As we have travelled through Libya I have noticed there are very few women or girls visible in any places. I saw one driving yesterday and she told me she was “from Tripoli where it is more free”. There have been none at any of the restaurants we have eaten in, eating or working.
Today I had lunch at a segregated highway-side KFC look-alike. There was a picture of the colonel (Gaddaffi) over the counter.
I was well into my chicken before I realised that there were no other women in the restaurant, I’m sitting with my 5 bloke friends and ask if they have seen any girls.
“They go in the door over there ” said Dave, who notices these sorts of things. So in I go and find all the women and a few infants. Some don’t have food as they wait for the males
to bring it to the door and yell their name. They gather around and all know I’m on a motorbike and want to know where I’m from (Mars ???). The language barriers melt away. Many of the older women have a tatoo down their chin like a NZ moku, they say it is a Libyan mark. I use the bathroom, flooded, so I’m glad of boots, no loo-paper but a very efficient hose to wash instead of the usual wipe. Good-byes are fondly said in many ways and languages.
As I rode down the highway later several familiar faces waved out from back seats, often peeping from beneath swathes of fabric. I wish I knew what they thought.