Postcard from Tripoli
I have been walking the old Tripoli Medina (old walled city) all day. I spent five hours there this morning, until my bladder and hunger drove me back. I then took Bob back about an hour later. My feet are falling off but I am tired and very content.
The Libyans are delightful. I had not one pushy seller, not one lecherous male, and met with great charm from children, women and men alike. The Medina has a wall around it - mostly. It is missing in places. While it was good against smaller attacks from the sea that it was built for, it wasn't much use against shells from Mussolini.
Inside the wall the old town has some areas that are delightful, some where the garbage has piled up and areas where the smell of urine is strong and pungent.
I walked through the gate behind the taxi station (pungent) and had a choice of three roads. The most traveled by the most people was being worked on and had a long deep ditch down the centre which forced heavy pedestrian traffic against the wall. Another had room for cars. I opted for one that stretched off on my left, the road least traveled - but which had arches over it like the old city of Jerusalem. It was obviously the beginning of a residential area.
This was charming, full of women and children and they were obviously out to do the days shopping for food, as many had baskets of vegetables. Walls were natural pale stone or whitewashed, and many doors and details where picked out in blues - every hue from turquoise to cobalt to ultramarine. Faces came in many colours and while most women had their heads covered I was interested to see many African features in faces and clothing not quite so common in the Levant where I lived before. Many older women had chin tattoos and hennaed hands, and often I could see red-hennaed hair beneath a white traditional burnoose.