Sunday, September 27, 2009

Back in Tripoli

I feel that I'm going through decompression after such a lovely time in Paris. We spent the last month going through Ramadan on a 9 am - 3 pm work week; we flew to Paris for a wonderful week and then come back to Fall in Libya, and the 8 - 4:30 day. Everyone at the office was slowly trying to get back up to speed but still not at 100%. I hope to get all of the month end reports finished tomorrow so that I can make a site visit out west and then leave for Italy on Saturday to meet with Anne and Ryan.

Here's a few more moments in Paris.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

PARIS days 4

Monday in Paris - woke up to a beautiful day with plans to go to the Louvre. I have always heard about the world's greatest depository of art but I didn't quite know what to expect. I've seen pictures, watched the DiVinci Code multiple times, seen videos but still wasn't ready when we came up from the Metro. It seems that each time we exit from a Metro station to the streets of Paris, it's an OMG moment. We climbed the steps of the Louvre exit and all I saw was a massive public building, no pyramid, no open space, etc. It finally hit me that we were entering from the side, not through Tulliries Garden along the Seine. Once through the gates, the whole place, with the I.M. Pei pyramid, opened up in front of us. What a beginning to an overwhelming experience.

Once we navigated the lines of tourists (not too many compared to what we would expect during the summer) we walked into another world; a world of art, sculpture, adventure, archeology, history, and more. You can spend hours, days, months and probably years in the Louvre. I can't describe all of the works of art and objects de art that we viewed but will post pictures over the next week or so.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Paris days 2-3

PARIS – DAYS 2 & 3

What a beautiful experience. We decided to go out exploring on our first full day and took the Metro into the middle of town, the Place de Concorde. Every time I come out of the subway it’s an “OMG” moment. The sights, the sounds, the history are outstanding! It was a bit foggy on Saturday morning but we walked around the Tullieries. From there we decided to take a walk up the Champs-Elysees to the Arc due Triomphe and then back down. The only comparison I can think of would be 5th Avenue in New York City.

Sunday found us traveling to the original Paris, Isle de Citi. With the start of Sainte-Chapelle Chapel on one end and the Cathedral at Norte Dame on the other, the Citi is tres magnifique. We crossed over to the Isle de St. Louis with street performers, shops, restaurants, crepes, wine, espresso, and lots of people.

Dinner, Sunday night, was at the La Cave, a bar/cafĂ© on the corner next to the apartment. The bartender had told me in the morning that they had Internet but I had forgotten the network name. Lynn spotted a guy sitting out in the median of the street with his computer so I went out and asked if he spoke English. He answered, “I’m from New York”. It turns out he’s an IT consultant working with Renault and owns the La Cave. He got me hooked up so we can stop in and connect with the rest of the world.

Lots of walking and lots of fun with Lynn.

Picture when we get back to Tripoli

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Paris - Day One

It's really Day 4 but I'm just now getting an internet connection at the friendly neighborhood bar, La Cave in Montmarte.

We arrived a little late on Friday. It seems that a number of people in our country of departure feel that they are entitled to "open seating" rather than what's on their boarding ticket. It took almost an hour to get it all straightened out, including some normal yelling and posturing and 4 airline personnel getting in the face of one man to make their point.

Jean-Yves met us at the airport and is the most gracious host that anyone could ask for. He got us to the apartment and made sure we had our feet on the ground. We took off to explore and found the neighborhood amenities, grocery, pharmacy, cleaners, etc. Following Lynn's lead, we marched up to Sacre Cur for one of the most beautiful views of the entire city of Paris.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September 1 Celebration

I'm only two weeks late but I am sharing the sites of the 40th Anniversary Celebration of Independence in Libya and the 10th Anniversary of being part of the African Union. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ramadan Lights

This is a video of our drive back from the old market last night. We left at 10:00 pm, just as the majority of the shops were opening. All of the shops are open 24 hours a day through the end of Ramadan so that families can shop. Think the week before Christmas.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Never get tired of sunsets

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to post the photo above. We saw our first rain storm since we arrived in the country. Unfortunately, I saw it on my 3 hour drive back from Mizrata along the coast. We saw three or four wrecks on the way back. People not used to driving in the rain, going too fast and hydroplaning. Our driver was able to catch some sleep since we were in meetings from 11 - 3 so he was alert and careful. If everyone would act like our guys, it would be a lot safer.

Thursday meeting and reports then the weekend.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It's still Ramadan

Things are still pretty quiet during the day here. The 6 hour business day can get a little complicated. LAst Saturday I was asked to come into the office for 4 hours to help prepare a presentation to the Prime Minister on Sunday night. The meeting was good for us but occured from 10 pm to 2 am. Today, I was planning to drive out to Tandamerah, a town out west about 2 1/2 hours but instead got pulled into a 3 hour meeting with our client and 6 of our contractors. Tomorrow we have a follow up meeting in Mizrata, about 2-3 hours away.

Lynn is staying as busy as she can. She's met with several ladies this week and continues to make friends where ever she goes.

We are counting down the days before leaving for Paris. Lynn is reviewing the Michelin guide book to help plan our itinerary. There are so many things to consider, there's no way we are going to hit them all in a week. I guess that means that we will have to go back some time. After a week back in Tripoli, we leave for Rome to meet Anne and Ryan. There is definitely a benefit to being this close to Europe.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday and its a new week

Things continue to go slowly as we move through Ramadan. We are counting down the days to
leave for our Paaris get away on 18-Sep. I'd guess that 90% of the people at work are going to be gone that week since we have three days off and you can take two days of Paid Time Off "PTO" and stretch out a long 9 day holiday.

The celebration on 1-September was enjoyed by all. One of our Libyan partners threw a party last Friday night
from 9:30 pm - 12:30 am. I'll post some pictures or video of that later.
In the mean time, enjoy some pictures from the celebrations.