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Published: February 19th 2018
Monday February 19 - I so did not get a good sleep last night. I felt like I was up most of the night. It was so cold and I could not get warm. Finally at 4:00 I put on my fleece jacket and that helped, but man, so cold. I popped some earplugs in at 5am, as I knew the others would be getting up and leaving by 7:00, and I did not wake up until 7:45, which was good. Then again, it got me a late start on the day.
At 9:00 I left to find the metro. Well, it is above ground so it is really a tram. I asked a few times and people kept pointing me in the right direction. It was odd having no map. It took about 10 minutes to walk to the tram, then I had to figure out where to pay. Everything is very cheap, and I tried to pay with a 5 dinar note my friend gave me, along with her Tunisia travel guide from 1997. Turns out that note is not good anymore. They have changed or updated all of their currency, so instead, I paid with a 10
dinar note. That got me oodles of change - 8 or more back in return, and this ticket would go through to my final destination, Carthage.
I asked person after person and figured out which tram to board. A couple of girls took pity on me and made sure I knew where to get off the #4 tram, and that I had to change to the #6 before getting on the light rail. The trams were packed and I had to wait for 3 of them before I could fit on one. The light rail was pretty easy, but altogether it took me about two hours to get where I was going. That was quite a surprise, as I think it’s like a 20-minute drive. The book helped a lot, and I was able to find the museum without too much trouble.
Carthage is an old Roman city, and there are a lot of different archaeological sites to see, all encompassed by one ticket for 10 dinars (4 euros). I started with the ruins outside of the museum and then the museum itself. There was a tour group of Americans in there, which I did not expect. They
were from Arizona.
From the museum, I walked to the old amphitheater, about 10 minutes away. Then I decided to visit the old port, which I think I saw (but I'm not positive). I also saw another site nearby called Sanctuary of Tophet that had a few more ruins. At that point, there were still more sites to see, but I also wanted to get to Sidi Bou Said, a small town perched on a hill above the water, so I decided to head back to the light rail to get there. On the way, I stopped and had my first food of the day - a pain de chocolate (chocolate bread) at the grocery store at 2:30pm.
The day had started cold, and by the time I went to the museum I had my rain jacket on over my fleece to try to stay warmer. I did not pack well for this trip. I could only have carry-on luggage on Swiss, and they limit that to about 16 pounds, so I do not have a lot of stuff. I wore my hiking boots, which is both good for cold and rain and yet awkward as the only
pair of shoes I have. But later in the day it was sunny and at several points, I was too warm and had to take off both jackets, but that did not usually last too long. I was more often cold than warm.
After the quick food fix, I got another light rail to my final stop, Sidi Bou Said. It’s a beautiful little town, all in white with blue windows and doors, almost all the same shade of blue. And the sun had come out, so it was exactly as I’d wanted to see it. Lovely. I wandered around the streets for an hour before heading back to the train. I considered stopping to see a few more ruins, but I also wanted to get back before dark to find my way back.
Waiting on the platform for the train, I walked by two guys speaking English. One of them I’d seen earlier in the town, and he asked me if I was Canadian. I clearly stood out, wearing short sleeves at times. His name was Felix and he was Canadian. The other guy was Daniel, from Croatia, and also a teacher out for the week. Felix
said he was renting a car tomorrow and asked if we’d like to join him. Daniel had a different plan, but I was intrigued. It was proving to be very time consuming to get around, and I wanted to go several places that would take ages on public transport. Felix was getting off the train sooner, as he was heading to Carthage before heading back to town, so he gave me his email address. He had shown me his full itinerary earlier, but I wanted to check it out again. I rode the train back with Daniel and then he headed into the medina (old town) and I got the first of two trams back. By this point, I realized my head hurt and that I was still hungry. Most likely related symptoms. I looked for some easy food but nothing stood out until I was almost back. Almost in front of the house I’m staying in there was a little shop with two ladies, one frying up a dough of some sort and another making little sandwiches of it. I got one and ate it immediately. It was small and I am still hungry almost three hours later.
Once home, I decided to take a quick shower. There is a tub with a handheld shower. I turned it on to get it warm, then flipped the switch to the handheld, rather than the tub, was spraying. Turns out it sprayed up into my face, rather than down! So I had to just squat in the tub, splashing moderately warm water on myself. It was cold in there, so I brought my hiking boots in for before and after. Decidedly uncomfortable.
Khaoula had a long day, got home late, and said she wasn’t cooking but would have some food for me later. Later just happened and it was the same sandwich from the ladies outside! This time I had two. I ate with the two kids and then we ended up watching cartoons and playing. So unexpected.
Hoping for better sleep this night. Will have extra blankets!
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