Fun Facts #4

Another series of fun facts (100% true) that you’ll read nowhere else…

Blogging is not all about serious stuff, impressive knowledge and incomparable wisdom from far away lands. I like to share little things that crack me up, that make my mind spin with incomprehension and makes me wonder what i’m doing here.

#1 People born in hot countries do not like the heat. Shocking I know, coming from a mild climate country, I always imagined people living under the sun enjoying the heat, the sea and everything else. Turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong. After meeting loads of people from Tunisia, Libya and other hot countries, i can tell you they like the cold! As soon as it get hot they turn on the AC to freezing temperatures and when i say oh-so-happily that i enjoy the heat, they think i’m joking. Who’s kidding who here?

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Yeah looks horrible!!!


#2 There are no (or very few) Libyan restaurants or take away in Zawia, Libya. No matter what it says on the front door or on the menu, chances are extremely high that you are in a Tunisian restaurant. The owner may be Libyan but the cook, the staff and yes, the food is Tunisian. I don’t know the actual numbers but i’m pretty sure the Tunisian community in Zawia is just as large as the Libyan one.

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#3 Despite Libya being an oil and petrol producing country, petrol shortage is all too common. Sometimes it’s because of a strike somewhere, sometimes there is a clash on the delivery route, it could also be a political act. Regardless of the reason, every so often people find themselves unable to go anywhere, instead spending the day queuing for a ration of petrol. And when strikes or fighting isn’t the source of the problem, you can always count on rats (no kidding). Typical of Libya they have the money and the oil yet basic services are rubbish: infrastructures and networks are very old, outdated and in a very bad state of maintenance.

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Click on the picture to read more about power cuts in Libya

#4 Bump or no bump, that is the question. More than once we have noticed in Zawia bumps appearing and disappearing from the road. In exactly the same place, one day there is a massive bump and the next the road is smooth. And the presence/absence of the bump keeps changing. Not 100% sure why but my guess is disagreement between family clans. Since people make bumps themselves in their neighbourhoods, i’m sure this is something they would do if for instance two families were having a feud (all too common in Zawia, like petrol shortage).  On the bright side it keeps you on your toes when you drive, never know what to expect.

#5 In Zawia there are loads of funny (or scary*, insane*, dangerous* delete as appropriate) things on the road. If i tell you that 2 = 5 or even 6. No, it’s not poor maths skills, it’s Libyan Road Logic. Where you have two lanes to drive on or to wait at the traffic light, you can usually count 5 or even 6 lines of cars.

That’s how it works

While driving on a 2 lanes road, you should always leave some space in the middle for speedy overtaking (that’s 3 lanes already, keep up), add to that cars driving against traffic on one or either side of the road (sometimes people don’t want to make a long turn so they just drive in the wrong direction). Oh and they don’t slow down one bit! (that’s now 4 or 5 lanes) and when you get to a traffic light, add 1 or 2 more lanes for people turning in any direction, including zigzagging against traffic or turning far right coming from the far left lane, the imaginary one, that is.


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The craziest thing is that somehow it works… most of the time. People just know the “rules” and noone seems to find anything odd. The problem is when you arrive in town… believe me though, you learn fast lol.

I just love those little things you learn when living abroad. I’m pretty sure i’m gonna miss driving Libyan style, honestly i used to enjoy it.

Check out my other FUN FACTS and i’ll bring you some new ones very soon from Saudi Arabia.


41 thoughts on “Fun Facts #4”

  1. Therie says:

    I probably won’t survive driving in Libya. That whole traffic situation is outrageous!

  2. Bianca @itsallbee says:

    I fit into number one perfectly. I am from Zambia where you could easily fry an egg on the road in the summer with nothing else added. Thats how hot it is. I hate it! Too hot. I am now living in London where its cold, wet and guess what I hate that weather too :O
    I love number 5! Just too funny. I would have to prepare mentally for that whole situation too.
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  3. 2foodtrippers says:

    I don't think I could ever drive in Zawia based on your photo. That is crazy!

  4. Marie-Carmen says:

    Makes me think of driving in Vietnam or India: one lane becomes 5, trucks will pass whatever is in front or on their way and you can find anything on the road!

