Location: Ajdabiya (N30 47.303 E20 13.717)
Miles travelled: Day 16 = 240 / Day 17 = 310
Weather: 30ºC – Stormy and hot
Today we mostly listened to: A variety of “Dad Rock”
The last couple of days have been a mixture of some awesome sights and some less awesome landscapes. We visited the arch of Marcus Aurelius in the centre of Tripoli and after a short trip to the supermarket to get some supplies we headed for the Roman ruins of Leptis Magna. It really is a rather awesome place, particularly the Roman theatre where you can get a view of the entire city and beautiful blue sea in the background. There were a few coach loads of tourists there, but not that many (I don’t think Libya is a big holiday destination!) so we mainly had the place to ourselves. After the obligatory visit to the gift shop, where we purchased some Gaddafi branded paraphernalia, we headed on a long drive to get as far as we could across Libya.
I’d like to say that the drive was a good one, but the hair-raising Libyan driving and rather monotonous flat dry landscape seemed a disappointment after the amazing sites of Leptis Magna. Nether-the-less we made the most of it and enjoyed a little bit of ‘Dad Rock’ music in the car. Bedram enjoys Dire Straits and Fleetwood Mac, which is a bonus.
We turned off the road around 6.30 to find somewhere to sleep before nightfall and ended up pitching camp on the beach far enough from the road not to be seen. We tucked in to a sausage casserole and some contraband gin and tonics – lovely. What followed was quite possibly the most amazing thunderstorm I’ve ever seen. Thankfully it was out at sea and didn’t come in to us but we sat for 2 hours watching the amazing colours and fork lighting illuminate the sky.
This morning we decided to try to get some aerial shots of our camp before leaving. We managed to get the camera in the air attached to the kite and thought we were getting some awesome pictures. Unfortunately the camera was out of focus so all we got was pictures of blurry sand! To add insult to this fact when we were bringing the camera back down the harness broke which sent our lovely Canon EOS 400D hurtling to the ground – ouch! The camera was fine, but the KAP kit isn’t! We will try to fix it in Cairo.
Ric also saw a Scorpion this morning whilst taking a stroll – our first bit of wildlife!
Today we just drove and drove and drove. Apart from a stop for lunch nothing much interesting happened. Libya is a huge country and the bit we’re in at the moment is just vast stretches of nothing – just flat, rocky, littered terrain. We almost ran out of petrol at one point because three stations we stopped at didn’t have diesel. Despite driving past oil field after oil field we couldn’t get fuel! Luckily a friendly truck driver gave us 20litres to get us on to the next station which did have fuel. Filling up Monty from almost empty cost us 8.5 dinars (about £4!!!!!) – it costs around £100 in the uk!
I should also say a word about our guide Bedram – we love him and wish he could come on further with us. He’s very easy-going, happy to camp and seems to have all the check-point guards wrapped around his little finger!
We’re now in a hotel in Ajdabiya. Tomorrow involves more driving on what Bedram says is even more boring landscape – joy! Still, hopefully we’ll get to Tobruk to see the war cemeteries and then on to Egypt!