Thursday, 4 March 2010

Tunisian life

Some parts of Sousse are not pretty. Others are cute. I took both of these pics outside the carpet-seller's factory. The children's nursery was directly opposite and the street was just that - the street outside with everyday life going on. If you click to enlarge the pic, you'll see the way some of the older ladies dress, in what looks like a striped woollen blanket.

In the summer I could see that this way of dressing might be an advantage. The heat of the sun coupled with the sand blown on the wind must turn the skin to leather, and after our experience of a mild sandstorm, I couldn't help but think it was a sensible option.

One afternoon we experienced a sudden crack of thunder and lightning lit up the sky. Just one of each. Then the rain came down. Big, fat drops that bounced off the tiles. People ran into the hotel drenched to the skin after only a minute. It lasted perhaps ten minutes in all, but the front of the hotel was awash and the maid was kept busy mopping the water out as fast as it rolled in.

Transport is interesting. On the same street you can see the modern tour buses, Mercedes cars, old bycycles and the humble donkey - pulling a cart or being ridden by (usually) old men in long robes.

Women work on the central reservation of the main roads, planting bushes in soil they have first dug with a very old tool about the size of a large trowel but with a hooked blade - imagine a claw- headed hammer and you'll be close.

They also work in the fields, planting, weeding, harvesting. Men tend to look after the sheep and goats, and it is not unusual to see a small flock of six or seven herded along the motorway verge by an old man. Everywhere there's a patch of sparse weedy grass, even in the outskirts of Sousse, there will be a shepherd and a few animals.
But don't let me give you the impression that Tunisians are all poverty stricken. There are some very nice houses even on the carpet-seller's street, tucked away behind high white walls and ornate iron gates. There is money there. The flash new cars dash along the streets, and the young people dress as young people do everywhere. One of the things I loved was the housewifely thing of tossing your carpet and your bed fleece over the balcony to air in the sun. Everyone does it. Pity we don't have the weather for it here.

1 comment:

N. Gemini Sasson said...

Most importantly - was it warm there and did the sun shine? I've forgotten what those two things feel like. Always interesting to get away to someplace a little different.