Monday, July 02, 2007

Cruise Day 7: Tunisia

The ship arrived in Tunisia early in the morning and our "Historical and Cultural Tour" was underway by 8:30 a.m. Despite the scheduling hardship, we were glad of the somewhat moderate temperature at that time of day; it was 40˚C by 10 a.m.

Much of the history and culture revolves around the Roman conquest of the Carthaginians before they themselves were supplanted by Arabic powers. I was particularly impressed by the expansive ruins of a Roman bath.
Roman Bath

Thankfully, I paid attention to the warnings and avoided any international incidents.
sign 2

We visited the village of Sidi Bou Saïd characterized by its blue-on-white palette and the bustling and aggressive merchants. This spectacular view of the street was afforded to us by the second floor of a shop owner who gave us an enlightening presentation about the carpets and rugs that they sell.
Sidi Bou Said
If I hadn't suspected our tour guide was getting a kickback from the vendors then, it was confirmed by the circuitous route he prescribed for us to return the bus that sent us past even more shops and booths.

Shelley and I found a patch of grass by the bus pick-up site and contemplated charging people 5 Euros for the opportunity to stand there and not be hassled by merchants. I think we could have had a good business: "No, only 5 Euros, it's a good deal. C'mon my friend, you don't want some peace and quiet? No? How much do you want to spend? For you, I can make a deal. You are from Canada? I like Canada very much." We could have paid for our trip, preying on the introverts.

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