Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tunisia - Day Six

The sixth and final day of our Tunisia travels took us to the Great Mosque of Kairouan (the oldest Islamic worship site in Africa and the fourth holiest site in Islam, after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem). We also visited one more worship site, whose name and location I can't seem to remember.

Of course, no guided tour of a foreign country is complete until the guide takes you to see some kind of artisan, who promptly makes an elaborate attempt on your wallet. In our case, it was a Berber rug shop.

After patiently withstanding about 45 minutes of sales pitches from the man working at the rug shop, we went to see one more spot: the ruins of the Zaghouan Aqueduct.

After returning to Sidi Bou Said, Wife and I spent the late evening hours taking one last wander around the neighborhood. My attempt to order dinner for the both of us that evening ended up being my biggest French language failure of the entire trip (long story short: I ordered two dishes for us, one of which I thought was steak and one of which I thought was seafood...but both of which turned out to be chicken).

The next day we returned to Japan and I vowed never to speak French again.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tunisia - Day Five

On the fifth day of our trip, we went to Hammamet to visit another touristy shopping district. I didn't take so many pictures, but I did overhear an amusing exchange between a shopkeeper and the bride's uncle about a rug (which the bride's uncle had no interest in buying...and which gradually changed in price, from 90 dinars to 10 dinars). Hearing the price of that rug drop almost 90% -- with no effort whatsoever on the part of the customer -- was a shock that made me question almost every purchase I had made in Tunisia until that point.

Click each image to see a larger version.

After seeing the sights and visiting a relaxation spa (where I received a massage involving hot stones on my back), we had another party to attend. This one was an evening garden party at the groom's family's second home (!), which was also in Hammamet. There was food, live music and dancing...and, again, ululation. The pictures below were taken before the event started, which is why there are no other guests. We were unfashionably early, I guess.

My next post will be about our sixth and final day in Tunisia, in which we visited the Grand Mosque of Kairouan.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Tunisia - Days Three and Four

On the third day of our trip, Wife and I were invited to a lunch at the home of the groom's parents. There was much food, dancing and ululation. I didn't take any pictures of their actual home, which was beautiful, but these shots taken from the house's gigantic rear balcony should speak for themselves. Click each one for full-size viewing.

I also took this three-shot panorama:

The answer to the question "How did the groom's family afford such a nice house?" became apparent on Day Four, when we visited a vineyard/olive orchard owned and managed by the family near Takelsa. We took a tour of the property, enjoyed a barbecue lunch and then visited a small, secluded white sand beach about two kilometers away (visible in the background of the third photo below). This was the single most relaxing day of the entire trip for me. Only slightly less so for Wife, who found a turtle on the ground during lunch; she picked it up and it promptly relieved itself on her. The groom's brother assured us that such an occurrence was "good luck."

In Day Five, we visit Hammamet.