Tuesday, May 25, 2010

32 things learned in Tunis

In no particular order:

1) When a clean, empty bathroom presents itself, use it. Shower. Brush your teeth. Pee. Whatever you can do. You don't know when you'll get another one.

2) Watch your head. Amy was watching her step while walking in Sousse, and came within an inch of colliding with a freshly decapitated cow's head hanging outside of a butcher shop. Really.

3) Butchers hang freshly decapitated cow and sheep heads outside of their shops on the sidewalk (See #2).

4) You never know when you will strike up a conversation with a world famous rally car driver, who then gives you his address and invites you to his home in France.

5) Flies can indeed land on your lips when you are napping in a windy louage.

6) Berber ladies carry cell phones and teensy little change purses folded into their many winding layers of clothing.

7) Berber ladies in red = married.

8) If you can speak Spanish, and the person you're trying to talk to can speak French AND Italian, you can basically have a normal conversation.

9) When Tunisians play the ethnic guessing game, Korea comes late, or never, on a list that starts with Chinois, Japon, Hong Kong, Philipinnes, Tokyo, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. And yes, Tokyo is considered a country.

10) Sometimes Tunisians think things are funny that are not. Like saying "heil hitler" to someone who they think is Italian (still haven't figured that one out). Or laughing, joking, and making charades as if they are pumping a rifle and shooting at you. Or pretending they have a bomb on a bus. Or saying Amy must be related to Bruce Lee. (Okay, maybe that actually is funny.)

11) Sahara hot.

12) Sahara windy.

13) Sandstorms hardcore.

14) Gas cheap.

15) One CAN get tired of warm, crusty baguettes.

16) Nothing can redeem a man wearing capris.

17) Being disconnected from the Internet is more challenging than expected.

18) Gabe is good at drawing street maps, but dislikes writing street names.

19) Chewing with your mouth wide open and picking your nose are acceptable public activities in Tunisia.

20) Old French and German men really like riding their motorcycles around Africa.

21) It really would have been smart to have learned some French before coming to Africa.

22) French people really do say "puton" when they swear.

23) Do yourself a favor and poop in the public WCs in your hotel, instead of your poorly plumbed, poorly ventilated private toilette.

24) Bathing with antibacterial wipes actually feels pretty good.

25) Tunisian coffee is DELICIOUS.

26) YAB brand banana yogurt is to die for.

27) A 2-meter Berber headscarf is absolutely the most useful piece of performance gear in the world. Thousands of years of field testing behind that shit. Keeps out the heat, keeps out the cold, keeps out the sun, keeps out the wet, keeps out the sand, can be used as towel, blanket, napkin, belt, sarong, tablecloth, pillowcase, etc.

28) After a week in the Sahara, a 2-meter Berber headscarf can smell really bad.

29) When riding louages, you should always position yourself to be in command of the windows.

30) Camels are giant, smelly beasts, but babies in the wild are shockingly cute.

31) Medina hostels, while cheap, are not an acceptable housing option.

32) Just because something is listed on a menu doesn't mean that the restaurant will serve you that food or has it that night. It is more accurate to say that if an item is listed on a menu, the restaurant at some point in its lifetime served that food to a guest.

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