Start a new Travel Blog! Blogabond Home Maps People Photos My Stuff


Gabes, Tunisia

I was determined to keep my back-tracking to a single day, and set out for the 126 km ride north at 7am from Tataouine. The 53 kilometers back to Medenine were done by 11am, and I took an hour in a cafe to drink water, OJ and coffee. What I didn't notice sitting there was that a ferocious headwind had developed that would punish me for the rest of the day. It stopped me in my tracks more than once, as the hilly terrain, the oncoming traffic and my own increasing exhaustion took an additional toll.
By 130pm I was in Koutine 1, where the guy standing over the yellow crates sold me the cheapest bottle of water I had found to date, but also kicked in a free pack of gum. 330pm and I was in Arram, where I had been treated to lunch by the Karboub clan: 35 km to go. It starts to rain. All day I've been staring at this band of clouds, and now I'm in them. By 5pm I was in Kettana, and couldn't move anymore. I had a half hour of daylight left and 20 km to go, but I stopped at a stand selling pomegranates and met Selmi Lamine.
Selmi Lamine sold me a pomegranate for (I suspect) the tourist price of .6 Dinar, but he then showed me how to eat the darned thing and then treated me to a coffee as well. As we sat in the cafe, he told me about going back to school to study tourism, that he had almost finished the 2 1/2 year curriculum, and that he would soon start his 2 month internship at a hotel on the island of Jerba. He speaks English and French and is studying German (very hard, those long German words!), but his job prospects are dismal. Tunisia won't let him travel unless he can find a job contract in another country or unless he marries a foreigner. A story I have heard too often now, and one that makes me fear for this wonderful country. Isn't this the fuel feeding fundamentalism? How long before this generation of underemployed students begins to express their dissatisfaction, turning to extremism or violence or hopelessness and self-loathing? I fear for them.

6pm I turn on my lights and head out into the dark. The wind sucks the breathe out of me, but I'm determined to make it to Gabes. Every time I see on-coming traffic I scoot off the road, but I feel secure that with my blinking lights that I am very visible. It takes me 2 more hours to get to Gabes.

8pm When I arrive at the hotel I am unable to write my name on the register, and the manager immediately calls for some Orange juice. I am in incredible pain, my neck and back having seized up completely some hours earlier. I get into my room, fill the tub with scalding water, fumble out of my clothes, and here, parents, you may want your kids to skip a paragraph:

Many of you may know that the male privates diminish and contract considerably when the organism experiences stress. What I had never seen before however, was their complete and utter disappearance. I looked down as I was about to slide into that achingly hot bath and found...nothing. Nothing! I paw around, and it is all unfamiliar terrain! I admit to a moment of concern. I get into the tub, however,and that's all it takes. The little fellow takes a peek, gets a little tangled in the hair down there, and then pops out as if there was never cause for concern.

OK children, pick it up here: I lie there for an hour, can't lift myself out of the tub, and lie there for another half. When I finally stumble off to the restaurant, dinner is over. The food manager fixes me grilled Turkey and potatoes anyway, with dates and Oranges for dessert.

10pm Done. I sleep for 12 hours. Good pills.

permalink written by  roel krabbendam on January 4, 2007 from Gabes, Tunisia
from the travel blog: Harmattan
Send a Compliment

comment on this...
Previous: Existential Despair (short-lived) Next: Technical bulletin: Bicycle

roel krabbendam roel krabbendam
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...

trip feed
author feed
trip kml
author kml


Blogabond v2.40.58.80 © 2024 Expat Software Consulting Services about : press : rss : privacy
View as Map View as Satellite Imagery View as Map with Satellite Imagery Show/Hide Info Labels Zoom Out Zoom In Zoom Out Zoom In
find city: