Advantures in Tunissa
Last Revised: $Revision: 1.4 $, $Date: 2003/02/24 23:42:25 $
Sfax - 1997-12-28
I traveled to SFAX per Louage and stayed at a the A????? Hotel for 40 TUD.
Hotels and banks don't accept credit cards out side tourist areas.
After asking at the first Hotel I checked out another one next to it.
I smelled paint when I entered the reception but otherwise it looked fine.
I asked the guy in arabic if I could get a room.
He answered in french and after I explained in english the the hotel is
still under construction and will open in a week.
Gābes - Mo 1997-12-29
I left the hotel and changed some money. At the Loage station close to the hotel
I was told that the Loages in direction South depart from the other place
next at the train station. It was the usual Renault station wagon, the
type of car that is usually used for Loages. I was seated at the rear seat
which is a pretty uncomfortable place.
I beautiful lady sit next to me. She ask
some thing in Arabic and French. I studied the Arabic language with her for the
two hours the trip took her name was Riem (24J) and she is a professeur at
We arrived at 11h. in Gābes. People are much friendlier then in the tourist
areas and don't try to trick you for money. I am a passionate
Inline-skater. So I took my skates with me and skated thru oasis about
20 km. Traffic consists of tourist-coach shooters (kind of ...). It is
pretty silent. Within the oasis the road was fairly smooth concerning of course
standard. I talked to the people that sell goods to tourist in the oasis.
One could speak a bit German. I learned some Arabic with there help. One
wanted to try the Inline skates but could not even stand up on them.
Every body had fun and they invited me for to stay. I had some Kuskus a
Arabic meal made of HIRSE and CARROTS. I was delicious. I
left and got a Louage to SFAX.
In Gābes you have to pay for a Loage ticket at an office and the driver
cashes the tickets immediately. We arrived in SFAX at 18:00h witch was
rush hour. I tried to get a taxi to get back to the other Loage station were
I arrived the other day to go back north. But although there were hundreds of
taxis they were all occupied. This was the same like in Tunis. I ended up
walking to the other Loage station. A driver told me that the Loages
to Sousse depart from the other Loage place, the one I just came from - very
funny. I took a taxi back.
It was about 19:00h and it is tougher to get all seats full for Loage
drivers. This time it was a Renault Espace which is very comfortable compared
to the stannard cars. It took half an hour until all seats were occupied.
About 500 Meter at a traffic light clutch failed to work and the car
did not move a bit. It seemed to be pretty worn-out. So we pushed the
car to the other side of the road and the driver tried it again and
it worked. So he drove back and I thought we just get another car and
he get it to the garage. But he tried it again and it failed again at the
I the following I learned some lesson about Arabic understandment. Now I would
go back or push the car over the corner if I would want to risk break down.
We pushed it again over the corner and he drove back and i --- tried
it a nother time. But since he has another that he could not go that way
he just turned right driving a completely different way!! That is the typical Arabic
tack-tick of avoiding problems.
The car seemed to be in somewhat bad condition. After about 20 km there
was a problem with the wheel suspension. The driver seems to know
it and fixed it. All in all we break down six times and he always
fixed it again also the distance between failures was declining.
Remarkable is that now one was angry. Not the driver and not the passengers.
We had a lot of fun and it was the most pleasant trip I had. No one spoke
English and I could tell then with my little Arabic language knowledge things
an supplement it with gestures. I learned that one was exporting fruits
to Europe front Tunis-airport.
Four kilometers in front of Sousse we definitely changed the Loages.
Everybody paid its 6 TUD - since we finally have arrived no matter if i
t took 3 instead of 1.5 hours. And 500 Milliemes four the other guy that
brought us to Sousse.
Matmata - We 1997-12-31
At the Loage station in Gābes again I tried to get a trip to Matamta.
Someone told me that there are no Loages to Matmata and he offered me a
trip for 17 TUD in his taxi which is twice to four times as much as a
regular taxi would cost. I did not belive him and we I met Kirsten and Dirk.
They also want to go to Matmata and we find out the the Loage depart 500m
down the to Matmata street. Someone told us that there was also a
bus at 12:00h. We just catched the bus which was about to depart when we
stopped it. The trip to Matmata costs 1.460 TUD.
We traveled the 40 km thru the steppe consisting of loamy soil and ????? vegetation.
Matmata is a small village with pour people unpaved roads, that lives
mostly on tourism. There are three hotels two of them are made from old
They digged a large cylinder in to the
ground of about 10 meters wide and 5 meters deep. From that center
place they digged chambers in to the loamy soil. That ensure that is
comfortable cool when it's hot outside and warm in the knight.
Indeed it was warm in the night when it was below 10°C
out side (with out heating for sure). Those cylinder-living units are
connected with tunnels.
Today they are used as Hotels and I stayed at the SIDI DRISS.
For 10.800 TUD for a night you also get a pretty good lunch and breakfast.
Of course this are no first class hotels. There is only cold shower and
limited sanitary instalation. The hotels are the main attraction. I heard that
most organized stupid tourist are coming for a meal and live then.
There were only 6 people staying at the SIDI DRISS this night.
One British guy who traveled for several month, starting in Turkey
and went thru Lebanon, Syria Jordan, Egypt Libia and finally Tunisia. A French
couple and and my friends I came with.
Dinner was at 18:30 to 21:00h and consist of a tomato-soap
a kind of pancake and a truly giant portion of Kuskus, this time
supplemented with potatoes and meat.I thought that it already was 1st
January and I was not the only one. NO one was sure the watch of
one guy was one day ahead so we had a discussion on that and found that it
It was not only new years eve but also the 1st day of the Islamic Ramadan.
In the evening we went to the local Arabic cafe and there where more people
then usual but they don't seem to recognize the greorgien new year and party.
We just had a couple of peppermint tee, the local favorite drink.
Douz - Th 1998-01-01
I departed after breakfast at about 9:00 from Matmata to New-Matmata with
Louage and then continued to Gābes. From there I made my way to
Kebibi and Douz at the boundary of the Sahara desert.
There was only the kind of pleasant backpack tourism.
Like always on Thursday it was market day. The Souk was mainly for
local people, selling garments and Dattels and other food.
Only at the rounding buildings were selling carpets shoes, woolen
blankets, ornaments to tourists. But unlike elsewhere these
people are friendly Beduins, and don't try to misuse tourist
with aggressive and penetrant manners.
For one TUD I took a ride at the dune. There are about 250 Camels. Only at
sun rise and sun set there come 4 busses with tourist and take a
short ride. I was afternoon so there were no tourists and I ask and got a
ride for 2.5 TUD for an hour. A pleasant experience. Know I know why the
Camel (a Domedar) is called the ship of the desert -
you get see sick (just kidding). But he shook his head and I
did not understand. He could only speak French and Arabic and it was
some what hard to tell him that I speak a bit Arabic. Finally he
said iesmee Salem which means My name is Salem!
I stayed in a hotel called 20 Mars. Also it was of the simple kind
it was nicely decorated, with happy appearing colors- really beautiful .
For the 11 TUD you get dinner and breakfast included. I sit at a table
with a French group and for dinner you could choose between Kuskus and Some
meat with potatoes. As entree we had soap. The dinner was severed on glass
plate and the meal were nicely decorated.
El Jem and Tunis - We 1998-01-02 ?
Tunis appear just a European type of a large city with usual shopping malls
combined with Arabic parts with Souks ....
Kaioran - Th 1998-01-04
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