Tunisian Diary: from Dry Desert to Rainy Airport

Suur moshee Suosse´i vanalinnas.Airplane started from Tallinn at right time and was in Africa for about 4 hours. Nice, warm weather. In april, there is still snow in Tallinn.  

In Monastir, we swapped some tourists (couple of lithuanian guys were in our bus and some estonians in Lithuanian bus) and travelled to Sousse. 

Changing money  
There are some rules for changing money. Some of them reminds Soviet Union. Same rate is everywhere - in hotels, banks. It´s not allowed to bring Tunisian dinars to country and to export them from country. At border, it´s allowed to change 100 dinars. It´s very little amount. Country is oriented to tourism and as You see, they want You to leave Your money to country. But it´s alwayd possibility to bargain everywhere (excluding water and food). And You can bargain prices more than half down.  
Markets are for bargaining  
We stopped at Sousse Palace, what is in very good location: on´ly some hundred meters to medina (Old Town) and at the beginning of the great beach promenade with some tens of meters private beach and bassin yard. Markets are in Medina - it´s not good to enter shops at first days, when Your skin is very white. It means that You are newcomer and You have money - and - what is most important - You don´t konow local prices. You don´t bargain hard and locals can ask higher price, what they do certainly.  
First day on markets was hard. Good psychologists thought that we are finns. And price was one dinar everywhere. But itú not true. It´s only to make You be interested. If You enter the shop, You are lost. And price is not one dinar.  
Cars and traffic  
Cars don´t give a way to pedestrians. So it´s good to be careful even on pedestrian crossings. You have to argue the price when You enter the cab. Or You have to ask for switching on taximeter when drive, because local business is so that You pay huge amounts if You don´t say Your price at first. We were pumped out of money when two boys placed a hawks on our souldiers. We agreed to take a picture of os with our camera. And it was mistake. It costs about 10 dollars per hawk to have some pics.  
Internet is rare  
Internet is very rare in Tunisia. Forget WiFi. According to some WiFi spots finders there are only few points where You can get wireless internet in country and they are near expensive hotels. Usual connection is still dial-up. We used a Internet cafe near Sousse Palace hotel and it was very slow. You have to recognize french keyboard, it´s different and hard to blind print on it. A hour of slow internet costs 2 dinars. Not much. USB slots available, CD device is taped and not usable.  
Beach is crowded sometimes  
Legends about dirty beaches are half true in Tunisia. usually the sand is not bright colour and it seems dirty but usually it´s not. Water was cold in the middle of april. But away from hotels the beach may be dirty.  
2nd day - on the way to Sahara Desert  
Wake up call is extremely early. It´s dark. There was a disco on hotel´s second floor all the night and not only the europeans had party there. Some local tunisians were drunk, too and hanged in front of the hotel. After driving to sunset we stopped at a Tunisian cafe on the Mediterrean beach, it was nice simple local cafe - don´t ask turkish cafe, ask espresso and they serve.  
Firts tourist trap on our way was El-Jem - great colosseum in the middle of deserts. 100 years ago nobody in Europe except some french didn´t knew about this building, but shortly after french announced this colusseom it started to be great magnet for tourists. And it´s really huge. Hollywood´s "Gladiator" movie is filmed here.  
Islam in Tunisia  
Tunisia is one of the most european islamist country. No strict rules, but it´s good to follow the basic behaviour rules here. Country president declared men and women equal and it´snot allowed to take several wifes. Schools are free, and You can dress like european with no problems. More religious people use islamic clothes, especially women.  
Desert Life  
Surprisingly water is free in desert oasises. Gowernment pays for it. If You decided to move to desert, You can have even a free house, if You are local. But You have to grow some olive trees and help to turn desert sand to green nature.  
You ãan find two types of canister sellers on the desert ways. One type is gasoline sellers - non-official oil from Libya. And another type of canister sellers are palm tree water sellers. But be careful - european bodies take this oil differently. Your stomach will not give anything inside after drinkind some palm tree water.  
After some ride to south towards Sahara You can notice that people are different. And they are - this is berber nation, natively came from Europe and look red-headed, taller and with whiter skin. On Matmata droglodythe willages You can find them living inside unique cave villages - it´s always 21 degrees celsius inside this caves and You can live here for a very long - old people are really very old here, on Atlas highlands.  
We reached Douz at evening - desert oasis, where several hotels lie. And for tourists it´s good to drive camels to Sahara camel safari. Sahara is very typical here - big white sand dunes and olive palms, camels are slow and smooth.  
Day three - water and salt  
We started at 4:30 morning. It was dark. But after few hours we stopped in the middle of the great salt lake Chott el Jerid - size as big as whole Estonia. But few water.  
Sun started to rise and colors on lake started to play. Amazing.  
Main souvenirs here are desert roses - from sand and salt. Nice natural chrystals.  
Then we visited (by Toyota jeeps) some desert oasises on mountains near Algerian border - Tamerza, Chebica etc. Some water came out from mountains in the middle of desert.  

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