Libya Improving

Libya used to be right up there next to North Korea and the Soviet Union when it came to suspect countries a westerner should never visit. Two years ago the American government removed the country from its embargo list and basically opened the door for tourism.

The mad rush of eager American visitors never really materialized, however. Perhaps the fact that slightly crazy Muammar el-Qaddafi is still the leader has something to do with it.

Nonetheless, a few brave souls are making their way to this North African nation and its historic capital of Tripoli. Kevin Gray of the New York Times recently visited the surprisingly western town and marveled at its fine hotels, Mediterranean seaside, friendly people, bustling fishmongers, and anachronistic character. Due to 24 years of economic sanctions, Tripoli is still very antiquated and is indeed considered the “Havana of the Arab world.”

Oh, if you’re looking for nightlife, this may not be the place for you. The whole country is dry; alcohol is completely forbidden.