Sunday, July 10, 2005  

There and back – Part four.

I think it must an international con; flights home are always a long time after your hotel check out time. The hotel then tries to sell you back your room at an extortionate price, and all so you can have a shower before travelling home. Our hotel was no different, sixty Dinars for five hours extra, that’s a full day’s rate. We declined, and had plenty of time to cool down on the coach because the driver took a circuitous route inland to get to the airport. He seemed intent on showing us some of the real Tunisia before we went home. We saw herds of Camel on the dusty roadsides, shepherds and goatherds tending their flocks in the olive groves, run down business areas and even more run down housing. Tunisia has some kind of tax that is levied on finished houses, which is why the vast majority of houses look like building sites, and seems to give the whole country a ramshackle look. The desalination plants and oil refineries look out of place, too neat and tidy to be part of the dusty chaotic landscape.

My least favourite part of any holiday is the foreign departure lounge, and this one was no exception. I dislike them for the obvious reason that the holiday is over and we are going back to the crap weather and the usual everyday bullshit, but I also dislike them because they are invariably uncomfortable places. Habib Bourguiba departure lounge is far too small for the volume of passengers and this makes it very hot and sticky. There are plenty of refreshments but expect to fleeced, we tried to buy two packets of crisps for the flight and were asked for £5. He looked hurt when we laughed at him. All the shops accept Dinars, even though prior to getting into the departure lounge everyone is told to get rid of their currency as it’s an offence to take it with you, one last reminder that Tunisia is a land of contradictions. Just when you think you have left it all behind and passed through the gate to your plane, you have to get on a bus and be ferried out onto the runway. At least there were no children running about, we had the good sense to go during term time.

So, what did we get from our holiday ? A really relaxing week away from all the shite that fills our lives, just what a holiday should be in my opinion. Even though I disagreed with Paul Theroux about travelling, I wouldn’t rule out doing something like that in the future. Maybe a nice train journey through Europe would be different, but not as relaxing as chilling on a beach. I did rediscover the beauty of Tunisian food, the best meal we had all week was in a Tunisian restaurant. I also liked Boukha so much that I brought a litre bottle back with me; it is sitting in the bottom drawer of the freezer as I type this, ready to be poured into a tall glass, over ice, and topped up with proper coke. Tunisia in a glass, cheers !

| posted by Simon | 5:18 pm | 0 comments
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