1. hi, i'm back from my jollies

    Posted by jaye2080 at Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:47 pm

    hi all, i'm back, my holiday is over.
    Apart from a few odd days out to Cleethorpes (nothing wrong with Cleethorpes) i've never had a holiday before so my daughter took me for a once in a lifetime opportunity to Tunisia.
    I loved the African sunshine even though I had to cover up from the mid-day heat as the temperatures soared into the 40's. Even at midnight it never dropped below 27 degrees.

    I was privileged to be invited into some homes of native Tunisians. In the first household, the owner, a truly
    lovely man, had european style furnishings of which he was extremely proud, but to my mind it didn't quite work with the traditional house.
    In the next house we were invited to dinner. That house was the family home of our host for the night, and it was magnificent. We entered into what i can only describe as a foyer, with marble floor and pillars. Around the sides of the foyer were doors closed only by a curtain for privacy. Behind each of those doors were separate self contained apartments. The parents lived in one, the grandparents in a second, and our host, the oldest son, in his own apartment. The family were by no means wealthy and had designed and built the house themselves over a number of years and generations. I couldn't help but feel what a wonderful way to live, so different to the English way! It was also the most serene house i have ever been in.
    It was the third house, and the one i stayed in for a while, which i found to be the most different to anything i could think of. From the street we entered into an open courtyard with rooms around 3 sides and a staircase leading to the small amount of roofspace. The roof space was used as a storage area, for hanging out the washing, there was a clay oven, and then there was - THEM - THE SHEEP! In the mornings a man would walk down the streets collecting all the sheep and take them for grazing, so every morning there would be a clatter of hooves coming down the stairs and through the courtyard to the street, in the evening just before dark back they came, clattering straight up the stairs and onto the roof. My look of amazement the first time i saw this was a source of amusement for the whole family who seemed to find it funny that i had never seen sheep on a roof before!

    We went to el Jem to see the roman ampitheatre which was used for the film Gladiator: until you get up close it's hard to imagine the immense size of it. We walked through the maze ot tunnels inside it, miles of tunnels, it was some relief from the baking heat outside.
    At Tracuna we visited a mountain community still living much as their ancesters had done for centuries. I'm not sure whether it would really be classed as a very small mountain or a very large hill, either way it was steep and rocky and the car could only go so far, after that we had to walk up to the top. The community was obviously impoverished and as far as i could make out made a living from a few goats and the bit of tourist trade that managed to find their way there. Our walk was rewarded at the top by a wonderful cafe, while the outside was a bit 'untidy' and hot, inside the cafe was cleanliness itself and furnished with simple home made chairs and tables and handmade cushions and floor coverings, it felt really homely in there and i'm glad we made the walk.

    I had to spend some time at the tourist centre of Kantaoui, so I can understand why some people don't like Tunisia, enough said about that!

    All in all i'm glad i've been, i've met some wonderful people, seen some wonderful things, but i'm really glad to be home. I've come home with the certain knowledge that i wouldn't trade my life, with all it's faults and
    hardships, with any other person anywhere in the world. Now i'm refreshed and ready to carry on.

  2. Re: hi, i'm back from my jollies

    Posted by swissmiss at Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:56 pm

    Hi Jaye
    It sounds an amazing holiday and experience you have had...how lovely to be able to visit local people rather than just the tourist traps! Sometimes they say we need to go away to appreciate home? I went to Djerba, an island of Tunisia, in 1968...very early days..I won the holiday in a raffle and was only10 at the time. I remember the plane landing on what looked like desert and the airport terminal being a hut with a straw roof! Then we set off in a local taxi at the rate of knots across sand drifted roads and arrived at a brand new white sparkling hotel! We had an amazing day with local fishermen..went out on their boat, caught red mullet and then stopped on a remote island and cooked and ate them! So long ago but memories like that stay with you forever. :):)

  3. Re: hi, i'm back from my jollies

    Posted by jaye2080 at Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:20 pm

    Hi karen, yes it was amazing.....in parts.
    I had a rough time of it as far as food was concerened. For some reason i had imagined a land full of beautiful fruits and vegetables and lots of good things to eat, the reality was a bit grim. One look at the butchers shops there was enough to turn me into a vegetarian for life! but that was easier to say than do, there was plum tomates and scabby looking ridge cucumbers, lots of onions and chilllies. When the lettuce finally came into the shops they were more brown than green and quite expensive. And i almost jumped with excitement the day i spotted one miserable looking cauliflower.
    Lots of grapes, and some bananas, peaches, some apples and a few oranges and of course figs and dates. There was huge quantities of watermelons and honeydew melons.
    Milk was all long life, and i'm not even sure it was cows milk, and although i arrived on the 15th august eggs in the shop were dated 12th july, in all that heat i decided not to try them :?
    There was precious little canned food apart from tuna and sardines and various types of beans, all sorts of beans except baked beans!
    I lost a little weight :lol:

  4. Re: hi, i'm back from my jollies

    Posted by Online support team at Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:01 pm

    Welcome back Jaye, we're so happy to hear you had a lovely time. And we loved reading about the brilliant family living arrangements.

    *Hands Jaye emergency supplies of baked beans and fresh, green lettuce* :D

    Online support team.

  5. Re: hi, i'm back from my jollies

    Posted by jaye2080 at Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:39 pm

    yum yum :D:D:D
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