Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sheep and Shiatsu

Yesterday, I had a simply wonderful shiatsu treatment thanks to the recommendation of a colleague. If you're ever in town, I'll see if I can get you a session with Noura. Apparently, almost all massage in Tunis is done fully clothed and is very delicate. Not what I like at all. Give me full contact and deep work every time. Noura had me down to my skivvies and proceded to hurt me good. My body fairly hummed by the time she was done.
The interesting thing that I wanted to share was this. She practices where she lives, in her parents' home. Her husband left her when her children, now in their late teens, were very young and so the three generations live together. It's a beautiful home in a nice part of Tunis, so it struck me funny to be looking up at a gorgeous chandelier in a well-appointed room scented with essential oils, and in the background to be hearing the bleating of sheep. She explained that there was in fact only one sheep, and that its presence was exceptional. A neighbour had died three days earlier and the deceased's family - not all Tunisians, she hastened to add - held with a tradition of sheep slaughter and feasting on the fourth day.
On the way out, Noura treated me to my first prickly pear, bought from a street vendor. I reached for it and both she and the vendor yelped! The outside, I have now learned the hard way, is covered in almost invisible prickles, hence the name. He deftly cut the skin off, one hand in a rubber glove, and gave me the yellow fruit inside. Delicious. Also known as Barbary Figs, I recommend you try one when you can, but do wear gloves!

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