Benghazi is the second largest city in Libya, with a population of 1.000.000.The people of Benghazi are incredibly friendly. There is a natural curiosity about the locals, who tend to look after you and help you out.However, very few people speak any English and, because of the writing style, it is almost impossible to recognize any public signs. Most things can, however, be sorted out with a bit of pointing and hand waving.The dress code is not as liberal as in Tripoli, and women should keep themselves covered – not because there would be trouble, but just out of respect. As a local explained, the locals know we are westerners and, no matter how much we would try to fit in, we will always be seen as westerners. Therefore, the locals do not expected us to thoroughly comply with their customs.People appear to be volatile, and they like a good argument. There is a lot of shouting going on between locals, but this is not an indication of any trouble. It just sounds loud and harsh and, when translated, you find out it is generally nothing of any consequence.If you travel on a tourist visa, you must get the hotel staff to have your passport stamped or visit the local police station to register where you are staying and get a stamp in your passport – otherwise, you will not find it easy to leave the country.If you wish to drive out of the city and visit the ruins or other sites of interest, you can get a local guide, but you will need a permit from the local tourist office before you may leave the city.Pay attention to the customs and traditions. What may mean a casual smile or wave to a Libyan woman, may be understood as harrasing by the locals. This subject is very sensitive therefore avoid eye contact when dealing with Libyan women as it is seen to be shameful. If you are a female however this is not a problem. Libyan people love to celebrate their weddings by hanging up many lights around their houses. On the wedding night they also light many fireworks. Do not be afraid if you hear occasional racket. The locals may try to ‘show off their English language skills’. Many will attempt to help you or simply introduce themselves.Libyans are known for their hospitality. Many will invite you to their homes, usually for lunch. Try not to act wary of what you are eating. Make sure you show you are grateful, Libyans LOVE being flattered and doing so you will ultimatley gain their respect and trust.When meeting locals avoid sensitive or controversal topics. Talk about your job, family, and experience in their country. Encourage them to do the same.If you stay near a mosque expect to hear the callings for prayer 5 times a day. Also to note one of these times is very early and may wake you up until you get used to it.Benina Airport (IATA: BEN, ICAO: HLLB) (Arabic: …·) is located 20 km from city centre.The airport operations are seemingly chaotic, with handwritten boarding passes and luggage tags and very little information available.Delays are quite frequent and flights may be suspended, cancelled or delayed at any time.The airport toilet facilities are awful, there are few, if any, public toilets, and most restaurants do not have them either, so you may have to wait until you get to the hotel or onto the aircraft.Taxis in Libya are interesting. They are either minibuses that travel round a predefined route or black and white cars (dead pandas) with taxi signs. Stick with the cars… Taxi travel is very cheap, but the vehicles are generally in a bad state of repair. Try to sit in the back as the journeys can be somewhat exciting when in the passenger seat, when drivers tend to turn across traffic lanes. Judging by the number of dents on the sides of the cars, the drivers do not always make this maneuver successfully.The taxi drivers are like most European taxi drivers. They enjoy sharing their opinions with you, even if you can’t understand them – but, as with most of the people in Benghazi, they are friendly, and they do try to make you feel welcome.Shops accept only local currency, which can be exchanged at the larger hotels in the mornings or after 3PM. Ask for Tibesti Hotel, a big hotel, with grass on the slopes around it. It has a bureau de change and two cashpoint machines, which accept Visa and Maestro/Cirrus.Credit cards are not generally accepted.For those who are looking for proper shopping go to Dubai Street, where most of the international brands, such as Benetton, Nike, Celio, Adidas, Puma, Max Mara, and many more, are available.As there are very few tourists in Benghazi, there is very little to buy other than normal goods. So, it’s easy to get a fridge, an aircon unit, a mobile phone, Mars bars, or Coke, but very little to buy as a souvenir. A sheesh? Pipe is a good bet – these are about 18 Libyan dinars, or USD15, for a 24-inch high pipe. For traditional souvenirs, the best place will be Sok el Jered.Shopping Malls1-benghazi mall2-alhaya mall3-center point mall3-alsendebad mall4-lagona5-sahary mallAnything.There is nothing that isn’t acceptable to the western palate. The food can be quite spicy, although not excessively so.Traditional Libyan fare appears to be couscous, kebabs, spicey potatoes, salads, and nothing that you wouldn’t find in London.There are a number of good restaurants. Although very basic by western standards, they do produce good meals. Round the back of the Tibesti Hotel there are some good Turkish restaurants

Airport: BEN Benina International Airport Cities in Lesotho

Country: Libya