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Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia

Still here...sleep and open windows do wonders. Thanks for your comments: they really make my day. I woke up to the smell of the hotel soap I used last night (fabulous), and stepped outside to the smell of Orange trees in full fruit (wow!). Jump into an ocean of perfume, swim to the bottom, and then swallow until you are ocean inside and out: that was the smell of Orange trees.

The bicycle arrived as promised: intact and, with minor adjustments, running beautifully: thank you, thank you, thank you to John and Larry at Pedal Power in Acton, Massachusetts, with kudos to the folks at Independent in Somerville as well: this bike rocks!

I did have a frantic 20 minutes (20 minutes!!! You think you know 20 minutes? Pay $2,000 to fly to a foreign country where you don't speak the language to find that you might have come for nothing: then you'll know 20 minutes!!!) looking for the pedals in my bike bags, thinking I'd left them at home, thinking honestly that it would be quite typical of me, thinking of the incomparable hassle I would face in finding the same clip species here as my Algerian visa slowly expires...but no, pedals found, trip intact.

Here's Adel: former boxer, husband, father of 2 girls, my cabdriver to the airport to pick up the bike. He charged me half of what I paid yesterday, shared some great political cynicism, gave me his phone number and told me to call. Instead, he's immortalized here.

Here's George Bush. I think he went to the same barber I did. He may be missing some teeth as well...maybe he hasn't been flossing.

Things I wish I'd packed:
1. Dental floss (can't find the damn stuff anywhere!)
2. French dictionary (I keep blubbering in Spanish)
3. Arabic dictionary (just kidding)

Considerations while grocery shopping:
1. What packs more densely: spaghetti or macaroni?
2. What cooks faster and uses less fuel: rice, spaghetti or vermiccelli?
3. What the hell do you add to rice/spaghetti/vermiccelli for flavor?
(answers at the end, and no peeking)

Met two motorcyclists back from the desert. Here's more or less what they were carrying:
(spare parts, gps, satellite phone, clean underwear).
Here's my stuff:
(tent, sleeping bag, pad, stove, gps, satellite phone, laptop, 2 cameras, tripod, solar collector, transformer, 2 spare tires, 2 inner tubes, bike tools, chess set (couldn't resist), maps, more maps, windbreaker, 4 wool hats (don't ask), bike helmet, 3 sets of clothes, long underwear, 2 eyeglasses, prescription goggles, (did I mention long underwear? Who knew it could be freezing in the Sahara? Really: anyone?), 4 tupperware containers, 4 ten liter water bladders, water filtration device, medical kit...I know I'm forgetting something...toothbrush...)

1. Space is tight: spaghetti.
2. Higher surface to mass ratio: vermiccelli. Rice is a close second...but still seems to take forever to cook...on the other hand, rice+beans=protein...I gave up and bought all three.
3. Raisins. Who knew?

permalink written by  roel krabbendam on December 21, 2006 from Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia
from the travel blog: Harmattan
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Wow, you're on the trail. And I've fallen so far behind already. Meet me in Sainte-Marie du Zit? I'm writing on Christmas Eve, so you may have already left zits in the past. Look out for pregnant virgins at this time of year.

Trice is so pleased to hear that you are a raisin fan. Leeks with raisins, brownies with raisins, Harvest Apple Pie with raisins, raisins plumped by passage from a baby's mouth to diaper.

Hope all is well. Looking forward to your next entry.

- David.

permalink written by  David Boothby on December 24, 2006

David: wonderful to hear from you, and I'm so glad to reconnect after so long. On this trip, as with so many in the past (since what...8th grade?), your adventurousness remains my predominate inspiration.
Cheers, Roel

permalink written by  roel krabbendam on December 28, 2006

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7 Trips
687 Photos

Here's a synopsis of my trips to date (click on the trip names to the right to get all the postings in order):

Harmattan: Planned as a bicycle trip through the Sahara Desert, from Tunis, Tunisia to Cotonou, Benin, things didn't work out quite as expected.

Himalayas: No trip at all, just...

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