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  5. Lily Lau says:

    Those are truly fun facts I hadn’t reflected about before!
    Lily Lau recently posted…The most expensive shampoos in the world

  6. adrianstraveltales says:

    Wow… Gotta love how a lot of these are similar to Asia as well. I FREEZE indoors in a lot of places because they BLAST the air conditioning. After living in Cambodia for a year, I had one coat and I only used it when going to a movie or on a bus because I would die if I didn't have it with me. The traffic math is the same, plus a few more lanes for moto's. I would cope well in Libya, guess that means I have to go soon, huh?
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    1. JaaMeela says:

      The use of AC in hot country is just nuts. In Libya every year around May temperatures go over and stay well over 30 degrees Celsius and as a results all the students come to class with…. sniffing noses and cold!!!

      1. adrianstraveltales says:

        I pulled many different articles on how AC can help someone get sick in order to turn the AC down in my classroom when I was teaching in Phnom Penh. Didn't help! Ha! The seasons are a bit different in Cambo, the temp goes up in March and is highest in April/May til the rainy season kicks in. Still hot as anything but the rain helps a little bit.. kind of ….. maybe?
        My recent post Travel Partner Wanted: Inquire Within!

  7. Andy says:

    Hilarious and informative! I love the road picture… and I thought Indian traffic was the worst!

  8. JaaMeela says:

    You're right about that, they don't like the heat, they keep asking for rain and cloudy days but they are totally scared of the true cold… or what they think is cold. When i drove my kids to school in the winter in Libya, they were dressed with long sleeve T-shirts and a light jacket as the temperatures were mild to cold(ish) but the Libyan kids were kitted out for the North Pole haha But then again when you are used to temperature between 30 and 40 degrees (Celsius) most of the year, anything under 20 degrees feels cold. Even for us, we quickly got used to think of anything under 30 as fresh or cool.

  9. veronikatg says:

    Ok, this is interesting..! However, About #1 – Despite being used to cold A/C, I think the people coming from warm countries cannot bear winter temperatures below zero. I realised it when I once saw a Spanish guy waiting at a bus stop in Prague, all wrapped up in jackets and scarves and still shivering and complaining about the cold..:D
    Fun post, I enjoyed reading it!

  10. Linda Anderson says:

    I was a bit sceptical when i read the title, but the post is actually really funny…the traffic reminds me of driving in paris
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    1. JaaMeela says:

      Glad you were not disappointed in the end . As for driving in Paris i know it can get busy and traffic jams can be huge but i think it cannot be as chaotic as in Libya where each driver follow their own rule… or no rule at all lol.

  11. Elaine says:

    Ha! I'm always like 'please turn off the air con, why are we wasting the nice heat!' Your driving pics remind me of Amman but, like Libya, it somehow worked!
    My recent post Blog: Bangkok here we come! A week of fun in Thailand!

  12. Bemused Backpacker says:

    That is so true with number one! Being from England I can't stand the cold and rain! Haha! I guess the grass is always greener eh? And if you think number 5 is bad, you should see India's roads! ;D
    My recent post The Elephant In The Room: Why You Shouldn’t Go On An Elephant Trek In Thailand.

    1. JaaMeela says:

      Yes from the previous comments it seems that really bad traffic is all too common in the Middles East countries as well as India.

  13. elena says:

    Love fact No 5…I've seen similar pictures in various countries in the Middle East or in Asia in general, no rules at all but somehow it works…just a bit scary for the foreigners…I remember it took me more than 2 weeks to try and cross a street in Iran by myself!
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    1. JaaMeela says:

      this is definitely what surprises me the most: that it kinda works. And congrats to you too for crossing the road, so many brave little travellers visiting my blog haha

  14. Christina says:

    OMG – the traffic! It reminds me of Jaipur in India. We had to pass the street and I thought I would never survive. The traffic there was worse than in your picture. Somehow I survived crossing the street twice.
    My recent post Active and creative at the Waldviertel

    1. JaaMeela says:

      Congratulations on crossing the street. You're so brave! i've never attempted it in Libya

  15. karendwarren says:

    Love the picture of the cars – it reminds me of Delhi!
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  16. Els says:

    Haha, nice and orginal post! The bumps in the road seem so surreal. I can imagine the discussion: "Oh family X annoyed me so much yesterday, let's go and annoy them too and make a bump right in front of their house" LOL!

