Tunis, Tunisia

Did a real solid, but a bit sticky, poo this morning so all is good guts wise. I’ll keep you informed if the situation changes.

At breakfast I thank Dave for the alarm clock but don’t have the heart to tell him about the noises or the batsignal – he doesn’t need to know. Instead I make him promise to tell the kids he teaches where New Zealand is.

Interestingly Mohammed V International Airport outside Casablanca doesn’t accept Moroccan Dinahs once you go through customs.

Am looking forward Tunisia as the language thing might improve language wise. In Morocco if you don’t speak French, Spanish or Arabic then you’re pretty much out of luck. In Tunisia it’s only French and Arabic in front of English. In reality I’m no better off than before because no bastard speaks a word of English beyond the usual sales pitches but I’m definitely climbing the ladder and it feels like progress is being made.

At the Tunis airport the customs guy looks carefully at my passport and reads out “New Zealand” slowly. I’m waiting to see where this is going and then he says “Holland?” to which I nod carefully because I know European nationals don’t need to pay for visas in Tunisia. Five seconds later I’m stamped and ushered through free of charge. Sorted. Although it should make getting out of the country a laugh when they realise I don’t have a visa. Mental note: go to airport early to allow for additional hassle and possible incarceration.

After customs I withdraw 200 quid from the ATM at the airport because it’s cheaper to withdraw in large blocks. I swiftly avoid the Tunisia representative from the “hello my friend” brigade who offers me a taxi to my hotel for 15 quid and bus/walk there instead for 25p.

It’s full wouldn’t you know it but they offer to book me a place in a shared room just around the corner so all is good. The new place seems okay and I am glad to take my pack off. The alarm bells start to go off just after I have paid and handed over my passport. The guy standing next to me at reception who I think works there is shuffling his feet and I realise that he is trying to get away with a 10 Tunisian Dinah note that I have dropped. I tap him on the shoulder and give him my coldest stare. The next thing you know he’s doing a very credible shuffle act with a piece of rubbish as if foot shuffling rubbish is his day job.

Next I meet my roommates who are not too happy to have to share their spare fourth bed with me. Heated words and angry looks are exchanged between them and the hotel guy. This ends with them storming off and the hotel guy smiling nervously at me saying everything is fine. Everything is not fine. I can tell.

Then I get told that I can’t leave my packs in my room, everything has to stay at reception. Why? Can’t my roommates be trusted? What happens when they find out that I am carrying 200 quid cash? What about my 1000 quid digital camera? I’ve got that sinking feeling again and upon leaving my I notice my roommates now have a greasy smiley look to them. I’m fucked.

I leave the hotel for the day and try to put things in perspective. Lonely Planet doesn’t help when I notice that it describes hotels like mine that cater to visiting Algerian labourers with the following quote “unless you are down on your last few dines, avoid these places like he plague” walking around Tunis I am determined to stay out as long as possible in the hope that the roomies will be asleep when I get in. I manage till about midnight but they are still out. Presumably mugging and killing other tourists.