Friday was market day in Nabeul, the largest market in North Africa and I had signed Mini-me and I up for it, which was all well and good until I went to pay the deposit and was told pick up time was 6.40 am!!!! So much for being on holiday and long lies. To say Mini-me wasn’t happy is an understatement. She was even worse on the morning of the trip, missing breakfast and nearly missing the bus too. Saying that, I dont think she would have been too unhappy at having to go back to bed. To add to her misery the bus journey ended up being a 2 hour long one. Oopsy. Thank goodness for Ipods.
Our first stop was at a pottery. The tour guide said there were toilets we could use and when I saw 3 other buses parked outside I thought the tourists must be well catered for. Inside, amongst many clay pots, dishes and coloured tiles there was a substantial queue for the 2 toilets. The most surprising thing about this queue was that there were men in it! The only other time I have seen men queuing for the loo is at music festivals. That’s where as soon as you notice there are no men waiting to use the urinals but you are standing behind 3 waiting patiently for the portaloo you need to switch queues pronto.
Anyway, there was a woman in front of me and we’d waiting for a good 10 minutes. When her turn came she took one look at it and decided she no longer needed. It didn’t bode well but I battled on regardless. To be fair it was bad but it wasn’t that gross I couldn’t use it. After all, I have definitely been in worse at T in the Park 😉
On to the market and we started taking in the sights and smells (not all good). The stalls were highly coloured and inviting so you really wanted to take your time and look more closely but the high pressure salesmen just put you off. If you slowed down you were captured. “Just 1 dinar – I show you. Come see. Just look. You Ingleesh? Scotch? I luf scotch whiskeee. Come see I give you Asda price.” Actually, not all were inviting – the shop with the cows head outside didn’t look welcoming at all.
Up and down we went through the warren of different products. Spices, leather goods, dishes, spices, leather goods, dishes, spices…you get the idea. We joined in and did some haggling. I still don’t know if we got a bargain for the red leather Alibaba slippers (a pressie for OH) but we paid less than half of the original asking price so we didn’t do too badly.
Back on the bus and our next stop was to be a wine tasting. I say wine tasting but it was just really a rabble making a mess and not appreciating anything. Well come on, you know I like my wine. My fellow tourists had ate all the nibbles before the wine bottles were even open and the majority thought the sweet rose wine was the nicest. Eh?
What was good though was I was shown how to eat harissa. I’ve only ever used it to cook with before and didn’t think of using it as a spread on a chunk of bread and then drizzling some olive oil over it. Now that was far nicer than the sweet rose wine, which made my mouth look like a cat’s ass! As I was disgusted to see how much red wine was left behind on the table I made sure I had another couple of glasses before I left ;).
Back on the bus and we headed to the Citron Golf Club for an outdoor late lunch on the lawn, which was lovely as it was all white tablecloths and silverware. Unfortunately, it felt a bit like we had gate-crashed a wedding but I didn’t let the distasteful looks from the old men in their Pringle polo shirts put me off my food too much.
Full of chicken, pasta and salad it wasn’t long before we were heading back to our hotel. The bus journey really let us see the other side of Tunisia where there isn’t all inclusive food and drink but instead building sites, half finished hotels and apartments, acres of olive trees with rubbish strewn alongside, dusty streets with men sitting outside cafes looking just as dusty. It was a stark comparison to the golf club. However, one shop sign did make me smile as the owners translation into English said exactly what he sells “PIECES FOR VEHICLES”.