March 27, 2006 – Tripoli to Benghazi
After lunch, we go to the Tripoli airport. It is controlled chaos, since we have to sort out our luggage, some of which was brought on a separate bus. Then we are all checked in as a group, since the tour operator holds all the airline tickets. The flight to Benghazi is on a Buraq Air Boeing 737-300. We departed on time, cruise at 460kt at 29,000ft. The flight is 90% full of Bestway Tours‘ three groups. At Benghazi Airport, we board our bus and head for the Garyounis Resort. We have a police escort the whole way – complete with sirens and flashing lights!
When we arrive my bag is missing, but it is found on one of the other buses. We have supper at 8:30pm, and afterwards Ralph tells us the eclipse camp arrangements have changed. Apparently our camp was hit with a sand storm, and the government had security concerns, so they insist our camp be moved to south of Jalu on the centerline. This is actually a bonus, since we would have had to be bused to the centerline in the morning from where we were to camp originally.
March 28, 2006 – Tuesday – Benghazi to Eclipse Camp
We leave at 8AM this morning on our bus headed to the Eclipse Camp, south of Jalu. After stopping to pick up some water and box lunches, we finally get underway at 9:30am for the long journey south to the middle of the Sahara Desert.
Total Solar Eclipse in the Libyan Sahara Desert
March 30, 2006 – Thursday – Benghazi to Tripoli
This morning we pack, have breakfast, and check out of the Garyunis Resort. First stop is a walking tour of Benghazi’s high end shopping area and its Souk. Benghazi is relatively new, since it was badly bombed during WW II. Some of our group find a great fabric shop with some amazing patterns and colours on imported fabrics. Several women in our group buy lots of fabric to take back home. We have lunch at a Turkish restaurant, which serves us a very nice meal: salad, grilled ground meat (skinless sausages) and chicken chunks, and warm flatbread.
We were then driven to the airport and depart for Tripoli on a Buraq Air Boeing 737-200. We are staying at a different hotel this time: Bab Al-Bahr Hotel. I think it is a grade better than Al-Safina Hotel, where we were staying before. The only problem is that it isn’t close to the Souk, so several people in my group hire taxis. Personally, I’m not interested in more shopping, and decide to catch up on my blog at the Internet Café located in the lobby. Several clients in the Internet Café see me posting my eclipse photo, and want the URL to send in their email messages to their friends and family.