We were on our way to Carthage, a true dream for any architect or anyone who appreciates the Romans as much as me. After a timid conversation – what’s your name? Are you married?– the taxi driver and me started engaging in a deeper conversation.
Meanwhile I felt grateful to my French professor whose teachings have proved more useful than I had ever imagined.
“I was once married to a European, you see? but it didn’t work and we divorced. I now have a wife that waits for me at home and I am very content”. I’m unsure if you are able to divorce in their culture but I didn’t ask him not to be impolite. “I have two sons and a daughter and I hope all of them go to university in the future”.The more I travel the more I realize how similar all of us are. Our aspirations, fears and the strange idea of what happiness is.“Do you think tourism has decreased due to the recent terrorist attacks?” after an hour together, we started a more serious conversation as I couldn’t help being extremely curious about his opinion as a local. “Tourism has decreased mademoiselle. But people don’t understand that we are not all like that. I am an honest worker and pay my taxes at the end of every month. I know what they tell about us on TV, but it’s wrong. We are kind people, you see?”.
Carthage is remarkably beautiful. There’s nothing left but ruins of its grand Roman past – but it’s enough.
We visited Bizerte on our last day, the northern most African city. There’s a strange kind of collective minibus in which the traveler needs to bargain his seat. I hate to bargain, but I like to be treated as an equal there where I happen to be. So I start bargaining, and with a bit of chuckling I achieve a good price for being three (girls).
One of the best moments of this Tunisian trip happened on our way back, when our fellow minibus colleagues shared with us their bag of dates (the equivalent of a bag of chips in my world I imagined). It was fun and exciting.
After some days we learnt to ignore the police with machine guns, sand bags protecting certain areas and barbed wire. We enjoyed getting lost in Tunis’ thousand streets around the souks instead.
Tunisian doors are stunning. I must have bought 30 postcards of doors but I just sent two and think only one arrived to its destination. The rest, I greedily kept to myself.
Until next time Tunisia!