The dreaded bend approaches. Five weeks, nearly, done; and a little more than five weeks to go. Darkest afore the dawn, and all that. In a week’s time, I’ll be able to see the finishing post. But now. Libya feels like a fun free zone. Nothing but shops. I could go to watch football, but I’m not a big fan, really. Once you’ve seen the museum, Marcus Aurelius’ Arch, the fountain in Green Square, and the Medina, that’s it, you’ve seen Tripoli.
I’ve tried just walking about, but there’s not much to see, just streets with houses and little shops. (Although, mind you, there are oddities: a whole street of 500m or more given over to key-cutters shops). And there are cafes. Full of fellas. I gave up smoking two and a half years ago, but I have the odd shisha pipe just for the sake of doing something.
The other teachers are all nice blokes, but I don’t have very much in common with anyone, and anyway I’ve been working with most of them, on-and-off, for nearly a year, so we’ve all heard each others’ funds of anecdotes, and nothing happens here to stimulate any new conversation.
So one mooches around the hotel room, watching Hollywood movies on the telly (the Discovery channel's been disappeared), reading, playing Caesar III. It’s hilarious, really.
On the other hand, there’s non of the normal hassle of daily life: no bills, or hangovers, or housework. My teeth are whiter than they’ve been in decades – no red wine? The hours are short and the money’s good. And there are less cheery situations to find yourself in.