Libya shortly after my first exhibition in 1999. I was greeted by established artists as well as those much younger than me; I’d ask them:”Do you really remember me?” and the answer was always a warm and gracious... Sign in to see full entry.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Amazing Architecture without Architects.

In a previous post I told you about the grain store in Nalut, here is a link to some pictures of another grain store in the town of Kabau. Bear in mind that this multi-storey structure was built using mud brick and wood only, it was made by people who had no formal training in engineering or architecture and it has withstood the test of time for decades if not centuries. This is picture from that website to whet your appetite. Enjoy! For other fantastic photos go to this website... Sign in to see full entry.

The Local Flavour

I leave for Syria on Friday so I am spending most of my days in the market. Here is a glimpse of what I see in my daily trips to the old town: Libyan crafts are so different from those found in most of the Arab world, they are simpler and use bolder designs and patterns. When compared to the highly intricate work made by Syrian artisans for example, it feels almost primitive, but this is what sets it apart and gives it its unique appeal. Sign in to see full entry.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Unique Nalut

One of the most amazing places to visit in Libya is Nalut in the Nafusa mountains, this small town has unique examples of "primitve" architecture: the grain stores. Built out of dried mud bricks and wood, they are a cross between a labrynth and a beehive with "balconies" that act as entrance landings. If the photos in the website below remind you of Star Wars it's because Tunisia has a similar compound that was used in some scenes. Sign in to see full entry.

Museum Magic - the Elusive Photo

Sorry guys if you found my last post too dry, there was a photo to go with it to show the beauty of the artifacts on exhibit at the Al Saraii Alhamra. Unfortunately, the link to the photos would not work, so here is another (adequate though not very flattering) picture of my beloved Ares statue. Sign in to see full entry.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Museum Magic

When people think of Libya they imagine a sea of sand atop a sea of oil, in reality there is a whole layer of ruins and lost civilizations sandwiched in between. There is hardly a civilization that has not passed through Libya and left its mark, the evidence of their trails lay buried under the sand. From the prehistoric paintings in the southernmost Tassili mountains and Greek and Roman cities on the coast, to the catacombs where early Christians worshipped in fear of persecution, not to... Sign in to see full entry.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Local Warming

For the past 16 days I would wake up and wonder “Am I on the wrong continent?”. The skies were a solid slab of gray and the sirocco winds wailed mercilessly as it shook the trees and gathered the dust into a drifting sheet of sand paper. At first, I thought this was a side effect of global warming, there were no four seasons any more, I limited my outings to the necessary shopping trips and they were always by car. It was very depressing; Libya is an extremely hot country, the highest... Sign in to see full entry.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

a fiver, a fish and a horn

Have you ever harbored an inexplicable dislike for something: a symbol, a custom or maybe a trend that everyone else was embracing, only to be converted at the end? I have, but I had never imagined that I would have a change of heart on the matter of Al Khmeisa. Al Khmeisa (literally: the Fiver) is a stylized motif of the human hand; in many Arab countries it is believed to ward off the evil eye, but in Libya it is the quintessential symbol of folk culture. It is found everywhere: in murals,... Sign in to see full entry.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Wish you were here?

Thank you everyone for reading my blog. I am humbled by your interest and response to my "Libyan posts". There is so much to write about in this enchanting country but I am drained physically and emotionally. If you had read my earlier posts you'd know that I came to Libya mainly to recuperate. 10 days into my "vacation" and I still have not had an hour to myself. Adam had trouble adjusting to his new surroundings; he is homesick and is always calling for his daddy and his granddad. Today, we... Sign in to see full entry.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The painful past

I have thought about writing this post for a while but always found an excuse not to. I do believe in signs though, so when I found “Lion of the Desert” being shown on an unlikely satellite channel I knew that it was time to bite the bullet. “Lion of the Desert” is a film about Omar Al Mukhtar, the teacher who led the rebellion in Eastern Libya against the Fascist occupation for 20 years before being captured and hanged aged 69. I had never watched this movie from start to finish, I can't; it is... Sign in to see full entry.

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