    1. JaaMeela says:

      lol you made me laugh…

  17. revatidifferentdoors says:

    What a great idea. Short little facts that really illustrate a destination from the ground up! Thanks for this, I did enjoy reading it!

    1. JaaMeela says:

      thank you i'm glad you enjoyed this funny post… you're right though it does help to understand a country… never really thought about it that way

  18. brmsimmons says:

    My eyes got wide when looking at the Libyan traffic, my goodness!

  19. Em says:

    Wow that traffic situation is definitely crazy! I still can’t believe the locals don’t like the heat, but I guess if you get it all year round you’d be fed up with it after a while. Nice read 🙂

  20. Em says:

    Wow that traffic situation is definitely crazy! Still can’t believe the locals don’t like the heart. Well I guess if you get it all year round you’d be fed up of it after a while. Nice share 🙂
    Em recently posted…Wish you were here…

  21. Sandra @ Tripper says:

    Hilarious! Fact 1 absolutely right – my husband (who is Indian) is loving the beginning of Autumn weather in Portugal (I’m constantly cold and bitchy). Fact 5 – same as in India. The other day I was surprised when someone stopped at a red light lol It will be hard to break the habit.

    1. JaaMeela says:

      I know what you mean, took us a while to know what to do at round about, so used to just go ahead no matter what we had forgotten all about priorities and who has it. In Libya priority is ALWAYS to the fastest…

  22. Anne Klien ( Meanne) says:

    I agree with the first one , I came from far east and its sunny most of the year. Funny enough as you said we dont like the heat and yes we don’t we love air conditioning and we use umbrella when strolling outside.

  23. TheBohoChica says:

    One thing's for sure, I could never drive in Libya.
    I'm not even sure I'd want to.

    1. JaaMeela says:

      How surprising from you, i would have thought you would have enjoyed the challenge lol. It's not as bad as it seems…. well yes it is… but you do get used to it after some time. The key is to always be extremely alert and expect the unexpected.

  24. Chris says:

    I think number 1 is that typical grass is greener on the other side kind of mentality. You get used to the heat or cold everyday so its just a relief to have a change I guess!

    I can imagine there is all sorts of road rage in a traffic jam like that haha

    1. JaaMeela says:

      You're right people always look for what they don't have still came as a shock to me lol.

      As for the road rage quite amazingly no actually most of the time (from what I've seen) people are actually really good. They beep their horns a lot but I quite like that noise and they don't shout at each other that much even when there is an accident, which does happen quite a bit. Libya is very surprising you know you rarely see what you'd expect to see and not just on the road. Sometimes it's good as it's exciting other times it just boggles the mind and drives you insane lol

  25. Cory Lee says:

    WOAH at that traffic! I couldn’t deal… I did enjoy learning these facts though! Great post!
    Cory Lee recently posted…13 Stunning Photos That Will Have You Itching to Visit the Southeastern USA

  26. Claudia says:

    That traffic jam looks CRAZY!! Bumps… I saw many of those in Latin America. And they don't really stop drivers from speeding!

    1. JaaMeela says:

      Traffic (jammed or not) is crazy in Libya as for bumps the libyan ones really slow you down as they are very very high most cars actually touch it when driving over it so you need to STOP in front of them and drive over them at the slowest possible speed. They do make you slow believe me lol. The ones in Latin America must be like in France they don't really bother anyone.

  27. JaaMeela says:

    Traffic math IS funny especially if you don't live in Libya or you have become used to it. At first you're like: omg what am i gonna do when i have to drive. Many expat colleagues in Libya (from India mainly) simply refused to drive in Zawia and Misurata, they were too scared to take the wheel and though i was "brave" to actually get on the road lol

  28. cvail says:

    Jameela, This cracked me up…especially the traffic math! As a teacher this is hilarious!
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