Monastir is another resort town. I took a photograph of the castle used in Monty Pythons life of Brian and left and hour later for Gabes.
Gabes is a small city, which operates as a transport hub for anyone travelling around the south of Tunisia. I swapped to a new louge taxi for the island of Jerba. One other guy from the first taxi made the change to Jerba with me. Samba is from Senegal and I swear I have never met a darker person in my entire life and I’d be pretty prepared to bet none of you have either. He speaks hardly any English but we share a quick joke about Senegal knocking Moroccan out of the World Cup and we’re mates.
Sambas gig is a good one. He sells those tacky tourist necklaces. But he doesn’t run around selling them to the tourists one at a time. He finds hard up Tunisians who want to make an extra buck, sells them 100 or so and lets them do the hard yards.
To get to Jerba we need to catch a ferry at Jorf. The queue for the ferry is well over 150 vehicles long when we join it so we have a little time to kill. The local kids are on to this and rush up to sell us pizzas for 1 Dinah. I’m famished and was just wondering if this is negotiable when I notice a well dressed 20 something Tunisian is already down to 700 so in French.
I ask his kid how much for two in a mixture of French and pointese. The wealthy Tunisian took one look and me and said 1100 in English. This is well over what he has already negotiated for himself and I realised that he was trying to make me subsidise a substantial proportion on his meal. Then he asked me, in English, if I speak English. To which I replied “and a little French” to let him know I was up to speed with the current status of negotiations. These must have been magic words because all of a sudden we are all paying 700 each.
Whilst waiting for the ferry Samba lined up a local to sell some of his necklaces. I tried to look interested in the necklaces to help him out with the negotiations and he gave me one for free. I’m secretly stoked even though it’s tacky as hell. On the ferry I racked my mind for a suitable gift to repay Samba. In the end I decided to take his photo and post it to him as I doubt he has a camera of his own. This is something I have already arranged to do a few of times on tour. Sometimes in return for being allowed taking a photo. Sometimes as a favour. Lining up the photo I realise that samba is so dark he just looks like a silhouette in the viewfinder. Now I don’t have much experience with photographing very dark skinned people but I decided that the sun might help. A quick look around for the sun and its already shining on his face so this is the best I can hope for. Anyway I figure that if this shot doesn’t come out then his whole family photo album will look like a silhouette fest so he’s probably used to it.
Arriving in Jerba the Auberge de Junes is full. Samba arranges somewhere else and even manages to get us a discount.