Tuesday, April 3, 2012


One spring break in college I decided to surprise my Mom with an exotic trip to Sousse, Tunisia. Africa.

There she is.

I could be living in a house like this. Because?
Our guide, a guy in his early twenties, took us to dinner in his family's home. We ate spicy cous-cous, the national food,  scooping it out of a huge bowl with our hands.
After dinner, the nice young man showed me a heap of white rocks outside and offered to build me a house out of them if only I would stay.

Call me crazy, but I declined. 

Sousse was founded in 800 B.C., making it by far the oldest place I've ever set foot on! Nowadays it's an important port and industrial town.

Our beachfront hotel, complete with a disco, was modern and clean (other than the unidentified bugs we squashed in our room). It presented a stark contrast to life outside the hotel district.
Old Town was packed with booths of jewelry, brass and leather goods, and colorful rugs for sale. The pungeant scent of unfamiliar spices and perfumes filled the air. 

(My pictures are reprints from old film in an old camera, but you get the gist.)


                            This boy was selling bread out a of street cart.

We took part in a "safari" for a day. It was really a bus trip. Aside from the camels (for tourists) we got to ride, we didn't spot animals or ride in a jeep. The bus headed south to El Djem, where we saw the ruins of the seventh largest Roman amphitheater, built in 200.
Passing a vast expanse of olive trees, we continued on to Gabes, an oasis in the desert with date, pomegranate, and banana trees. We had lunch there. I bypassed the snails and ate bread, which, incidentally, was my main staple on the whole trip.
Then it was on to Matmata, where we visited Fatima's cave dwelling
Pieces of meat were hung to dry in the cave opening.

My Mom and I didn't know what to expect when we set out on our spring break adventure. What we saw, heard, smelled, tasted, and touched in Tunisia was definitely exotic to us!

Have you ever taken a spur-of-the moment vacation?
What's exotic to you

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