Friday, January 8, 2010

Tunisia Part 2

You've probably been wondering where the rest of my trip report and pictures are, unless of course you are one of the few luckies that I have bored with my 750 picture slide show. Well, folks, here we go....

Tuesday, Nov 17th

While BF was hobnobbing with the French and Japanese at breakfast, I took the opportunity to sleep in. Yay! We got ready for lunch and decided to check out the La Shirazad to make sure it was open, and it was! The restaurant also doubles as a dinner theatre at night, so it was really quite cool inside. They had tables all setup for us along with a buffet, and the food was excellent!

Inside the La Shirazad

My lunch...pasta, bread with Harissa, lentils, beets, and olives, of course!

I tried several first course dishes including lentils, which are commonly used in Tunisia. I found some of the pasta dishes bland, so I did what anyone would do - added Harissa! We met some JC's from California at lunch that were brand new to their chapter. Can you imagine, you join this organization, then 3 mos later you are eating lunch in Tunisia with people all over the world? Amazing! We also met a gentleman, Hans-Peter, from the Netherlands who told us about a really cool art project his chapter ran to raise money for Unicef. They found 30 artists who donated a piece of art for the project to be auctioned and raised over 30 thousand Euro! Now THAT is impressive!

After lunch, we decided to grab a cab to head into Hammamet and see if we could find the George Sebastian Villa I had found on the Tunisia travel site: Since our French is limited, and our Tunisian Arabic even more so, it was hard for us to communicate to the taxi drivers where we wanted to go. We ended up taking the cab to Hammamet and figured we might see it on the way, since it was supposed to be on the main road. We didn't see it, and the taxi driver had no idea who George Sebastian was, so we ended up dropped off by the Medina. No problem for us, we found a little side adventure!

Ah...the Mediterranean!

While we were taking pictures of each other by the Mediterranean Sea, a young man approached us and asked if we remembered him from the hotel. Mind you, we'd been here 3 days and have already met dozens of people, and maybe we did meet him... Well, as it turns out, we didn't, he was just a pawn to get us into the rug shop "one day only" open house. lol. It was actually pretty entertaining and we got to see some beautiful rugs! Apparently the rug shops are government run and they are priced out by how long they take. Needless to say, I liked the expensive ones! VERY beautiful, and when we are in a better financial position - we are definitely buying one!

Me in the rug store....

The Medina in Hammamet

At the rug store, they served us some traditional mint tea after showing us dozens of rugs. We grabbed some contact information, tipped the carpet "rollers" and went on our way! Next stop was the souk, where we did a little shopping. We ended up with some spices to take back to my boss at the restaurant, a silver necklace with a hand of fatima charm on it for yours truly, a dress for BF's daughter, and some scarves for various relatives.
We then decided to start walking back to Yasmine Hammamet to see if we could find the George Sebastian house ourselves. We stopped to buy a small bag of popcorn from a street vendor (we both LOVE popcorn, it's known as "PC" in our household!) and took a leisurely walk. We then decided we better grab a cab before it started to get dark, so we flagged one down and had him take us to the "theatre" which was one of the landmarks we were told to look for. Well, he drops us off and we don't see any theatre, but see this big white walled in area and signs for a cultural center. We find the entrance to the cultural center and decide to just go in...lo and behold, this is where the George Sebastian house is! And the AMPHITHEATRE!!
Up next! Pictures from the George Sebastian house! Stay tuned!

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