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Published: December 25th 2009
Merry Christmas from sunny Sousse! Well, not so sunny Sousse here on Christmas day!! It’s hard to believe we’ve only been here a month as we seem to have done so much in that short time. After blogs about our various excursions, it’s time to tell you a little about our day-to-day lives here in Tunisia.
We live just a few minutes away from the teaching centre in Hammam Sousse (half way between Sousse and Port El Kantaoui) and, as we only work from late afternoon into the evening during the week, that gives us plenty of time to experience local life. One of our favourite things to do is to visit the farmers’ market in the middle of Hammam Sousse on a Friday morning. That’s where we go to buy all of our fruit, vegetables, pulses and spices. You can also find clothes and kitchen equipment if you are prepared to sort through the biggest jumble sale you will ever see!
This area is a popular winter sun destination for European tourists. On sunny days we often wander along the beach getting our feet wet occasionally. The water isn’t warm enough to venture in beyond our ankles but
that doesn’t seem to stop the tourists!! Some days we walk along the sand to Port El Kantaoui where expensive yachts sit alongside tacky touristy souvenirs. We’ve made some friends there and they have introduced us to an intriguing cafe bedecked in aviation memorabilia. Next time we go, we’ll take the camera!
The other way along the beach takes us into the city of Sousse. The ancient medina is worth a wander through its labyrinthine streets and alleyways. The central ribat
is nice enough but if you are going to Monastir, it’s probably best just to visit the one there. Nearby is the marvellous Dar Essis
museum located in an old medina house showing you how wealthy families used to live. There are many curiosities in there, especially the love lamp
!! Climbing the tower inside the house you get a good view of the city’s rooftops, gleaming white with blue trimming, but it does look a bit like a sprawling mess. Outside the street traders try to sell you a variety of cakes and breads, and you can even see the occasional fresh milk vendor going from door to door. We have to settle for sterilised UHT milk from
As for work, well we have been very impressed by the calibre of our students and their willingness to work hard. We’ve also quickly made good friends with our fellow teachers. Arriving at the end of November meant we were treated to a Thanksgiving Dinner for Tunisian kids to experience some turkey and cranberry sauce. The mashed potato didn’t go down too well though. I guess it’s not something they eat here!! We also caught the Amideast Christmas party in Tunis. All of the staff and teachers from Sousse were taken by bus to a lovely restaurant on the North side of Tunis where we partied with everyone from the Tunis teaching centre. We had a great time and the wine flowed freely for those (like us!) who were so inclined.
Russ’ Mum always comments about how our lives seem to revolve around food in these blogs! This paragraph is for her!! We have really enjoyed our first taste of Tunisia’s take on North African cuisine. The couscous is always delightful whether served with vegetables, chicken, lamb, spicy sausages or even fish. There are several different vegetable dishes we like, with aubergines and chickpeas in common
use. An alarming amount of Italian restaurants dominate the city when it comes to eating out. On the plane coming out the guy sat next to Russ said that he only ate pizza when he was in Tunisia and now we understand why - you really have to search for alternatives at times!
And then there’s leblebi - a Tunisian speciality. First you get a big bowl and a huge chunk of bread. Break the bread into pieces in the bowl then ladle in some chickpeas and soup. To this add some spicy harissa, a sauce made from red chilli peppers, crack a raw egg on the top of it, then stir it all together to cook the egg. Sounds disgusting doesn’t it?!! Well, Russ loved it but for Trish it was probably a once in a lifetime experience!!!!
So that was our first month in Tunisia. What on Earth are we going to do with the next few months?!!
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