Tunisia – First Visit – an email to friends
I know some of you have been waiting to hear how we are making out – this email has taken about 4 days to write, because I just can’t seem to find any time! Tunisia is truly an awesome place!!! So the time line is a bit messed up, but I think you’ll get the jist….
First – The boat turned out to be even better than the best we imagined it could be. Our surveyor took us aside after the first day and told us that he had never, in his entire 4500 boat survey career, come across a better maintained, better conditioned 6 year old boat. We are incredibly lucky and happy! Needless to say, we are moving ahead – hoping to close between Christmas and New Year. … very excited!!
Now if I can only convince Sue to give her notice….. 😉
As for Tunisia, I can’t possibly do it justice in an email.
The time line of this email is off because it’s taken so long to write – but you’ll get the jist…
We are in the city of Sfax, (2 days ago) about 250 km south of Tunis on the Mediterranean, staying in the home of a Tunisian family – sort of a B & B, except that we are truly living with them. Salma, our hostess, took us with her all day today, interlacing a city tour for us as she went about her business. I can’t begin to tell you about everything we did – visited 3 homes, one that is for rent in the aincient Medina, saw olives made into oil, eat fresh oysters from a monger at the largest fish market I’ve ever seen, visited a seamstress and cobbler, almost bought a gold coin from one of about 50 gold and jewelry dealers in the Medina, had a home cooked traditional meal and even smoked shisha….! It was an awesome day!
Sfax, a city of almost 1 million, is not in any way a tourist area – in fact it is completely the opposite!
I’ve always been a bit skeptical about what we hear in the news, and how it is spun; now I am even more so!! Those of you that know me well know that I am very multi-culturally open, and strongly opposed to anything that even remotely classifies or represses any group of people based on their religion, race or beliefs. Tunisia is where the Arab Spring started. Last Sunday it had its first presidential election. I have never been in a city, let alone a country, where all – as in 100% – of the people we have met or even just come in contact with, have been genuinely friendly, completely accepting (of all cultures, races and religions) and incredibly welcoming. 18 to 80 year olds, police to street vendors, shake our hands and welcome us to Tunisia – before they even know where we are from, although it is glaringly obvious at least I am not Tunisian!! Western society could certainly learn a few things!
Tunisia may not be the cleanest or prettiest country – think poorer Mexico in its urban areas – but it has wonderful people, a strong middle class, non-evident upper class, very little begging and overt poverty, and I hear the beaches are pretty spectacular too, although we haven’t had time to see one yet!
It’s our granddaughter’s first birthday tomorrow – happy birthday Lorelie, we love you and miss you! :), and we are off to an oasis in the Sahara tomorrow. (Yesterday)
Today we are just waking up at the edge of the Sahara. We’ve hired a guide with a jeep to take us 100km into the desert. Doing the tourist thing today…
We might never have come to Tunisia had it not been for our boat. Now we can’t wait to come back and really get to know it and its people.
Our plan now is to be here, on our boat in the marina for most of March and April. We’ll take March to get settled in and April to get to know Tunisia better. We have 2 guest rooms :))) Anyone want to join us to experience Tunisia????
We have no idea where we’ll go after that!!
Love you all….
Charlie & Sue