Saturday, August 14, 2010

Orientation Week

The view from my room at the Sapphire Palace
In the lobby with my first glass of mint tea in Tunisia
The fountain at the school's entrance
I could not have asked for better from my orientation week. I was picked up at the airport on time and taken “home” where a welcome pack of basic foods awaited me. The next morning, after a blissful night’s sleep, the school’s driver picked up my fellow newbies and me  and took us to school. Breakfast and lunch were provided every day, even though it was Ramadan – more on that later. During the week, the Director, the High School Principal and the Elementary Principal each hosted feasts in their homes for us, this despite putting in full days at work. Each morning we had a session on something helpful in terms of understanding the school and its policies and procedures. Each afternoon, the bus took us on excursion – shopping for essentials, touring our immediate surroundings, and finally on an overnight trip to Hammamet where we stayed in the Iberostar Sappire Palace, a five-star all-inclusive hotel. I have never been in such luxury and it was right across the road from the beach! The only sad thing was that my camera battery packed it in after two shots, so I only have two personal photos to share with you. The websites will have to do. The meals were amazing buffets combining local, European and American foods. Guess which one I avoided? At dinner, I sampled some sort of beef stew that takes two days to prepare and that is made with a herb that makes it greenish black. Take that, Dr. Seuss!
On the Saturday morning after breakfast, I took one of the gorgeous young teachers and went to the Medina - the ancient walled city of Hammamet. The place is a rabbit warren of merchants of all kinds, each vying loudly for the attention of passers-by. Around me we could here not only English and French greetings, but Italian, Spanish and German, too. I bought my first of what I hope are many carpets. This was probably foolish as I have tourist written all over me, but I am happy with it and what I paid for it. If they guy got ten dinars to much for it, so be it. After all, I got a very good price because he considered me as his daughter! It is prayer rug sized and pure Tunisian silk. It lies beside my bed waiting for the day I start meditating again.

1 comment:

  1. You look like the cat who ate the canary!! You have landed in such a gorgeous place!