During March and April 2006, I joined a contigent of astronomers from the Astronomical Association of Queensland to see the total solar eclipse in Libya. Our trip was made up of a week in Libya and 9 days in Egypt.
A few years ago we would not have envisaged ourselves visiting Libya as tourists. With a leader so controversial in the West only a recent thawing of relations have made visits to Libya possible to western visitors. Egypt is a different story, however, as it has a massive tourist industry and has long been a destination both for sun worshipers and Egyptologists and archeologists alike.
The difference between Libya and Egypt could not have been more stark. The Libyan people we met were warm and honest folk. Very honest and intrigued that we had come to visit their country. Our guides, Muftah and Muhammer, were both excellent companions for this trip and both had an excellent knowledge of their country which they put to good use when showing us round places like Leptis Magna and Sabratha. Egypt, on the other hand, was chaotic and gave the strong impression of utter disorganisation. At the end of our trip through Egypt, I had had enough of being treated like a walking wallet good for only opening and emptying of money.
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Mark Sukhija is a travel and wine blogger, photographer, tourism researcher, hat-touting, white-shirt-wearing, New Zealand fantatic and eclipse chaser. Aside from at least annual visits to New Zealand, Mark has seen eclipses in South Australia (2002), Libya (2006), China (2009) and Queensland (2012). After twelve years in Switzerland, Mark moved back to London in 2012. You can follow Mark on Twitter or Facebook