The Golden Girls

Trip Start Aug 25, 2008
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36
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Trip End Oct 17, 2008


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Flag of Tunisia  ,
Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My 7th floor Parisian penthouse turned out to have a million dollar view of the neighborhood that made my way overpriced for what you get stay there a little nicer at least.  It was time to take a much needed shower to wash away all that city grime so I descended down all 6 flights of narrow stairs to the reception to get the shower key.  I then went back up 3 flights to find exactly which door hid the elusive shower. 

Behind door number three I was met by an orange tiled space with a simple tub missing a curtain and one of those handheld showerheads that sprays water everywhere but on the body.  You stand there with water hitting maybe one square foot of your body at a time while the rest is shivering in the cold.  This tiny dingy room had a frosted glass french window that opened up to an airshaft and I gave a quick look out and didn't notice anything like other windows.  Thinking I was out of view, I kept the windows open and went about my business.

Above the noise of water spraying all over the shower room, I kept hearing giggling and American accents making lewd comments about European men.  I really didn't think anything of it at the time since I was preoccupied in my mind with how I was getting out of the hotel in the morning to the airport.  I just thought it was some old American women out in the hallway carrying on about their day in Paris and were excited to be away from their husbands back home in Iowa or wherever it is they don't get to see men like they were describing.  To hear old women talking like that was as disturbing as it was funny, and I just kept on showering in complete oblivion.  

When exactly the lightbulb came on in my head I am not exactly sure but trust me it was burning at about 600 watts when I realized they were talking about me.  The three Golden Girls had opened a large window in the hallway that looked into my airshaft and I was there in my full glory for Blanche, Dorothy and Sophia to see right through the airshaft and into the shower.  Had I paid a little closer attention when I looked out my window I would have seen that there indeed was another window sharing the airshaft that could potentially open up to provide voyeurs such as these old women a look right inside my window.  I don't think they ever get this type of entertainment in Iowa and they were all about it.

Needless to say I was not all about it and I quickly grabbed my towel, shut the window and got dressed with half of my body still soapy.  All I could hear was nonstop giggling and I was hoping that since the show was done they would go back to their rooms.  No such luck.  I tried to wait them out a few minutes but they weren't going to give me a clear path out of there.  I just had to suck it up and do the walk of shame past these old bitties so I could go downstairs and return the shower key to the reception.

And you know what added insult to injury?  They didn't even give me a tip.  That could have at least put some Euros in my wallet so I could have afforded some McDonalds.  Sophia could have tossed a few Euro coins through the window since she was evidently liking the show so much.   

With all the excitement from the night before behind me and the old ladies thankfully asleep and hidden away, I left the hotel at 0530 to catch the subway to the airport bus.  I had to find the front desk person so I could be let out.  He was tucked away out of sight in a backroom asleep and seemed put out that I needed access to the street.  If he was feeling put out imagine how I was feeling while looking around for ten minutes wondering how to get out of there.  Breaking down the door to the street crossed my mind a few times, too since all the hotel had was my name and nothing more.   There was no way I was missing my flight.  The streets of Paris were amazingly quiet and peaceful at that hour and I enjoyed walking past the lit up Arc de Triomphe when I got off the subway

After two uneventful hours on an Air France A320 I was finally in Tunis.  The weather is about as pleasant as can be and I was actually expecting it to be hot here.  It's sunny but maybe only about 70 degrees without a drop of humidity in the air.  If you can picture whitewashed buildings with blue shutters you get the idea of what the city is like.  It's a great place to just wander around.  It's small and compact and life takes place on the streets like so many other places I have been.

Withing 25 minutes of landing I was checking in at the front desk and the lady gave me a funny look.  An even more serious look came over her face and I was ready for her to tell me there was no room like had happened in Paris.  It turns out she wanted to know if I knew it was Ramadan.  I told her I was very familiar with it and was ok with it.  With a look of disbelief she leaned in really close to me and whispered that if I wanted to eat or drink not to worry.  I told her I was fine and would make do.  Truth is my stomach was growling and my tongue was dry since by this point the breakfast from the plane was long gone.  I walked around looking for somewhere to at least buy some water and was out of luck since anywhere that remotely looked like it had food service was closed up.

After about 30 minutes of wandering around feeling like I was going to give out from thirst I had one of those moments that must of been like Columbus discovering America.  In Tunis if you see a storefront that is covered in newspapers or a drape, that is a place where you can stuff your face while hidden from view of the street.  It's like a 1930s speakeasy and you kind of feel dirty going behind the newspaper covered windows for bootleg food.  I guess they figure that if you are behind cover Allah won't find you.  Who knows.  All that matters is that I found a 1.5 liter bottle of water for about 50 cents.  Now this is my kind of place.  It barely dents the wallet and Ramadan doesn't exist under cover.

If you can imagine an ocean as blue as the sky that's how the Mediterranean looked from the place.  It's very close to downtown Tunis and tomorrow I just may take the tram out there to see it.  I just want to relax since that past few days have involved a lot of traveling getting from Sydney to Paris.

The pictures here are of the new part of Tunis only.  Later this afternoon I am going to explore the Medina which is the old walled part of the city with the neat buildings.
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