Tunis Seminar

Tunis Seminar

Tunis, Tunisia – December 14, 2010

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.

Home away from home in Tunis.
The hotel swimming pool as seen from my room.
A sample of the local currency.
Relaxing with a glass of wine and a small snack.

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 swimming pool in the early morning.
The hotel swimming pool.
Pedestrians crossing as we drove to the embassy.
Morning traffic.
Driving to the embassy.

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.

A roundabout with a mosque in the background.
A sign for the Tunisian Academy of Sciences.
The building housing the Tunisian Academy of Sciences.
Fishing in the Mediterranian Sea.
A feral cat.
Looking to the northwest along Avenue de la République.
Trees at the end of Avenue de la République.
A very calm Mediterranian Sea.
Ruins at Antonine Baths in the Carthage section of Tunis.
A tourist shop across from the Antonine Baths.
Some of my classmates looking over the items for sale.
At the Antonine Baths looking toward the Presidential Compound.
A wall at the Antonine Baths ends at the Mediterranian Sea.
A panoramic view of a portion of the Antonine Baths.
Many types of footwear for sale across from the Antonine Baths.
Another tourist shop near the Antonine Baths.

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.

The house of the son of the President of Tunisia nearing the end of construction.
Looking east across the Gulf of Tunis.
The back of a tiled bench.
The Harbor Sidi Bou Said as seen from an overlook. The east side of the Gulf of Tunis is in the distance.
A frog or toad near the sidewalk.
Some flowers growing near a wall.
A beautiful bloom
A typical door in Tunis.
Yours truly posing by the door.
Same door, same yours truly.
A staff member looking out of a door.
Three amigos in Tunis for training.
The class photo.
A poinsettia plant.
A unique flowering plant.
A palm tree at the top of the stairs.
A very red Mini Cooper.
A hand-stenciled, wooden license plate.
Detail of a typical home in Tunis.
A garden statue.
Yet another garden statue.
The instructor sharing methods to deal with mosquitos.
Detail of a palm tree.
A Tunisian flag flying near the Carthage Museum.
Remains of columns at the Carthage Museum.
One of my classmates at the Carthage Museum.
Ruins of a Carthaginian city dating from as far back as the seventh century B.C.
The ruins are known as Byrsa Hill.
Another view of the ruins.
View toward the Carthage Museum.
Domes of the Acropolium of Carthage.
Detail of a mosaic.
Detail of a mosaic II.
Detail of a mosaic III.
A statue at the Carthage Museum.
A second statue.
A mosaic floor from an ancient building.
Posing with a very large head.
Posing with a rather large head at the Carthage Museum.
A map of the Mediterranian at the height of the Carthage influence.
A model of a portion of the city.
An artist’s rendition of what the Carthaginian city may have looked like.
Detail of a mosaic outside the museum.
Detail of a mosaic outside the museum II.
A panoramic view from Byrsa Hill.
Portions of columns.
The Acropolium of Carthage, a musical venue.
The entrance for the Carthage Museum.
A souvenir shop closed for the day.

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.

The many graves at the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial.
A statue at the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial. The inscription reads, “Honor to Them That Trod the Path of Honor.”
An inscription at the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial. It reads, “Here we and all who shall hereafter live in freedom will be reminded that to these men and their comrades we owe a debt to be paid with grateful remembrance of their sacrifice and with the high resolve that the cause for which they died shall live.”

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.

Birthday greetings are written to Leslie in several languages.
Birthday greetings are written to Leslie in several languages, page 2.

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.

2 thoughts on “Tunis Seminar

  1. Tunis looks like a beautiful and very interesting city. Your photography is amazing and so beautiful. So glad you got out before the unrest took place. Thanks so much Terry.

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