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...) And there were also a few people playing instruments as some camels were led in. (Also available later for rides for a fee!) 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! 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). 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... Look at that water! Gorgeous! My postcard picture: 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). 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. 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. 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. The guys got turbans wound on their heads... We had no problem getting the guys to pose for this picture... 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". 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! 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! 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. 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. 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! 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! They told me his name was Ali Baba.... Here's an artsy picture I took up on deck outside of Topsiders, the buffet restaurant. 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!) 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. Today's towel animal... 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.