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Trip Report! ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Part 3 - IMAGE INTENSIVE!

Discussion in 'Adventures By Disney' started by sayhello, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Day 4 - Tunis, Tunisia

    I'd managed to get a fairly decent night's sleep, because it was so gorgeous outside that I slept with the veranda door open. OMG, was that wonderful. The fresh air, the sounds of the ocean... Not something you can do that often, so I took full advantage of it. I also found it was still nice enough in the morning to eat breakfast & put on my face with the door open. Having that fresh air really helped.

    Day 4 was our day in Tunisia. I woke up to breakfast again, and, as I was getting ready, I heard music. I looked out, and saw that we were being greeted by a small parade of gladiators (who were later available for photographs for a fee...)

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    And there were also a few people playing instruments as some camels were led in. (Also available later for rides for a fee!)

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    We met again in Animator's Palate, then headed out to our motorcoach.

    I guess not everyone was adapting to the early mornings... I thought this was so cute!

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    We had a bit of a drive to our first stop, which wasn't on the original itinerary. We stopped at an old Fort (which I didn't get the name of).

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    It was a cool old Fort, and after a short talk by our Tunisian tour guide, Iasama (spelling is a guess) we were given some free time to wander the Fort, especially the tops of the walls, which had gorgeous views of the amazingly turquoise Med.

    This looks like pictures I've seen of Greece...

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    Look at that water! Gorgeous!

    My postcard picture:

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    We met up after our explorations, and then walked over to the small souk (market place) that was right next to the Fort. We were warned that the merchants could be aggressive, and that you needed to be really firm with them. I also found that some of them "inflated" the exchange rate for the Tunisian dinar. (Our guide told us what the actual exchange rate was).

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    I wanted to pick up something small for my neighbor who was watching my house, and for the friend who was picking me up when I got home. I really hate all the haggling, but I tried to get into the spirit of it. I managed to pick up a couple of "silver" bracelets for very little money that fit the bill (a pretty pattern for my friend and entwined dolphins for the neighbor who is really into dolphins). I also got one of a coiled serpent for myself. I was also looking for a cheap "hand of Fatima" to hang in my cubicle at work, but the cheap ones were really ugly. I found one that looked simple, but OK, but it was about 10 times what I wanted to pay. The guy was really trying to convince me to buy it, so I told him I was looking to spend $5 to $10. He got insulted thinking I thought his charm was worth that; I had a hard time explaining to him that what I was trying to say was that his charm was too fancy, and not what I was looking for; not that it was only worth $5. I had to just pick up & walk out of that shop. Not the funnest experience, but I kind of knew that going in... I've been to Tijuana once too often to enjoy that sort of thing!

    When we got back on the motorcoach, Robyn went around and showed off what everyone had bought. People got some really nice things, such as some traditional shoes, several scarves, dishes, etc.

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    We then headed out to the Berber village we were to visit. According to the itinerary, the town was Dar Hamad Jedidi. The extended family that lives there invites people in to see how they live. It was a cute place, in a GORGEOUS setting.

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    We did have a good time there, but I was a little disappointed in a couple of the activities. The itinerary said we were supposed to have an Arabic dance lesson. All the women were given scarves to tie around our hips that had tons of gold-colored coins on them, so they jingled nicely when you shook your hips. While it was fun running around trying to imitate the belly dancer as she shimmied around, there was really no lesson involved.

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    The guys got turbans wound on their heads...

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    We had no problem getting the guys to pose for this picture...

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    Another activity on the itinerary was "a lesson on how to make the renowned Berber Bread." I was really looking forward to this cooking lesson. Well, all that involved was a few people getting a chance to knead some bread dough, and us watching how it was baked by the woman slapping it onto the side of the stone oven. We did get to eat fresh Berber bread, right out of the oven (OMG, delicious!) but there was no baking lesson. I don't know what was up, but I found the description of this excursion more than a bit inaccurate. It was still enjoyable, just because the weather was SO gorgeous, and the place was beautiful, and the people so nice, and the food good. Not a bad time, but not what was "advertised".

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    Anyway, I don't want you to think I didn't enjoy myself. I just think the itinerary obviously still needs some tweaking!

    Eventually, we were led into a low building, where they had a few long tables set up for lunch. We started off with soup. As we were sitting there, a few of us gals were selected to go follow one of the women back out to the tent where we'd tasted the bread (and olives!) There we were wrapped in traditional saris made of one long piece of cloth, tied with a belt. At the last minute, they grabbed Robyn, and dressed her up, too! Then we were led to the kitchen, and bowls of food were placed on our heads to carry that way over to where everyone was waiting for lunch. I have to admit that this part was really fun! I always did love playing dress up! But those bowls of food were really heavy! I'm glad we didn't have to carry them *too* far!

