Rambling descent….

September 21, 2008

As a camping destination Tunisia has a long way to go.  At Sidi Al El Mekki, we ended up camping in a car park with a jolly dutch couple we met on the ferry.  It turned out to be the night from hell, firstly we had a baffling visit from the local law, who insisted on taking all our passport details ‘for our own security.’  Then we experienced what felt like a hurricane, ably assisted by the local pack of feral dogs who thought that it would be fun to howl along with the wind…..

The compensation was this view in the morning

The compensation was this view in the morning

Last night our luck changed and we found a lovely camp – note how we instantly lower the tone. 

Banners and everything!

Banners and everything!

We were entertained by the local ex-pat community who were on a mass camp-out, and had a really good night. 

Today random things that have caught our eye include many, many dead dogs, some flamingos in a lagoon, nervous looking cows tethered outside butchers’ shops, our first camel sighting, albeit a dead one hanging outside aforementioned butchers, and this fabulous monument to the orange.

Fruit as monumental architecture

Fruit as monumental architecture

We’re now in Sfax, where we wandered around the huge medina completely alone, as it’s Ramadan everyone else was breaking their fast at sundown.  It was quite eerie.  We’re staying here tonight in a hotel and tomorrow we’re heading out to an oasis called Ksar Ghilane in the middle of the desert where we will stay for a couple of nights before making our way to the Libyan border.

It’s probably worth mentioning that we haven’t used the Garmin since we’ve been in Tunisia, and are both as yet unscathed.  Sean is largely refusing to let me drive, is enjoying doing battle with Tunisian ‘drivers’ and is looking forward to Libya, where apparently it’s worse.

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Real-time update

September 19, 2008

We’re in Tunis, catching up with admin in a posh hotel lobby where the Tunisians smoke so much they make the Chinese look like cancer research scientists.  All is top-hole, the ferry disembarcation process was too hilarious to describe, and the hotel last night was post apocalyptic.  Sean dislocated his toe this morning but he’s a big boy and has wrapped it with gaffer tape.  Love you all lots.

 

Boarding 'Splendid' in Genova

Boarding

As I write, we’re aboard the ‘Splendid’, steaming South over a flat calm sea under blue skies.  It already seems a long time since we left Henley on a very Autumnal morning last Sunday.

Our journey thus far has been a blast.  We got an earlier ferry than planned on Sunday and made it as far as Troyes that night, finding the campsite we’d aimed for.  On Monday night we got to the Haut Jura, and it was so cold we couldn’t face cooking outside so went for a pizza.  I hadn’t fully considered the implications of camping at 3000ft in September. We slept that night in pajamas and under all available bedding, and even the hardy ancient French camping contingency we met in the shower block were complaining of the cold. 

 

The complications of re-trousering in a wet 2’ x 2’ shower cubicle defy description – the closest comparison I can think of would be doing tai-chi in an upturned canoe. 

Elsie, the tent and all the kit have performed above and beyond expectation with the notable exception of Sean & I., who no little thanks to GPS technology, have not had a single scrap.  All hail Garmin!  They should be mandatory issue for all couples.

Tonight we arrive in Tunis, at about 8pm and face the arrival bureaucracy – reputed to take up to 3 hours, but relatively straightforward compared to what we face in other countries.

First sighting of Africa

To prepare ourselves for the start of the BAA we’re heading to Sidi Al El-Mekki for a couple of days for a bit of a lie down.

We’ll try and update the blog once a week, and or whenever we can get internet access and have something to blog about, but if you don’t see any new material after about a fortnight we’ve probably been eaten by hyenas, or the Garmin’s failed.

Lots of love

S ‘n’ L XXX

PS Thanks for all of your texts, we love getting them and are thinking of you, but can’t afford to text back.