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!



  1. DAMN THIS MAN. Just...ARGH.
    So woo for having a nice trip! Good photos, well done =D
    But did you even listen to Nick Offerman on the Comedy Bang Bang podcast? ¬_¬ EXACTLY.
    Woo for being back =)

    1. I know :| And his creepy eyes, lol.
      I didn't, but I downloaded it, that's half the battle dammit! lol. And shush :) I am glad you liked the pictures. *waaves*

  2. WELCOME BACK WEARY TRAVELLER! I know that's how I began my last comment, but it really is relevant to this post too. Tunisia looks insanely beautiful, I want to jump into those pictures of the beach, they should be in a brochure, seriously O_O. That kitten is incredibly cute <3!!! That dangling decapitated cow's head is not. Great post, I felt like I experienced Tunisia like, really quickly and intensely! I laughed heartily at the tour guide, and audibly winced (even though that isn't technically possible) at the proposal. Have you got married on the sly and not told us all or was that just the kind of tactic I could never think of on the spot?!

    Also-also, I just bought the first Hunger Games book so I'm glad you say the entire trilogy is good as you seem like a wise grasshopper in these matters and I trust your judgement. I read up to the beginning of the second chapter and may have shed several tears... in public... @_@

    Oh, and I keep forgetting to ask - have you stuck with your Pepsi embargo?!

    Glad you had such a great time on holiday :)! You deserved it man

    1. WOO, THANKS :D It is indeed now relevant, lol. I couldn't believe how beautiful that beach was, seriously. Five minutes from the hotel too! Pretty damn awesome. And so peaceful! Glad you liked the whistle stop tour, lol :D
      Also, LOL, I did not get married on the sly, no :P I was trying to work out how to get away when he was interviewing me, so when he asked 'And, you are not married...?' I seized the opportunity with a very loud and slightly too relieved 'I AM, YES. RECENTLY MARRIED' And then realised I was not wearing a ring, but thankfully he did not pick up on this.
      YAY for buying it! You shed tears by the second chapter..? Wow, lol, thats some serious emotionality. Aww, I am flattered you trust my judgement! Just found them so fast paced and awesome, with fifty thousand plot twists and turns. I was completely addicted. Finished the trilogy within 3 days @_@ lol. Had way too much time.
      Oh...About that pepsi embargo...yeah, I may have caved under massive stress the week before my exams, lol. But I have definitely curbed my intake now. No longer a staple drink. I'm sorry to have let you down :| How about you and coke?

      And thanks :D hope you are not being crushed under essays and work...?

  3. Your holiday sounds amazing! And what a week to go! We were all snowed in!I cant believe Tunisia has so much heritage and history. Love the photos!! Thumbs down to the creepy guy... I like the quick thinking. Your cute grandma will approve of your response...she made me wear a ring in my final year at uni. :/ Welcome back and ello everyone!

  4. I am so taking notes from you in case a creepy old guy ever proposes to me!

    WOW. Three days O_O?! That's like... really fast. I can't wait to read this now, damn uni devouring all my reading time D:!!!

    LOL, don't feel bad, I'm exactly the same with Coke when it comes to Reading & Writing week, which is this week, so I've been practically living on the stuff @_@. You did a lot better than me though, so brave to actually picture a life devoid of Pepsi O_O.

  5. Hi :) The holiday looks and sounds amazing. I'm glad you had a really great time :)
    So I should read Hunger Games then?
    What is it with creepy guys asking girls like us out? Same thing happened to me in the cinema last week, cept he was Turkish and I only went as far as boyfriend when he looked all murderous when I told him I didn't want to have coffee with him.
    Love the new bloy layout.