Testing another URL to see if I can get larger pictures.
This camel was used in Coke commercials in Tunis. I heard from some others in our tour group that they have seen that ad.
Since I do not wish to repost all the previous pictures that came out rather small, I'll take requests on which pictures you would like to see enlarged to this size.
I'm going out for my morning coffee and newspaper.
I'm loving this thread.
If you get around to posting larger pictures, I'd be thrilled to see any/all of the following:
the mosaic and sarcophagus
the children's tombstones and public baths
Any/all of the Dougga snaps and the three temples.
Sorry. Not to make you crazy.
I really would.
Better late than never.
TRANSFER TO DOUZ - Day 8:
The following morning, we motor coached to Douz with a stop in Degueche for a horse-drawn carriage ride under lush palm trees with a visit to a private orchard of palm trees, roses, grapes, and other flora. We saw a man in his sixties climb one of the palm trees to demonstrate how they harvest dates. We continued our journey by crossing the great salt lake (Chott el Jerid) where we were introduced to the Lord Mayor. We visited the Douz market, but most of the shops were closed (for a 3-day holiday after Ramadan). Many of the locals in Douz are immigrants from Sudan. In the late afternoon, before our check-in at our hotel for one night, we rode camels or carriages with Bedoins (are Berbers or Arabs) in the desert followed by a cocktail party. Some of the patterns in the sand are beautiful artworks of nature.
At last, the last.
TRANSFER TO SOUSSE - Day 11 to Day 13:
In the morning, we took the ferry to Gabes and coached through the Sahel Region (coastline) with a lunch stop in Sfax, the second largest city in Tunisia. After lunch, we continued our journey through olive groves for a visit to El Jem, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, to visit the Roman amphitheater modeled in the same design as the Coliseum in Rome, but in better condition. It rained, so I went inside a café for a cup of coffee.
Our last three nights were spent at the Orient Palace Hotel in Sousse, a stones throw distance from the Mediterranean.
The first full day in Suesse was a leisure day for those who didn't opt for the optional tour to Kairouan, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a visit to the Great Mosque, the oldest in Africa. It's the forth most important to the believers of Islam after Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. We were told that Muslims who visit here four times equates to one visit to Mecca, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Our morning drive along the coast to the seaside resort of Monastir, the birthplace of their former President Bourguiba, to visit the Ribat, a fortified monastery dating from the 8th century AD, Bourguiba Mausoleum, and the Sousse Medina, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, and finally Port el Kantaoui, a very pleasant port with yachts from all over Europe and some shops. This place reminds me of some of the Caribbean ports.
Our final event was a home-hosted dinner with a Tunisian family. The seven in our group were hosted by a couple of doctors; the husband a professor of medicine at the local university, and the wife an forensic doctor. They have three children, the oldest daughter now attending medical school, the second child, a son, in secondary school, and their youngest daughter in grade school. They all attend private schools. They have traveled to the US and in Europe. Their beautiful home is a two story residence with a swimming pool in the back yard and an atrium with marble floors.
The average income in Tunisia is about US$9,000 per annum, and the middle class is growing. Tunisia is the largest exporter of dates. Agricultural land occupies about half of the country's total area. Tourism in Tunisia is growing, and many local and foreign investments are being made in developing its tourist infrastructure. Foreign car makers such as Fiat, Ford, and Mitsubishi have assembly factories. They also produce Levi Strauss, Lee, Wrangler, Gap, Hanes, Reebok, Russell, and
Fila for US companies. Tunisia is trying to attract more foreign investment by providing ten year tax benefits and subsidies, but the company must hire Tunisians to get this benefit. The Tunisian Dinar is not negotiable currency outside the country.
Twenty five years ago, only 750 students attended college. Today, they have over 350,000 students in college. Tunisia has the only Pharmacy College in Africa.
Our tour director, Roberto, lives in Italy, and is an independent travel guide/consultant. He speaks five languages fluently, and two enough to "survive."
He was born in North Africa, and his knowledge of European history, Africa, and the Middle East is outstanding. He has traveled extensively around the world.
Habib Bourguiba was born in 1903, and was proclaimed its first president in 1956 when Tunisia regained independence, and held that office from 1957 until 1987 when he was declared mentally incompetent. He studied law in Paris, and embarked upon intensive political work. He brought many pro-western reforms to the country providing for equal rights for women, divorce, and a secular government.
Bourguiba is held in high esteem to this day by most citizens of the country.
Finally about olive oil. The first press of small olives is termed "extra virgin," and should be green in color. The second press is termed "virgin," and should be yellow. The third press is "olive oil," and the last is "mixed" with other vegetable oils. The best olive oil is produced in Tuscany because of the soil (zero acidity) and ideal micro-climate. The next best olive oil comes from Provence, and the third comes from Tunisia.
RETURN HOME - Day 14:
osso, Good map; thanks for posting it.
Well, those are wonderful photos, CI. They increased my interest in Tunisia a lot.
Remembering to tell you, I have some Tunisian ceramics. Back when we had the gallery, we bought some items from a fellow in Petaluma - some ironwork to sell, some oil jars to sell, and the plates for ourselves.
I have managed to not break any of the plates yet...
Great narrative, gorgeous images, C.I. Fascinating.