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Making Sandwiches

Our travels via air were just as expected, long, cramped and uneventful...saw lots of snowcapped mountains in Europe and everywhere cold, cold! The seats DC to Frankfurt were next to servral crying babies (pleased Bon no end, ha!), but fortunately, the stewardess asked if we'd change our seats to accommodate 2 other members of the family. YES! Our reward a complimentary wine to boot! 4 movies and 20+ hours later we landed in Tunis @ 11:30am their time. Waited for Mari's flight 2 hours...then catch up talking, dressing again to combat the COLD, and a taxi to la Kasbah and IYH hostel.

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Tunis Wiki


After a sweet tea and white baguettes w/ fig jam breakfast we headed thru the souk alleyway of the medina (old town) in the Kasbah towards the tourist office for maps. Mari hates going thru these very crouded and here cobblestone "streets" so when we came upon a vendor selling peanuts (in shell), she was happier due to liking them very much. Unfortunately, we do not know French nor do we understand the dinar currency well as yet. Just as she was negotiating the $$$ a Brit family happened by and being the only ones w'd seen we commenced an exchange. This compounded Mari's confusion dealing w/ the shopkeeper who asked for 11 Dinars ($8 US altho we weren't aware of this til later) for half kilo - a bag the size of a quart bottle approx. She paid the fellow who immediately offered to sell her another half kilo for only 4 Dinars...she said she couldn't carry that much! We should have been thinking this strange right then but began walking once the Brits headed on! Mari, being somewhat aware that 11 Dinars seemed a bit high began to wonder aloud to Bon! Progressing down the crouded alley we found our way obstructed by a VERY slow moving beggar woman. By this time Mari had opened a peanut and seeing how clean the alleyway was (very different from India where she had just left and always felt at ease dropping the shells on the ground) debated how to dispose of the shell. Tasting a peanut she was very disappointed to find they were horrible as well. All this took place almost simultaneously, disappointment over perhaps being ripped off price wise, difficulty with shells, bad tasting nuts, and beggar lady blocking her way! In utter frustration she handed the beggarlady the whole half kilo who stepped aside while she passed and Bon just happened to look back and caught an amazed/surprized look on the beggarlady's face as if just handed some miraculous prize. Mari missed the look being only too happy to have unloaded an unpleasant reminder of moments past! Once we put the whole scenerio together we all had a great laugh at the comedy we had just passed thru to the enjoyment of the cops nearby as well - so totally frustrating and yet impossibly implausable in real time. A tourist "moving on" moment if ever there was one!

Later, walking along the bustling avenue of "new" Tunis (French colonial built), a tout who obviously was looking to "help" us as a guide, asked me where we were from, America, I said. California? No, Montana. Oh, near Canada! (He was familiar w/ our geograghy...most likely having dealt w/ tourist from America before). Which hotel are you starting? Auberge de la juenesse, I replied. He turned around an left so fast I never heard him say another word!

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