Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
583Trip End Ongoing
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As we were approaching the town, the driver asked us if we wanted to get out at the Gare or Centre Ville, all said in French, but the way I looked at it, I told him that he should drop us off at our hotel, considering the price we paid. Now, he could not understand English, and my French is very limited, so he kicked us out at one of the gates. We turned around, and there was the hotel that we wanted. Once checked in, we went back in through the walls, to walk around the Medina. It was also pissing with rain, which was a godsend. This kept the locals away as we traipsed around, plus they were attacking all the other tourists who were trying to get onto a coach as we were right near the tourist coach bus station gate thing. The town seemed quite good, and as we were getting quite wet, we grabbed some dinner, went back to the hotel, and died. It had been a heavy last couple of days taking all the ruins in, so it was good to have a break. Next day, we went straight to the Great Mosque. Now to find the Great Mosque, the Lonely Planet states that you need to go through the horseshoe gate. Well fuck me, all the gateways were horseshoe shaped !!!!! So we picked one, and made it in. Now, as far as mosques go, and what you can see, it was pretty cool. So, once the coach loads of tourists had departed, we walked around. It was kind of nice, but the rains were moving in, so we walked out, and proceeded to see the inner walled town, and its surrounding areas. We did see more mosques and some were quite amazing with the Islamic mosaics that adorned the walls, but I will never forget the site of the local butchers. How did I know it was the local butchers ? Well, it did have both a cow and goat head hanging up outside !!!
Leaving town via the louage station, we headed for Sousse. Once there, and out of the louage, we were besieged by taxi drivers wanting to take us to a hotel. A quick look over our right shoulder, and we could see the walls of the town. So we headed over to them, went through the gate and into the souq to find a hotel. Now we did this quite quickly, but there was no one there to show us a room. We did look at some, so we waited and was kept amused by the guys who worked on the stands of the souq. There were so many tourists here, and obviously, had not studied Monty Pythons Life of Brian in the art of haggling. These guys would say a price, and the stupid tourists would pay this for them !!!!! So, after about 40 minutes of waiting, we decided to find a different hotel. In fact, we found a better hotel, right next to the main mosque and across from the ribat, which is a kind of fort/monastery. Once a room was found, we hit the ribat. It was pretty cool, with the highlight being, once you climb the tower, you do get a good view of the city and a superb view of the mosque. We jumped down, walked around the town walls and ended up at the Sousse museum. We entered, and saw the most impressive set of mosaics that we had seen. These had basically been dug up from the various archaeological sites. Also, it included part of the wall, so we climbed this and had another view, but different, of the city. We followed the wall some more, and after a complete circle, we then went into the new part as we wanted to find a supermarket so we could buy some glasses and a bottle of Tunisian wine. After dinner, we cracked the bottle, and turned on the iRivers. As we were off to Monastir the next day, we needed to study Monty Pythons Life of Brian, as it had been partially filmed there, so we drunk, watched, laughed, then died
The local metro to Monastir was pretty crappy. I suppose the worst part of the journey for us was that it went part all of these resorts for the average person. Lucy and I being of the back pack persuasion, found it quite out of our league !!! Once off of the train, we went through the gates and headed for the ribat. Home of a lot of scenes from Monty Pythons Life of Brian. Mainly the town and the wall scenes. Also, they built some extra parts for the Biggus Dickus speech scene. It was a great place. Loads of different alleyways and rooms and stairs. You couldn't get lost, but we managed to lose each other in the complex !!! We climbed the tower in the ribat for a look over the surrounding area. Just below us was a beach. Now, it was warm, but not warm enough to sun bathe, but there were some tourists out there with the obligatory Tunisian gawking over the handrails !!! Eventually, we tired of running around, playing our favourite scenes, so we left and went to Habib Bourguiba's mausoleum. Now, I know the majority of you wouldn't have the foggiest who Habib Bourguiba is, but all through this country, the main roads are named after him. He led the country to independence from the French, and at the age of 87, he was finally removed from office !!! There were flags everywhere as it had been 5 years since he had died, but the place was dead quiet. We made our way to the gates, but getting there was along a path, which could fit 2.5 people wide along it, or 3 French kids. Now these kids were coming towards us, and they wouldn't move, but they did, because being an immovable lard ass like myself, they had no chance. It kind of upset them, but all I could think was fucking arrogant French. Inside, was quite amazing. Kind of like a mosque, but his whole family were buried in there as well, plus room for future generations. It was very serene, but you can only look at the dead for so long !!!!! We finished up, went back to Sousse, more wine, another showing of the Life of Brian, but it was to be an early night. Because tomorrow, we are going to El Djem. Home of the coloseum scenes from the Life of Brian
I can't wait