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    Once we got inside & paraded around for a bit, we were relieved of our bowls, and then led in a very fun circle dance. I think everyone enjoyed this. It certainly sounded like they did!

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    Once again, the fact that I couldn't have tomato caused a bit of a furor as they tried to figure out what to feed me (everyone else was eating chicken cooked in a tomato sauce). They finally came up with some cooked spiced chicken, couscous and mixed veggies that I was able to eat, and which was quite delicious (although I had to pick the cabbage out of the veggies! I guess it was too much for them to remember.) But not a big deal! I totally did not go hungry, and the food was quite good.

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    We spent a little more time in the village, then boarded our motorcoach to head back to the ship. When we got back to the port, there was, of course, a small shopping area to explore on the way back to the ship. I didn't find anything. When I got up to the ship, I saw that one of the couples from the ABD, Gary & Shelly, were riding the camels.

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    Another person from the ABD, Linda, also took a ride. I decided, what the heck; it's not like I have the opportunity to ride a camel every day. So for 10 euro, I got a ride on a camel!

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    The crazy part was when the camel stood up & sat back down. It tilts rather severely forward & back! But it was very cool. I totally could not see riding that camel any distance, though! It was rather uncomfortable. I guess you'd have to get used to it!

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    They told me his name was Ali Baba....

    Here's an artsy picture I took up on deck outside of Topsiders, the buffet restaurant.

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    That night was our ABD private group dinner at Palo. The private room only holds 14 people, so we had to do dinner in 3 shifts. Early & late that day, and late the next day. I requested the one early dinner, as I heard it can take a really long time to eat at Palo's, and I was having enough problems going to bed after eating our normal dinners on the late seating (we'd frequently finish at 10pm!)

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    It was an extremely pleasant dinner, although the food was not as spectacular as it had been for the brunch. I had the fish special, which was bass, and did have the chocolate soufflé, which, I have to admit, was good for the first few bites, but not nearly as "to die for" as I'd been led to believe... But I was seated across from Robyn, and she shared the story of her career with Disney, which is quite extensive, and a very fascinating story! I enjoyed myself thoroughly.

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    Today's towel animal...

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    I'm not quite sure of the significance of the fact that I have a really hard time remembering what I did onboard the ship, especially in the evenings. I know that this night I was done with dinner earlier than usual, since we'd started Palo at 6:30pm, but I'm not really sure what I did afterwards. Most nights, we'd finish so late, that I'd head back to my room. Or try to get some more photos done. Such a party animal! But it's puzzling. I must think deeply about this! I kind of wish I'd brought the Navigators home with me!

    Anyways, tomorrow is Sorrento and Capri! On to Italy!

    To be Continued in Part 4.
     
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  3. Diskidatheart

    Diskidatheart DIS Veteran

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    I'm loving the TR. Can't wait to hear all about Italy. I remember the last time I took a cruise, we couldn't wait to get back to the room and see what the towel animal of the night was.
     
  4. HappyGrumpy

    HappyGrumpy DIS Veteran

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    Just read this on my lunch break at the fruit! Cant think of a better way to relax after a hectic fruit phone launch this AM! Your Pic are just awesome and I really appreciate you describing your excursions. I really take the descriptions of the excursions to mean what they say. But with all new things it will get tweaked!

    Good Times!
     
  5. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Thanks! :goodvibes I loved the towel animals, too. A few of them that were really solidly made got put on the back of the couch, and actually stayed there for several days. Love the towel animals!

    Sayhello
     
  6. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Boy, you have an early lunch break! Has the fruit phone launch gone well? It certainly looks like a cool upgrade. I'll be interested to hear how people react to it. Glad I could help you relax during your break!

    My 2 other ABD's, the descriptions were awfully darn close to what we actually did (excepting "special" treats the Guides took us on). So I guess I tend to expect that. But I guess this one is still a work in progress, especially for the new ports. Again, it didn't make the trips *bad*, just not what I was expecting, and maybe a little disappointing. But there were other days where the variations from the itinerary were actually better! (like in Villefranche). So it's all good.

    Sayhello
     
  7. tig82174

    tig82174 ...but the most wonderful thing about tiggers is I

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    another wonderful entry!

