Dienstag, 7. Mai 2013

A Trip to Tunisia

Djerba: only 300 kms from Tripoli away, used to be a favourite weekend spot for foreigners in Tripoli. Driving time was somewhere between 3hrs (my personal record is 2:55) and 5hrs. Depending how traffic was and, more important, how long border control took you. Especially the latter has become a nightmare. My last trip dates back two weeks and was supposed to be a relaxing golf weekend.
First the positive news: On the libyan part of the road, many road checkpoints have disappeared, or have been converted into real military, police or customs checkpoints. Gone are the days were you were stopped by young guys with flip-flops, a t-shirt and a kalashnikov. Now all the guys are uniformed and look like they belonged to a government force.
However, arriving at the border, mayhem starts. On the libyan side, still everything ok, except for the fact that Tunisian cars line up for hundreds of meters. Arriving in the "noman´s land" only the stronger survives: a potpourri of trucks, drivers, passengers all try to get through a gate on the Tunisian side where only one car a time passes. Of course there are cars and trucks that try to get there from positions you would not have imagined a car could go there.
Oh, yes, it is funny to observe and listen to the officials on the Libyan side of the border, blaming the Tunisians for the big mess, and telling me that they are a weird type of nation, and hearing the same stuff about the Libyans on the other side of the border. I still try to figure out who is right.
After one has passed Tunisian customs and immigration control, the slow trip (due to heavy traffic) towards the island continues. If you are lucky, you reach, as I did, Djerba after six hours.

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