This trip marks my first time ever on the continent of Africa! I am here to attend training on pest control at the embassy.
When I arrived at the airport it was dark, so it was very difficult to get my bearings. An expediter from the embassy met me and helped me through immigration. Once through, we collected my luggage and went to the car.
He drove me to the Ramada so I could check-in. My room, 3138, overlooks the pool area. I can hear the Mediterranian Sea in the background. It is now about 21:30 and I am completely beat. I got up this morning at about 02:30 to catch my flight in Madrid, so it has been a long day. My journey began early because I had to fly from Madrid to Paris. In Paris, I had several hours layover at the airport before I could board my flight to Tunis.
My first full day was spent at the training. It was an interesting day. There will definitely be some things I can take back to Madrid to use there. On the evening of that first full day, we went to the restaurant Le Golfe. The name means “The Gulf’, referring to the Gulf of Tunis. The dinner was delicious. I had medallions of beef with two sauces; one, a brown pepper sauce and the other more of a white sauce. I topped it all off with an orange and lemon sorbet. The dinner was about 50 Tunisian Dinar, somewhere around US$35.
The training the next day was on the road. Instead of sitting in a classroom at the embassy, we went as a group to several homes in the city to look at specific pest issues and learn how to mitigate them. Periodically, we were able to stop to take in some of the local sights.
On that second day, after the seminar, my friend Gary and I went to the Carthage Museum. It was very cold that afternoon, but the museum was very interesting. The city the Carthaginians built was a real marvel for its time. Apparently, it so threatened the Romans that they came in and literally destroyed the town. Even still, the ruins were fascinating.
When we were through, our friend Jim came to the museum to pick us up and take us to his home for dinner. On the way to his home, he drove us through the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial. Interred there are hundreds from the North Africa battles of World War II. It was a moving sight.
While I was at the training, Leslie’s birthday came and went. As part of my gift to her, I had my classmates write a birthday wish to Leslie. The only catch was that the wish had to be in their native language. I thought it turned out well.
On the way home from Tunis, I did not have to go through Paris. I had a direct flight from Tunis to Madrid. At just a little over two hours, that made the return journey much more tolerable.
This trip really taught me to have a “plan B” set up whenever I travel. Just a week or two after departing Tunis, the Arab Spring riots began. Jim, the same man with whom we had dinner after our museum visit, had his wife and children evacuated out of Tunisia because of the unrest. At one point, he had a tank sitting in front of his house for several weeks. I am very happy I was able to get out of the country before all of this trouble began.