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Vicissitudes of Tunis

Just got back from lunch at Foued’s and am savoring both the lingering tastes of a Tunisian home cooked meal and the memories of a lovely weekend past.  I’ll start at the beginning. Thursday I officially finished with my applications and celebrated light by going out for a coffee. On Friday I went out for a dinner nearby at a restaurant that tried to be the spitting image of France. Though the possibility of that is slim- Tunisian cheese is far too bland :p- but the live music and overall ambiance was authentic and a nice change of pace. I highly recommend my Tunisian based readers to check out Angelina Restaurant.

Saturday, I got up before the mullah- 5:00 am- and was hit by a harsh flashback of highschool swim team. I could literally smell chlorine it was that visceral. I put that aside and decided to profit  on the day by writing a few postcards for the holidays, doing an extra long yoga routine, then making myself a nice breakfast that included a makeshift oatmeal I found at Carrefour. I’m quite happy with this discovery, oatmeal here is $10.00! Once well fed and well erranded, I headed off to work.

Yes, I work Saturday mornings.  We are in the middle of putting together a big presentation so it was definitely a rare moment of continuous work. It’s a little bit frustrating because everyone here is ADD and a task of 30 minutes often takes 2 hours. My boss and I will be discussing something then literally, mid sentence, he will cut himself short, pick up the phone and make a call for something unrelated.  I’ve just gotten used to bringing my laptop with me whenever I go to his office so that when it happens, because it undoubtedly will, I can surf twitter and indulge in news briefs catering to the ADD. Ironic eh?

Anyhow, I got permission to leave work early to spend time with my friends. I took the metro to Centreville and met up with the girls to go to the Soukh. It’s an Aladdin-esque looking bazaar that spans many winding streets lined with glittering trinkets and knock off shoes. It’s sheer maddness over the weekends, an embouteillage des gens, where traffic lights for people would probably solve nothing.

We all did some great holiday shopping, and with Fati by my side, I turned out to be a pretty good barterer. A few hours in, it was time to replenish so we went to SucreSale. I ordered a slice of pizza, partly because I am thoroughly amused at how they serve pizza here: thin crust, usually caked in tuna, which is then folded over, reheated, and served up hot! Pizza sandwich in a jiffers! Haha! I waited 25 minutes for this acclaimed pizza sandwich though. Why? Another amusing story. I waited for 25 minutes because there was one person making the bread, making the pizza, making the crepes, serving the pizza, serving the crepes and then passing the bread to the sandwich station where three people were standing… and one was working. With all happening at a Tunisian pace, it was too painful for me to watch such a hodgepodge while hungry so I contented myself with the Arabic music videos playing on the plasmas all around. Still, I think I’m going to put a note in the suggestion box that says “Ford style assembly lines + cocaine in need of importation.”

After eating, the Soukh alleys were too clogged to make further headways so we wrapped up our outing and headed home. DJ F-black wanted me to see him mix and work some of the lights, so I went back to La Soukra to get dressed while everyone else went out for a sheesha.

DJ F-black is a ginormously tall ex-basketball player, originally from the dessert, and has a fabulous laugh that makes me feel at home. I adore him and the way he explains things. He always peppers conversation with “tatta tee, tatta taat” (this or that) “cahao”( that’s that) or “boulot boulot’ (work work) and has appropriate hand/head gestures to signal likewise. He came to me chercher around 7:30 so that we could go to a restaurant on the beach for…pizza! Haha, to think I was a person who once upon a time wouldn’t touch pizza with a ten foot pole.

Actually, this restaurant is incredible, both in decor and quality. If I could, I’d eat pizza from there everyday. The pizza is oven baked, paper thin crust and covered with shrimp and calamari. Delicious! After a great dinner we headed over to Gammarth for the reception party where F was going to mix.

The reception took place at Hotel Residence which is a 5 star hotel with chocolate mousse to match. A little background, F-black is one of the hottest DJ’s in Tunisia, hott as in he’s high in demand ( and easy on the eyes too). He charges a lot and only works for the upper echelon so this Saturday was the first time I mingled with the high of the high in Tunisia. I could totally see colonial residue dripping off of these people.

