Day 89 - Name That Tunis

Trip Start Aug 07, 2007
Trip End Nov 07, 2007

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Flag of Tunisia  ,
Saturday, November 3, 2007

Hair: Rendering It Unecessary To Buy A New Helmet
Beard:  Able to Reach My Mouth 
Distance Driven: 12,526.9km
Frame of Mind: Complex

Got up nice and early.  My watch is playing silly beggars, it goes from 8:59 to 1:00 so I'm never quite sure what time it is.  My departure was delayed due to rain for the first time in many weeks.  Upon departure I found out that driving in the rain in Tunisia is every bit as wet and cold as it was in Ethiopia.  By the time I reached Tunism some 160km later, I was completely dry. Apart from everything I owned.  I had cleverly managed to navigate a course that kept me under a thin corridor of dark cloud for the entire jpourney, despite having clear bright blue skies tantalisingly close on both my left and right sides.  C'est la vie.

I found the town centre remarkably easily mainly due to the large signs saying "centre ville".  I found the youth hostel (youth...chuckle!) reasonably easily despite the map not actually indicting that 95% of the roads in the medina are not open to traffic.  A bit hit and miss but I got there in the end. It is a veyr nice place actually.  A big  courtyard decorated with attarctive tiles in Tunisian style and sporting lots of antique-y sheeshas etc.

Tunis is a very cool city.  I like it.  I checked into the hostel, had a shower and a change of clothes, wandered through the chaotic medina souks and sat down in a sundrenched square next to the medina's main gate to have an espresso.  I was going through that nice phase of coldness where you've not quite warmed up but the cold in your fingers and toes has ceased to be uncomfortable.  You just have the satisfying and comfortable knowledge that soon you'll be toasty again. 

Then it hit me: this is it, the end of the road.  I'm finished with Africa and in the next couple of days I'll be leaving her.  12,500km through 7 countries (12 African countries visited in total during my stay) has come to a close.  The journey isn't over but the adventure, the challenge, the new experiences certainly are.

I have decidedly mixed emotions about the whole thing.  On one hand I feel relief, triumph even elation would only be slightly too strong.  But then there's sadness at leaving this amazing continent; anxiety at returning to the familiar and having no definite plans; and the realisation that I may have to grow up again.  Then perhaps some disappointment?  That I didn't do more?  Go to more places?   Regret that I followed the LP too much? Didn't meet enough people?  Spent too much money?  Didn't rough it enough?  However in each country I've visted I have ample reason to return.  And to each country, despite the problems or hassles I may have had, I do want to return.  I think this says it all about my trip.

Tunis is great.  I'm going to love it here.  That's what I wrote in my diary and it was true even though less than 24hrs after arriving I'd be on a ferry to France.  It just so happened that there was one on the Sunday and I didn't fancy waiting till the following Friday for the next one.  I only had enough time to wander round the town, be refused entry to a cinema for not having enough friends, eat the best octopus I've ever eaten (so tender it was almost like chicken breast) as well as a superb chocolate mousse, and sample a bottle of Tunisia excellent red wine (very new world, strong, fruity and perfect for you Dad).  I'll certainly be back here in Tunisia at some point...there are plenty more Starwars sights to see!

By 2:30 on the 90th day of my travels I had left Tunis, Tunisia and Africa behind me.
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