|3 Apr 2006 - Ghadames to Sebha|
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|Queuing for bread in Ghadames. By now Sabine was nearly at the front of the queue and was in the shop.|| ||Ghadames mosque, in the main city|| ||Road to nowhere, or at least in the middle of nowhere!|| |
|A parting of the
ways this morning as the main group headed back to Tripoli in
the big bus, while the intrepid explorers Sabine, Guenther,
Matthias and I in the care of Abdul and a new driver Mohammed
set off on the long drive to Sebha.
Amanda gave a short speech on the hotel forecourt thanking our
leader Abdul, driver Sofian and minder Ali for all their efforts
in making the trip an enjoyable one, and a tip of various currencies
was distributed. The main group was away first, along with one
of my two telescopes and Sabine's laptop, while I kept the other
telescope, and my laptop, in case we should want them in the
coming week. Would we ever see the sent away items again, and
would those I kept survive the rigours of the trip ahead?
We were a little late getting away while Abdul made phone calls
to try to locate Guenther's trousers that had been lost by the
laundry yesterday, then we spent time in town retrieveing said
trousers and getting supplies for the journey.
Finally underway, we headed east out of town, the way we had
come in. At Dirj the main road turned north, the route followed
by the Tripoli contingent, while we carried on eastwards for
a futher 300km to the oasis town of Al Qaryah. This was scarcely
more than a few houses, a filling station (which we used) and
a restaurant (which was closed except for cold drinks and the
toilet). No matter, we had our supplies from earlier and had
a picnic lunch beside the road just south of the town. We had
hoped for a shady palm tree perhaps, but no chance - apart from
a few hardy succulents and daisies nothing seems to grow around
From here we headed south for the 460km drive to Sebha, but
about half way we past through a lava field, which consisted
of a series of mesas whose upper slopes and tops were covered
in millions of lumps of black basalt lava. This was very strange
as there was no sign of a solid lava flow anywhere, and with
few exceptions, there were almost no lumps on the main desert
floor. Their origin is probably an extinct volcano in the Jabal
as Sawda mountains about 150km to the east of here.
As usual we were accompanied by pylons and a Great Man Made
from space). For most of the route to Birak the road scarcely
deviated from a dead straight line due south.
At Birak we stopped for sandwiches, kebabs in a baguette really,
and it was dark by the time we reached Sebha. The government
hotel, the tallest building in Sebha, looked OK initially, apart
from being liberally adorned with pictures of the great leader,
but in fact turned out to be surprisingly rundown. Dodgy wiring
and plumbing and lifts that jerked alarmingly when starting
and whose aggressive doors took no prisoners, made life interesting.
Sabine also enjoyed the company of a cockroach in her room.
At least the water was hot for a bath - shower not working -
but it needed my plug as usual to keep the water in.
The hotel's internet room at least allowed us to catch up on
emails and I wrote my initial comments in this journal. After
this I headed off into town, which was surprisingly big as it
is actually Libya's 3rd largest city, after Tripoli and Benghazi.
Here, at last, I was able to buy a pair of sandals so would
not have to remain in boots all day. The town was gaily decorated
with Christmas lights, and even the hotel foyer still boasted
a Christmas tree, all of which must give some clue to the laid
back nature of life in these parts.