Tunisia day 7

This post was meant to be titled Tunisia – Manchester as we should have been in the UK about 2 hours ago but I write this just before midnight at the end of Sunday about half way through our delayed 3 and a half hour flight. Originally delayed by snow in Manchester and then further by an “incident” involving a Thomas Cook plane in Turin.

Today started promisingly enough – kids were a bit tired from last nights late finish but nothing serious. Packing was a slight hassle making sure overnight stuff is to hand in one or two cases (and boy isn’t that going to be dead handy at 2am-ish when we finally reach our hotel room!!)

We had a good breakfast – very good in the case of the kids – and after packing went down to the pool. Once again it was brass monkeys in the water so we retreated to the indoor pool and spent a good hour or so relaxing and messing about in there.

We went out for a sunbathe and a game of darts and then lunch although we weren’t really all that hungry to be honest but I was worried we were running out of time if the kids wanted to swim some more.

At some stage (possibly impressed by the girl paddling about in the freezing water the past couple of days) I decided I was going to get in the outdoor pool regardless of the temperature. It took a certain level of time and committment involving going down the pool steps one at a time as your body gets used to the sub-zero (well it felt like it!) temperatures.

In the end I spent probably half an hour in the water and it was great actually although Lauren, who also did it, were getting some funny looks, probably much like those we gave to that girl in the water a few days back. After that there was only time for a very quick game of pool and then our taxi was there to take us away.

It was really a lovely hotel and I would recommend it, except I’m not sure I’d go back because I’m sure there are better locations.

The airport in Monastir was alright and to be honest it has more shops in departures before security than Manchester. They do have some interesting approaches to security in Tunisia though – no sticking liquids in a little plastic bag here.

I got word about the flight delay from Jersey first of all but we are told as we checked in which is fair enough really.

Then the extent of the delay gradually became apparent but actually we were looked after well enough. Not much more the airline or airport could do really. There were at least 2 other long delayed flights so the queue for free (airline paid-for) food was pretty long but that just required a little patience.  The kids were very patient and behaved nearly perfectly.

Well I guess that brings you up to date. I’ve scratched the idea of going into central Manchester tomorrow. I think we’ll keep our hotel room as late as we can then go straight for our connecting flight. Then be back home and back to school for the kids and one more busy day off work for me.

Hope these posts haven’t been too dull to read as they’ve been pretty good fun to write. Counting the weeks till my next trip now – Cardiff for the British Speedway GP! Then a family holiday to Turkey not long after that. Really can’t wait!!

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Tunisia day 6

I feel quite sad writing this for lots of reasons. There’s the obvious feeling of “it’s my last full day on holiday”. Then there’s something of a dread about doing a day like today justice without writing so much I’ll get a sore finger from this iPod touch.

Also, to be honest today has involved a lot of time sitting travelling from place to place on a coach – time which led to me spending too much time thinking. Anyway this post isn’t about me. It’s about what’s been a great day.

Our excursion for most of the day involved visiting Kairouan, El Jem and Monastir. El Jem was just spectacular – it’s amazing to see what is obviously a very historical building but looking so well that it’s still in use as an entertainment venue.

The other locations were good too – the shopping like in Sousse varied from intimidating hassle (with the odd English common phrase thrown in – “it’s Asda price” or “cheap as chips”!) to cheap and very easy. We bought lots of nice stuff and had fun. We also saw this presentation about Islam which, having never really been taught about it properly, was fascinating.

Apart from the humourous pronunciation was must have been done by someone who’s only experience of English was off of the last Lily Allen CD. The word “grand” became “grarn-d” and “heirarchical” was the frankly-made-up “heiratical”

We finished the day watching a fakir show featuring my daughter sitting on a fakir who in turn was on a bed of nails. Nice!

Been a good day and a great holiday all in all. That said we’ve still got another half day here and then if the times work out ok some free time in Manchester too.