The reception party started off with live  Arabic music that transported me far away. The beating drum, the eerie violin and the young woman’s husky, powerful voice proved to be utter hypnosis.  I could feel my every cell swaying with her calls. The invitees were dressed in long evening gowns with low backs and steep heels, tuxes and bow ties,   primmed up do’s and glowing skin. By far the most gorgeous individuals I have seen here despite their noses always being pointed sky-high.  A few drinks in fortunately, they dropped the snooty semblance and got busy on the dance floor.  I’m in awe at how these people move from the worlds of the west to the east, just like that.

Around 12 am, the lights go off and F-black starts up with deep techno. Anis, another fave techie, made sure the serveurs kept my glass continually full of champagne. By drink number 5, I was predictably no longer mingling, but rather, up on the ledge behind F-black with my drink, my slims and myself, dancing away and having an amazing time. Music is definitely my baby.

I got home at 5 am and crashed for 4 hours, before I had to wake up  and give my landlord’s wife a yoga lesson. Never again. Never everrrrrrrr again. Teaching yoga drunk is impossible.

I cut the class short and lay in bed with fennel tea I made from fresh picked fennel my landlord gave me. Something unimaginable then happens. As I’m dozing, I suddenly hear banging on my door. Long story short, there’s a little boy with a packet in his hands that has…my camera! My camera! Quelle surprise! Quelle joie! Quelle absurdite! Unfortunately, the memory card was taken so my life has a void from the summer on. But I have my awesome camera back in my possession so it’s worth repeating: Quelle surprise! Quelle joie! Quelle absurdite!

Too full of happiness hormones to keep resting, I decide to get out of bed and go with Samy for a barbeque he was holding at his place. Samy is the ex-model, ex-football player who manages an events company we work with a lot. I was supposed to give him a yoga lesson this morning as well but said I couldn’t because of work….he caught me shortly after this mensonage stumbling into the epicerie buying a mountain of carbs to soak up stubborn alcohol. Caught guilty in the most embarrassing of ways. I looked like death.

Definitely wanting to rectify this social faux paux, I got dressed and he picked me up for the barbeque. It was great plus I love his apartment and the company he keeps. Samy’s brother barbequed blue fish ( i always sing “red fish, blue fish, one fish, two fish” whenever i get served this and no one knows what Im talking about because their childhoods were without Dr Seuss. Noooo! ). We lounged in the sun around drinking wine, munching cheese filled olives and picking out the bones from the fish. I like boney fish, it reminds me to eat slowly, lol.

I then left the bbq to meet the girls in Sidi Bou Said. Unfortunately, I was late by 2 hours so the second I get there, we all crammed into Omar’s car and went for a ride of pure laughter. My group of friends here are so great,  I just can’t believe it is all coming to an end soon. Fati is leaving in December, Me and Anna in February, Denise and Omar in April. That truly is one of the worst parts about Aiesec, it facilitates close friendships that are destined for an unprepared farewell.

We decided to cancel our plans for the Electronica Fest at the Acropolium because we were feeling old and moche. Instead, we went to Carrefour to scout out Christmas decorations for our upcoming themed cocktail party. I can’t wait! Christmas makes me abnormally happy. I’m one of those sorry Hall Mark brainwashees who gets ready for Christmas in November. I can’t help it!

After figuring out what is best for what,  Omar drops me off at mine. I get into my pyjamas and start to read this pretentious piece of French literature for about 2 minutes before a heavy heavy sleep sets in and gets me a ready for a final week with my friends. It’s so depressing. Come Decemeber 20th, Ill head off to London for Christmas vacation— and come back to find us one short 😦

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  1. lynn
    December 15, 2009 at 3:34 am

    damn, every time i read your blogs i feel like you connect so much better with the locals than i ever did

  2. December 15, 2009 at 10:45 am

    I’m going to go on a limb and say it’s because I moved out of the AIESEC house and am now surrounded by locals :p

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