The smell of spices linger in the air

Douz Travel Blog

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Tunisia was amazing! This was a country very different than anything I have yet to see. Although Tunisia is in North Africa, it feels like you are in the middle east. After a 10 hour fairy ride from Palermo, we finally arrived in the capital of Tunisia...Tunis! But before I write about my experience in Tunis I have to mention the wonderful people we met on the fairy. We met 3 other travelers from the US who we decided to share our adventure with. Jane and Fred who are a married couple from New Mexico who have spent that last 5 months eploring many countries around the world and Celeste from Oragan who is a young single female traveller who is spending 4 months in total travelling throughout Africa and Europe. We spent the many hours on the boat planning the next four days we would spend in Tunisia. We arrived late in Tunis so we decided to find a place to sleep for the night right away and then walk around the city for a bit. This lady we met on the boat from Australia who had spent the past 2 months studying Arabic in Tunisia brought us to a hostel that she recommended. It only cost 2 dollars but trust me it was no deal. The place was very dirty and i was scared to sleep in my bed. The sheets looked like they had never been cleaned and this also marked the beginning of my goal to master squating to go to the washroom. The toilets in Tunisia are not the cleanest and most of them are nothing more than a hole in the ground. The first time I attempted to use this kind of "toilet" I urinated all over my pants. However, practice makes perfect right? So, everytime I went to the washroom I tried different angels to position my body and also tried various levels to squat until I found the best position that worked for me. Moving on...

We made it through the night in the hotel of hell. One of the girls with us even slept sitting up because she was afraid to rest her face on her infested pillow. But, we made it through the night although it wasnt the greatest sleep ive ever had. It also didnt help that we were in a shady part of town. But Im glad we slept in this hotel because it just adds to the exeperience.

We then took a taxi ride to the bus station. It took a lot longer than it should have. Tunisians like to take you on a joy ride to a destination that never asked to go to. Then they expect you to pay! We eventually made it the bus terminal and took a louage (a small van) to the city of Douz. It was an 8 hour ride but we got to see a lot of Tunisia. Although Tunisia is in Africa is feels more like you're in the middle east. When we steped out of the van, we were immediteley approached by men trying to convince us to book a camel trek through them. We decided to ignore them and make our way to a hotel that our wonderful and very reliable "Lonely Planet Tunisia" guidebook had recommened.

As a quick note: If you are planning a trip anywhere in the world, I highly recommened buying a Lonely Planet book for your destination. These books are great! They tell you everything you need to know about the country and recommened hostels, hotels, restaurants, tours, etc that have been recommended by other travelers.

After walking around for a bit, we decided on a hotel called Hotel 20 Mars. This hotel was very nice and the people who run it are very friendly and helpful. What is also great about this hotel is they run a tour company where you can book a camel trek through the sahara dessert for a very resonable price. After settling into our rooms we booked an overnight tour and camel trek through the Sahara Desert for the next day. Now...it was time to explore Douz!

The markets in Douz are really interesting and busy. It is definetely an attack of your 5 senses. There are people walking around in long gowns and turbins. You hear Arabic music playing that makes you want to stop what your doing and just dance. Everywhere you walk you smell spices in the air. There are many fruit and nut stands as well as many stores to buy traditional clothes and other items. I had a lot of fun shopping here!

While shopping for suverniers, we met these really nice group of Tunisian men. We ended up partying with them in their shop in the evening. They brought us mint tea (which is very tasty), we smoked the hookah (a pipe with a long flexible tube that draws smoke through water. It is traditionally used for smoking flavored tobacco), played drums, danced and drew henna. Mingling with the natives is my favorite part of travelling. By participating in their activities and traditions, you really get an appreciation for a culture.

Visit my travel blog: http://hopscotchtheglobe.blogspot.com
misstravel89 says:
Aah it makes me missing Tunisia! next year going back!
Oh and hookah is shisha! It's lovely! Glad to hear that u liked it, and yes these people sometimes u have to ignore them! ;)
Posted on: Apr 06, 2010
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Douz
photo by: maycek