So, off to Tripoli again from Al Khoms. After taking a detour via the Italian Quarter, and an Egyptian coffee shop, with awesome Italian (? I know) coffees, and amazing Egyptian honey confectionary, we quickly popped into a bookshop around the corner for the Green Square. At this juncture, some of the more seasoned travelers peeled themselves from us and assured the slightly irate tour operator that they would find their own way to the hotel in time to be ready for dinner at The Corinthia. Ok, the tour operator was not irate, he was by this time very upset with the strong-minded Saffers and their waywardness. However, I stayed with the bus, and made my way back to the hotel.
After a well-deserved powernap, a shower and the appreciation of 5-star ablutions (we stayed at the Radisson Blue), I was ready, albeit a bit sore from the miles of walking around Leptis carrying 17kg of gear, for dinner, at, The Corinthia.
The Corinthia is more or less what I expected the oil rich Libyan nobles to consider a hang-out. Massive big columns ending in enormous arches, with fountains and all that. Once inside we were introduced to some of the management, and consequently taken on a tour of the rooms and suites, which to my untrained eye, was rather fabulous. At R3k upwards per night, though, I'd expect no less. Once in the elevator, we had time for some self-portrait shenanigans.
These portraits of mine (there are many from this trip) became known as the "Langarm-shots". (Long arm shots). For Afrikaners, that has some added humour, as "Langarm" is a local version of Cowboy square dancing mixed with bee-bop and ballroom.
The general feel of the Corinthia is of Middle-Eastern opulence. Enormous columns, cavernous interiors, arches galore and frilly metal work, with warm, Arabian nights lighting, really does make you realize that you've stepped slightly out of the normal Western mould.
As you can see from the pics, everything is nice and a bit OTT. But when among Arabian knights, I expect no less. The Radisson seemed rather clinical after this.
I was then annexed by Jenny Morris and we set out to chat to the chefs, and more importantly for me, take piccies of the massive buffet available.
Again, freshness at the order of the day. But for more in-depth analysis of the food on offer, you'd be well advised to go over to www.gigglinggourmet.com , find her blog, and see Jenny's take on things.
Jenny with the chefs and restaurant managers. The manager (2nd from right) is Egyptian and certain Egypt will do well at FIFA 2010. He has reserved seats for games here. He was very excited about coming here. The chef second from left is from Tunisia, and certain they will beat Egypt quite comfortably, but was way to polite to imply that they'd beat Bafana. I was way too aware of the state of soccer to suggest the contrary. For friendliness, affability and cup-of-tea-niceness, this crew got a 10/10 from me.
After having too much food (I'm terrible at buffets), we were ushered into the bus and taken back to our hotel where some of us decided that coffee and a shisha for those who smoke, was a must at one of the coffeehouses back in town. But more of that later.