Saturday, November 26, 2005

Tunisian tales

I’m back at home after the Tunisian Mini Break. White John and I had planned this trip as a battery recharge before the Christmas Season. Originally we were going to find a little spa somewhere in the English countryside but after a little research we discovered that it was actually cheaper to fly south for three hours and stay half board in a four star hotel. We checked online and the reviews of the hotel were favourable. We booked. Everyone said they were very jealous and wished they were coming too. Everyone, apart from Rob Clark, who gasped in horror and said that his Tunisian holiday had been the worst ever, “ Darlings, you may be on the coast of North of North Africa, but it will be freezing cold, and most likely raining. Do not, whatever you do go on the organised trip. I booked a tour because the weather had been so bad I was the youngest person on the bus by about 20 years. We arrived at the great ruins, the largest amphitheatre outside Rome. It has been carved from enormous slabs of marble. As I said it had been raining and no sooner had the elders disembarked a scream was heard. Marjory had walked to the edge of the stairs leading down into the arena. Her Dr Scholls had little grip, she slipped on the wet marble and plummeted down the steep incline. Forty Five minutes later she was being stretchered from the arena and into the back of a waiting ambulance. We all reboarded the bus and headed for the vast salt flats. They are huge; the great, dry lakes stretch as far as the eye can see in every direction. The salt formations are amazing, and soon everyone had piled off the bus again and was examining the crystalline structures at close quarters. Apart from Marjory’s friend Vera. She was sitting in the minibus grumbling that the trip had not been abandoned after the Coliseum incident. We tried to get her to come and see for herself, but Vera was adamant. The rest of the party were fascinated by the salt forms, but were distracted by the bellowing of a distant horn. We looked at the horizon and could just about make out a desert train in the distance. A desert train is basically a huge juggernaut pulling three or four more containers. They rumble across the sand flats carrying supplies to distant outposts. They are huge. The horn sounded again and the lorry rumbled closer, and closer. We watched as the gigantic vehicle approached the place where our minibus was parked. It was at this very moment that Vera underwent a change of heart and decided that she would come and join us on the salt flats. She opened the door of the bus and stepped down right into the path of the desert van. Completely obliterated. The tour guide accompanied Vera’s husband to the morgue and everyone else got back on the coach. The final part of the tour was to supposed to be a camel ride. No one was much in the mood for it, but then one of the old ladies piped up and said they shouldn’t wallow, and that a camel ride would raise everyone spirits.” Rob rolled his eyes, and sighed, “I should have known better. We got to the camel station and I got on first. While the handler was helping the others to climb on, my camel saw a chance for freedom and made a run for it. Camels can reach speeds of upto 40 miles and hour and all I could do was hold on as this thing set off across the Sahara. 2 hours later it had reached and oasis and there I sat for a further four hours until they finally found me. No, Tunisia I do not recommend.”


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