Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Isle of Djerba

Ah yes. I have survived nine weeks without a long weekend - no Thanksgiving, no Remembrance Day - and now comes the reward. A five-day weekend to rest, relax and recreate. As soon as I knew for sure that Trish was coming, I booked three nights on Djerba, and what a treat that was.

The island is bigger than I had imagined, and completely flat. You can read a lot about it by scrolling through http://www.tunisia.com/tunisia/djerba Therein you will see all the sights that Trish and I missed. Day one we settled in and went the beach. Day two, we went into Midoun to the markets. Day three we rented a car and toured to Matmata on the mainland - a separate page all its own - and day four we went home. Did we see the most important synagogue in the Arab world? No. Did we visit the underground olive pressing plant? No. Did we tour the ancient fort of Borj el-Kebir? No again. Did we have a good time? No. We had a GREAT TIME!!

Cindy-Lou Hoo huts

Palms heavy with dates.

Trish soaking up the shade

Nothing much, but we're calling it home

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Sheep transport

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The sheep next door


 Well, across the road, actually, but that didn't sound as good. Isn't he gorgeous?! I can't remember what the children named him, but now at least I understand why Rym and Ashmedine hadn't been mowing their lawn lately.

In a few days it will be Aid al Adha. This is the celebration of the story of Abraham and Isaac which is shared by Muslims, Jews and Christians alike. For those of you who are not biblical scholars, here is a good version of the event.

Sheepy, me, Ashmia and Papito. It is 22 degress, hence the heavy coats on three out of four of us.
Muslims the world over - and they make up twenty percent of the total population - celebrate the sacrifice by buying a sheep and bringing it home and then killing it. For weeks we have been seeing an increase of sheep all over the city. Any little vacant piece of ground has someone squatting on it with a few sheep - or dozens - for sale. I yell at them, "Run, Bambi, run!" but apparently they don't speak deer.

This is a flyer from a local grocery store. "Your sheep at a Giant price." I'm not sure how well this ad worked for them. A local gas station ran a campagne that said, "Play and win - a sheep!" I should be carrying my camera at all times.

Fall down, go boom!

This morning, Trish fell crossing the road before she could even get a taxi to her first adventure and sprained her ankle rather badly. This evening, not wanting my friend to be alone in her pain, I fell too. I was running flat out for the train in wide-legged pants and sandals. when the (long) toes of my left foot got caught in my right pantlleg. This might not have ended in disaster had I not had a marketing basket in one hand and a laptop in the other. Both hands being occupied with heavy things, I fell right on my chin on the cement.

Scraped knuckles

The full effect

Monday, November 8, 2010

Trish Arrives

I rented a car yesterday in order to be able to pick up Trish from the airport. The driving here is completely crazy. The highway has lane markers and speed limit signs, but both are completely ignored. Thankfully, people don't go out much at night, so I did fine picking her up at midnight. Teachers are granted two personal days per year and I was granted one for her first day. It was wonderful to have the car and take her to some of my favourite places - and to see a few that I hadn't been able to get to myself. Trish is a gifted photographer, and these are all her shots.
Me at the kitchen window

Roman cisterns - three minutes from my house.

Ripe olives on a tarp

We had lunch here at Sidi Bou Said

Ripe olive on my table cloth