Italy – Tunisia (Days 71-75)
Day 71 (10/10/2010):
It’s been getting a bit difficult to write the blog. Lack of Internet and being ridiculously busy in the last week are some of the reasons (or excuses).
Anyway, we had a huge, long 4-hour lunch with more of Wagner’s relatives. The meal was as usual, amazing. Afterwards, they took us to an area where one can get an incredible overview of the village of Positano overlooking the blue water.
As this was our last evening and we were heading to Tunisia the next day, Aunt Tina provided us with an amazing care package consisting of bread, chicken cutlet, cheese, and assortment of fruits. We said our goodbyes to all of the relatives and went to sleep for the last time in Italy.
Day 72 (10/11/2010):
We left Sorrento early in the morning to get to Salerno via train. By the time we reached Naples in order to get to Salerno, the trains were all delayed due to the downpour of the rain. When we reached Salerno, we had 30 minutes before the last check in time for the ferry to Tunisia. Cabs were not coming around, busses only ran every 30 minutes and we just missed it so what did we do? We walked 2.5 kilometers to the check in place in the pouring rain.
When we reached the ferry, everything was wet. We spent the day eating Aunt Tina’s food and relaxing until we reached Tunisia the next morning.
Day 73 (10/12/2010):
Getting into Tunisia was very interesting. Wagner got through customs very easily. What happened to me? Well, it seems as my customs officer was new, therefore, he made me fill out all another form which I found out later is not even needed. He was confused, so he had his boss come in and because of the language barrier, we did not get too far.
After about 6 minutes of confusion, Wagner’s customs officer comes and assists us. He looks at me and asks me, “American?” I nod at him. He asks, “What is your profession?” I respond, “Pharmacist.” He looks at the other 2 officers and says something about me being American and a pharmacist and everything is ok. The other 2 officers ask about where I am staying. I responded, “My friend has the address.” The helpful officer looks at me and says, “You are staying at the Hotel Hilton right?” I look at him not know what to say. He repeats, “Hotel Hilton, yes?” I respond slowly, “Yes.” He looks at the other 2 officers, says something and then tells me, “No problem. Go.” I did as told.
After the crazy ordeal, we were fortunate that our host, Amen, was waiting for outside with his friend, Walid. After having lunch, Walid offered to take us to Bizerte.
Before getting to Bizerte, we took a quick detour to the beaches nearby and waded there for sometime. At one point, there was a huge wave that broke a little above our heads. I had the great idea of trying to ride the wave and unfortunately I underestimated the power of the wave. At some point, my fingertips got caught into the ground, I flipped over, my legs were in the air, and the side of my head was dragged a good 3 feet. Welcome to Africa.
After the intense wave, we all got out and had some tea on top of a café at a Kasbah within the city, then headed home. My head hurt way too much to do anything else.
Day 74 (10/13/2010):
Walid swung by at our host’s house and offered to take us to his hometown of Hammamet, which we graciously accepted. Hammamet is Tunisia’s biggest resort town with many beaches that are situated on the Mediterranean. We had some tea right on a café outside of the Medina prior to going into the sandcastle structure. Although it is filled with interesting things with shops of handcraft items, after 10 minutes of walking around and being harassed, we wanted to run away from there.
After having lunch (in which Wagner and I came to the conclusion is where all three of us got food poisoning), we headed to Yasmine Hammamet, which Walid mysteriously called it the ‘Evil Side of Hammamet’. Indeed it was the evil empire, Yasmine Hammamet is a new development geared towards specifically for tourism. The area is filled with palm tree beaches and resorts, even a theme park called Carthageland. It was basically the Tunisian Orlando.
We went out that night to the timeless Sidi Bou Said to have tea and smoke hookah with Amen’s friends at a café overlooking the city of Tunis.
Day 75 (10/14/2010):
If it weren’t for the Romans and the Punic Wars, Carthage may have still stood and the face of Africa may have been completely different. We went to visit whatever remained of Carthage. Although there is not much left, one with enough creative historical imagination can see the greatness of the ancient city.
We went to go meet up with Amen at the Medina in Tunis. The medina is a maze of tunnels and alleyways with beautiful architecture. It is dotted with souvenir shops geared towards the tourist, but it is still a wonderful sight and worth checking out.