Tunisia day 5

We made it to Sousse in the end today – I think the timing was bad in two ways. Being a Friday in an Islamic country I suspect the Souks (loosely translated as market) in the Medina were extra quiet. I suppose this meant less hassle too. It was a good experience though. Something I can say I’ve done in my life.

I may not have haggled when buying anything (well how can you haggle when the marked price was around 50p anyway) but it was still a fascinating and rather odd place. You see odd things happen like store-owners throwing water all over the ground outside their pitch.

At first your natural reaction is to assume it’s a ritual of some kind but it turns out to be just an attempt to stop dust blowing around outside their shop.

Rest of the day we just relaxed by the pool, had a lovely meal then watched the show which was just music and dancing. Still an excellent day but dawning more than ever that the holidays over soon and tomorrow is going to be an early start and long day.

Tunisia day 4

It’s been a pretty quiet day here all in all. The weather was the nicest it’s been all week so we spent much of the morning and early afternoon by the pool. Sadly the water itself was utterly baltic – although there was one hardy soul who spent just about all that time just paddling around in the cold. They must live like in Iceland, or Norway, or Glasgow or something. We were thinking about visiting the nearby town of Sousse but in the end we just relaxed saving that trip for tomorrow.

Tunisia day 3

Today was another varied day of our holiday. Camels this morning and ending with a weird cabaret we really didn’t quite get.  As I was downstairs in the bar tonight waiting for the cabaret to start it occured to me that this is the halfway point of the holiday – just 3 days left and 3 days to look back on.

Speaking of 3 days – that’s also the length of time it has taken me to realise that the fans running in the room are heaters not an air con unit. No wonder it’s been so hot at night.

Anyway my first experience of camel riding was certainly interesting. They are lovely animals really – suspiciously obedient for animals actually. I rode for what must have been about an hour with Lauren to this cafe where we had a coffee, watched a pottery making demo and ate some beautiful freshly cooked naan bread – very nice.

The actual camel ride was just really nice. I’d imagine it’s not entirely unlike horse riding (not having done that myself) and I had a great time chatting with Lauren. Alex had a camel all to himself and as I found out later it’s much much easier riding on your own.

On the way back I rode with the kids in a horse-and-cart although half way back I swapped with someone else to ride another camel the rest of the way. It was quite an experience really. Some particularly odd pictures will probably be in circulation soon too!

This afternoon was just relaxed by the pool. The weather was better today but there was a cold wind which saw us staying by the indoor pool again. Tomorrow we’ll probably be walking down to the marina again and then take the “noddy train” down to Sousse so we can experience a proper market with haggling and everything. Should be a nice cool night’s sleep for the first time finally!

Tunisia day 2

Today was a more relaxed day. We spent most of the day by the pool – indoors again as outside was too cold. At least we missed the rain though which must have come overnight.

This evening I shared a game of pool with the kids and then some table tennis before seeing our first show of the week, the “Crazy Jukebox” – essentially three guys miming to loads of songs with lots of costume changes. All good fun if a bit strange.

Another late night for the kids I guess and I hope it doesn’t harm tomorrow. We’re going for a camel ride – for two hours apparently – into the country around Port El Kantoui. Looking forward to it, even if it means breakfast will need to be a little earlier than it has been so far this week!

Tunisia day 1

The first full day here seemed long in a good way. We sort of had a late start but still had plenty of time for breakfast.

Went to the welcome meeting and learned about some trips -chose the ones we’ll be doing on Wednesday and Saturday. Then it was just time for a quick swim – in the indoor pool cos the weathers not up to much yet. And then a filling lunch.

After that we walked to the other side of Port El Kantoui where the marina is. A nice enough collection of tourist shops, cafes and dodgy looking guys selling boat trips. We then came back walking along the beach all the way. And watched the kids getting soaked when they weren’t watching for waves. Pics to follow. Aren’t I mean?!

Then just back in time to pick up the tickets for our trips and for dinner. We then all just relaxed together playing cards and chatting. A lovely end to a lovely day really!