28 Haziran 2012 Perşembe

A Rescue Mission!!!

"One year ago, if someone told me that I would be back in Libya, I wouldn't believe him...". That was exactly what I was thinking when the tyres of the aircraft touched the runway of Benghazi Airport. The weather was dry and dusty as usual when we got off the plane. When company had asked me to make a survey in our construction sites in Libya for a few days, at first I had hesitated to accept, but then thinking of the possibility to find my Haro Sport, I accepted the request and took the first plane ticket to Benghazi the day after ...

It was surprising to see that the runway was completely repaired which was damaged by the rebels during the up-rise. The shuttle took us to the airport building and after the passport control I was picked up by one of my Libyan colleagues, Hassan. There were still some remains of the war here and there around the airport such as an anti-aircraft just after leaving the car park of the airport...

Hassan drove me for around 160 kilometers to east, to the Green Mountains area where I had spent my 2.5 years. On the way he explained me that the place was now quiet and safe, only it would not be safe for expatriates to drive themselves especially at night time so a driver would be recommended.

on the way to Al Beida

 It was a misty day, and rainbows were often visible.

It was nice to pass across the Wadi Kuf through the suspended bridge again. After a stopover for a coffee break, we finally made it to Al Beida city after 2 hours.

Wadi Kuf suspended bridge

The city was quite and life was back to normal. There was no sign of teenagers with their AK-47s but I was pretty sure most people kept their guns after the revolution in their homes or were carrying them some place in their vehicles. Main road blocked by traditional wedding tents was another evidence to normal rhythm of life in Beida.

Wedding Tents

During this trip I was thinking about my Haro Sport more than any other thing in Libya but my primary mission was to see our construction site and make a status report.

It was a very enthusiastic welcome from my friend Khalifa after 2 years. Khalifa and his brothers had looked after the site well and protected the place against thieves at all costs. Khalifa had been stabbed in the shoulder and one of his brothers was shot in the ankle by the thieves but the construction site was well preserved in general.

Khalifa-protector of the camp

Hangar and all the materials were in place, even our car was almost untouched. "We only turned on the motor  from time to time to avoid the battery run out" said Khalifa. The thick dust on the car was approving what he said.

Camp Hangar

The violent days had left their marks on our offices. There were bullet holes on the walls. One had gone through the ceiling of my colleague's room (probably fired from the hill behind) and changed direction towards his chair.

The day was almost over, I had seen almost everything on site and it was time to go to somewhere to sleep. The surprise of the day struck me when I asked Hassan if there were any hotels working in Beida. He said I would not need one as the the house I was staying was available for me! That was wonderful news, at least there was a small chance the house was not vandalized and I would find all our belongings, most importantly my wife's shoes (!) and my Haro Sport...

I, Osama and Adel

The  neighborhood was quiet as usual and we met my landlord-Osama in the garden. He was a man of his word, he kept the house at it was, even had it cleaned the day before I arrived.  The garden had become a small jungle but inside the house was as I had left. Yes, that moment had come. I would now see if my Haro Sport had been given to one of Osama's naughty nephews or was it still in the living room... I slowly opened the living room door...

Stepped inside,

The dark living room finally showed its gift!

There she was! Sitting there for 1.5 years waiting for me with patience...

Free Haro Sport! Free Libya!

My bike was as I had left, crank dismantled with a last hope of taking it with me to Turkey at the days of revolution. I quickly packed my bike and put it into the uncomfortable MTB carrying bag. The way back to Turkey would be tough as I would also be taking all my, my wife's and my parent's clothing, shoes, etc. At the end of packing, I ended up with 8 luggage, and one bike ready to depart!

My friend Hassan took me to Benghazi Airport the next day with his pick up, and was kind enough to help me to carry the luggage to the counter where he was also able to convince the officer to let me take the plane without paying 140 kg of extra luggage which would cost around 1000 USD!!!. I must admit I like the Libyan way.

The rest of the journey was pleasant as my wife and dad met me at the airport with a rented van which took us all the way home. My precious Haro Sport was with me now and hopefully forever...

With two of my girls