    Question about spending money/currency----I notice you mentioned that you spent Euros on the camel ride. Were you spending Euros in the shops, as well? Would you recommend just getting Euros before we go and that will be accepted in every port? We aren't huge souvenir shoppers...but we do like to buy a little magnet or something we can turn into a magnet in every port (see my post on Part 2 of your report)...and we will almost definitely want to ride the camels, as well! ;)
     
  8. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    I did a mix. I had to take taxis in Barcelona, so I got some euros from AAA before I left. I know some cabs will take credit cards, but I didn't want to take a chance. I also got some US dollar traveler's checks, because I knew the ship would cash & convert them in a pinch. I ended up using those for the Guide's tips (knowing that the guides could convert them on the ship, also).

    Some small stores took my credit card (like the Vatican museum, which is the only "big" purchase I made) and the museum where the David is. Most places, I just used the euros. Even in Tunisia, who has their own currency (the dinar) the shops took euros and dollars. You definitely needed cash for the camels; not sure if they'd have taken dollars or not.

    Not having to worry about buying meals on the excursions helped; no money needed for anything but souvenirs & camel rides!

    Sayhello
     
  9. beansf

    beansf Mouseketeer

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    I can understand why you felt that the realities didn't quite hold up to the descriptions. I would likely feel the same way, because before I went I would be poring over the materials and fantasizing about how it would be. I hope that they adjust that a bit.

    Sounds like we had similar feelings about Palo. We liked dinner, but we loved brunch. My hubby thought the Palo souffle paled in comparison to the simple lava cake I make at home (which is good, because the souffle looks like a lot more work!).

    Oh! Also, I know just what you mean...when the camel stands up - YIKES! We rode one in Australia. It was certainly fun, but yes after a few minutes...a bit uncomfortable. It was worth it as one of those "Once in a Lifetime" experiences.
     
  10. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Yes, it does sound like our experiences/opinions about Palo are similar. I do have to say, High Tea was very nice, also. But that was such a less fussy meal, and I had no expectations as to what it was going to be.

    Sayhello
     
  11. Icemann

    Icemann Dis Vet

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    Very cool you do such a good TR now when do we get part 4 ;)
     
  12. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Thanks, and SOON! :goodvibes

    Sayhello
     
  13. airbear

    airbear Earning My Ears

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    Beautiful pics! Can't wait to see more.
     
  14. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Thanks! :) There's definitely more to be seen! I should have Part 4 up soon!

    Sayhello
     
  15. EyeDisneyCruise

    EyeDisneyCruise Mouseketeer

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    We leave for our adventure in 2 months... In the meantime we enjoying your reports! Thanks for all the hard work! We look forward to part 4!!
     
  16. CruisinEars

    CruisinEars Engaged at WDW 8/23/95!

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    Very enjoyable trip report. Love all the pics. I, too, use a Panasonic Lumix (the Z28 model with 18x zoom) and love the pics it takes. Looking forward to part 4 and more!:thumbsup2
     
  17. steelydad

    steelydad Earning My Ears

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    Were there any costumed historical figures and what were the pins like? Didn't see anyone wearing lanyards.
     
  18. kristilew

    kristilew DIS Veteran

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    SayHello, loving the report. Totally shallow observation here: you look fantastic in all the photos!

    Of course, I assume you just go through life looking fantastic:thumbsup2, but I do have to ask: do you credit some of that to sleeping in the same bed every night on the cruise as compared to the moving every few days on a traditional ABD? Or was the ship's shower water especially "hair friendly?" Have you discovered some travel beauty secret that you'd care to share?

    I ask b/c by day 3 in our trip photos, I am always looking a little worse for the wear. Relaxed, but not glowing with good sleep and good health, if you follow me.
     
  19. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Glad you're enjoying the report! :goodvibes At this rate, with as long as this trip was, I should be posting the last bit just before you leave! (Just kidding, I HOPE!)

    Sayhello
     
  20. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Thanks! I love it when people enjoy my reports and my pictures! Aren't the Lumix cameras great? This is the second one I've owned, and I love, love, LOVE it!

    Sayhello
     
  21. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    The only costumed historical figure was Napoleon on Corsica. It was kinda of fun, but a bit spoiled when he answered his cell phone in the middle of our photo op! :confused3 We did get pins; pretty much the same as all the other ABD pins. I'll post a picture towards the end. Unfortunately, they didn't give us lanyards (the Guides thought maybe it was because they thought a lot of folks would have Castaway Club lanyards?) They gave us a pouch to put the pins on (designed to go on your belt). As I don't ever wear a belt, it was pretty useless to me except as a place to stick the pins. I was tempted to buy a lanyard, but never did find one I liked. I hope that the pouches is NOT the new thing for all ABD's, because I really enjoy wearing the lanyard with all my pins attached.

    Sayhello
     

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