Monday, 13 February 2012

Of Beaches, Daylight Robbery and Feral Kittens.

....So I just got back from that place. Naturally, could not have been happier to see Merry England again, with her rolling fields, her vibrant greenery.
...Except that literally nothing could be seen out of the aeroplane, and so I thought we were descending through miles of cloud, when suddenly we hit the runway, and I realised that it was actually just fog that reduced visibility to zero. FUN.
As I said. Great to be back, lol.

So Tunisia! Spent a week there as a post exams gift from the parents (partially to make up for the fact that whilst I've been on this degree they've all been on holiday without me ¬_¬) and it was TOTALLY AWESOME. Granted, all the Tunisians were bewildered at how this was the coldest they had known it in 10 years (naturally, the climate followed me), but this was not too big an issue, as when the sun came out it was totally beautiful.
So I have photos! :D

This next one is a typical street in Kerouan, which is a small traditional village- a man (see: vulture) recognised that my dad and I were tourists, and so offered to be our 'guide' by saying 'YOU COME WITH ME'. Naturally, like lost sheep we followed him around streets like this one, whilst he showed us various interesting things. He also made sure that he took us to all his friends shops, and that we bought something ridiculously overpriced at each one. Since this was our first day, we were failures at haggling, and were effecively robbed of our money. Ahem. We decided to avoid markets after this.

One thing that is interesting is that the doors are really important! Arab houses have brown doors, Berber houses have blue ones, and mosques have green ones. All had very intricate designs on them. Tunisians are also very superstitious, and so their door knockers are shaped like a small hand, called 'the hand of Fatima', and it's supposed to ward off evil eye...! And the number of knockers on a door signifies how many families live there. Some doors also have a smaller door built in, so that kids can use it. Of course, the 'guide' could've just made all this up... but we trust him. My dad paid him at the end of the tour because if anything, he was creative.

 On the way to Kerouan our driver pointed this out- Butchers will hang the head of the first animal slaughtered that day outside the shop. WHAT THE HELL. At one shop we saw a camels head hung outside! Highly disconcerting.

This is Saeed the camel (I kid you not), who walked round this well in Kerouan, which drove a wheel to pull up water. He was quite adorable.  Kerouan is, I believe, the origin of the word caravan, because it's where bedouins etc used to camp and rest with their camels and caravans.

This was the beach when the sun came out in the evening and it lit up the sand like gold glitter. I was just taken aback by how beautiful it was, seriously. Oh my god. 

...This was me trying to be arty and take a perspective shot. Ahem. This failure that you see below is part of my dress, towering over my dad in the distance. Nice one, Humaira. 

Just WOW. 

We had a horse and carriage ride! There were two horses and the left one kept attacking th eright one, which was funny/disconcerting. The driver, pictured below, looked like Asian Bradley Cooper (Good thing I am not a fan), and smoked like a chimney, taking time to turn around and inform us about Tunisia, whilst breathing smoke in our faces. Nice. He informed us that his priorities in life, in order, were house, car, money, then wife. What a guy. 

Tunisia is overrun with cats. One adorable example is the one below, who, when I took out the camera, assumed it was food and came right up to me to try and eat it, hence the close up. Another one found me whilst I was eating at an outdoor cafe with my dad, and sensing I was a soft touch, sat and watched me eat food forlornly, with great big cow eyes,  mewing and waiting for me to throw it some chicken. When I refrained, it spent half an hour trying to jump into my lap/onto the table/mewing loudly/watching me with guilt-inducing judgement. Adorable! But I couldnt get a photo because it thought the camera was food also, and tried to jump on me.
Other things that happened

  • The Hotel that we stayed at was very nice, but had a tendency to play the same songs again and again and again @_@ I lost count of the number of times I heard Enrique Iglesias's Hero, and Mariah Carey's Hero one, and some other 80s hits that only my dad could identify, which made him very happy. It was all I could do to stop him going to the karaoke ¬_¬ At one point, when we were having dinner, the cheesy keyboard player started singing the Police's 'Every step you take' song in a heavy Tunisian accent. He must've been puzzled to see the unassuming small man with glasses at one of the tables suddenly brandish his knife and fork fiercely, whilst shouting 'YOU'RE MURDERING IT!'.  
  •  It rained.
  • People assumed my dad and I were Arabs, and so Tunisians full on addressed us in Arabic, only relaising that we had no idea what they were saying after about five minutes of us looking gormless. 
  • French was the other main spoken language. I spent a lot of time conjugating verbs in my head as revision.
  • I READ FIVE WHOLE BOOKS :D Seriously, it felt amazing. The Hunger Games trilogy is totally awesome and addictive and should be read. And Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is THE BEST BOOK EVER. Since Kavalier and Clay and Mister Pip and a few others. But seriously, SO GOOD. I would avoid the film like the plague because I can't understand how it's going to do the book justice.
  • We visited the ruins of a massive Roman public bath at Carthage, which was awesome. My dad and I were the only people under 55 on that coach...just not good. Also, the tour guide was the grumpiest person ever, and held no prisoners.
Tour guide (speaking to us via mic on coach): Es ist ein sehr klein-
Woman (interrupting): Are you going to be talking in English? because most of us are English on here and we can't understand you.

Best tour guide ever. When she started on him again later, he turned away like a sulky child and shouted 'IF YOU WANT SAY SOMETHING TO ME YOU SAY TO MY FACE'
He then had a complet mood swing and offered her part of a doughnut he was eating. Just hilarious!

  • I was also full on proposed to by a random Tunisian man, on the one occasion I was alone in the lobby. This would, I suppose, have been flattering if he did not have th eeyes of a killer, and if, once I told him I was recently married, he had not promptly asked if I knew any other single Pakistani girls ¬_¬ Thanks a whole bunch, Romeo. 
...And not much else happened! Or rather, a lot did but I can't remember it now, so we'll leave it there :)

Hope you are all good and well and awesome etc!