Only in Africa...
Well after a long night of binge eating/drinking Sicilian delecacies I was quite hung over at 7AM when my alarm went off. My friend John and I took the train from Termini to the Fiumicino Airport and hoped on our Tunisair flight. This airline was great. All of the seats had ample leg room and even though we were only in the air for an hour and a half, we were served a meal. It happened to be pretty decent for airport food too, especially the fig tart. lol Once we arrived, we rented a car from Europecar and headed off to the hotel. The town we were saying in is called Gammarth and the hotel was very nice. It's name is Sol Phebus, but is part of the Melia resort corporation. (I've stayed at one of these in Santo Domingo that was fabulous!!)
After a quick nap John and I decided to drive to Sidi Bou Said a gorgeous town overlooking the Mediterranean. My travel book lists this as one of the 1,000 Places to Go Before You Die. Before I got there, I didn't really understand why they included it but the quaint town was unlike anything I've ever seen. The cobbelstone streets were all lined with white homes that had bright blue doorways. The were decorated with intricate designs and connected with black iron fences. Sidi Bou Said holds a daily maket so we decided to do some shopping. After this trip I have become an experienced "haggler." All of the vendors bagan with outrageous prices but most of the time I was able to talk them down to at least 80% off of their origional price. The market had stall after stall of ceramics, mosaics, jewelry and lots of other beautiful pieces.
After hearing "Good price for beautiful American, only for u," and being called "Shakira" about twenty times it was time for a break. John and I found a hookah bar located at the top of the hill called Cafe de Nattes. We ordered melon nargila and snacked on baklava while chatting with several other people in the bar. One of the men that we spoke with is a tour guide throughout Tunisia and speaks over five languages! He explained that the president's children were going to be coming to Cafe des Nattes later on in the evening, how exciting! We wanted to wait but we were both dizzy from all the shisha and decided to find a restaurant for dinner. On the way to the car we ran into one of the shopkeepers whom we had "promised" that we would return. After repeatedly telling him that we weren't interested in what he was selling he stood in front of us blocking us from the exit of his shop. John literally had to force him out of the way! Then he followed us out to the parking lot with the ceramics all packed and wrapped up shoving them in John's bag. This was simply too much!
Luckily John loves ethnic food just as much as I do and is just as sick of Italy's pasta and pizza as I am. lol. We found a great Indian restaurant called Golden Tulip. All of the waiters were dressed in traditional clothing, middle eastern bellydancing music was playing and the decor reminded me of Brokendown Palace. I ordered the lamb marinated in mint and it was delicious. They seved the dish with jasmine rice, fresh warm pita marinated vegetables. We also ordered a bottle of Tunisia's most well known white wines . Even though Tunisia is a Muslim country and Islam prevents alcohol use, they still produce wine and most restaurants serve alcoholic beverages. (thank god) This was just what I needed after a long day!
We returned to our hotel and I ended the night with a glass of boukha, Tunisia's traditional fig brandy. It gave me the warm fuzzy tired/drunk feeling that I love. lol. I took a long, hot bath, relaxed in my AIRCONDITIONING and KING sized bed and retreated to hibernation!