So while in Tripoli I saw most of the sights by just driving by. Driving in Tripoli is insane so I actually didn’t see much but when I did I tried to keep the camera pointed out the window. Most of my time was spent at an expo that Chad was working or with his wife’s uncle – Nizar who very graciously drove me all over and was very welcoming.
While there wasn’t much in the way of organized touristy areas we did drive by the old palaces, old bombed out military complexes, downtown Tripoli, the zoo, etc. There was trash every where – piled on the side of the street. Not just bombed out rubble trash but last Tuesday’s chicken dinner trash. In some places it was piled over my head for as much as a kilometer – apparently getting the trash guys paid hasn’t been a very high priority of the interim regime. Same with the landscapers – the grass in some parts of town was like Serengeti deep.
Despite all of that the people were very friendly and more than one group of people approached us and wanted to make sure that we felt welcome and safe. After a while it was kind of like being hounded by a sales guy on a car lot but they really did mean well. I did feel very safe in town (as long as I wasn’t in a moving car). We were stopped at a checkpoint once and the police, while not in uniform, were very professional. Just asked to see our passports and didn’t do more than look that we had them and then they checked the trunk of the car for weapons. Took less than a few minutes and we were on our way. While everything had a slightly bombed out or bullet ridden look I only saw one idiot looking guy dragging a weapon around in what I considered a dangerous manner.
In all honestly, if the election goes well for them and they manage to keep the crazies out (unlike their Egyptian neighbors) Libya could be a real place in a few years. It will take a bit of time to get things rolling again but the people were friendly and the climate was moderate – it could possibly make a come back to it’s early twentieth century heyday. Good luck guys.