Sunday, July 24, 2005

3 Weeks Down, 5 To Go

I can't believe it's already the last week of the July session! Time is
flying. One more month and I'm back to school! I'm having a hard time
deciding what exactly I am going to take next semester, but that is
another story for another day.

We had several fellow Arabic students from the Bourguiba school over to
hang out in our apartment and go to the beach today...four Italians and
a really cute Scottish girl who is my age and in my class at the
Institute. We swam, climbed on some nearby rocks, sat in the sun and
ate at a really nice restaurant near our house (the building in the
bottom right of the picture I posted). I was all well and good EXCEPT
that I got a bit of a sunburn and my sandals were stolen while we
were sitting right next to them on the beach!!!
Now it may not
sound like a big deal, but this particular pair of sandals was such a
godsend. Not only was it one of the most valuable things I brought to
Tunisia, it was one of only two pairs of shoes that I brought, the
other being my sneakers. I spent hours visiting nearly every shoe store
in Evansville looking for the perfect pair of walking sandals, and
these were working out absolutely beautifully. In fact, I have worn
them every day since I arrived...and now they are gone forever :( I am
still really upset as this just happened a couple hours ago. Oh, well...

So, to answer some questions to which I have not yet responded:

mary - Yes, this is Lea's first visit to the Middle East, and no I have
not received anything from you...did you send it over e-mail?

bo - The harassment is usually confined to stares and comments, however
I have been followed several times, and groping also occurs on occasion
unless a female is accompanied by a companion (although it can still
happen, especially in crowded train cars or markets).

hannibal - No, I don't think I am exaggerating. I have struck up
several conversations with locals (usually males, as the females in
public are much fewer and less apt to say hello), and I am often
followed very uncomfortably by most men I talk to. For example,
yesterday morning I got up early to watch the sunrise on our beach, and
I made the mistake of saying good morning to a man I passed. Not only
did he turn around and follow me, he stood at a distance and stared at
the me the whole time I was sitting on the rocks, and went to got up to
move, he followed me even further, forcing me to leave midway through
the beautiful sunrise because I was so incredibly uncomfortable. He
even began to follow me home. I am sorry if you disagree, but the vast
majority of men in this country are just plain creepy, and every single
foreign woman I have spoken with, including Lea, feels the same way,
and I have spoken to many. I've honestly just about had it with the
amount of harassment. It's hard enough to live in a country in which
you don't speak the language, but lacking the verbal skills to tell the
local men, who are very aggressive whether you want to admit it or not,
to piss off has made this whole experience much more stressful and
trying than I had ever expected.

dad - It's difficult to say about the local opinions concerning the
London bombings as understanding the languages (Frech, Tunisian or fusah), especially such a complex concept, is exceptionally hard
at this point.


Blogger Heartsurgeon said...

maybe safest not to go for walks alone..even to see the sunrise..unfortunate, but probably true.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Cari said...

Cari -
Do you want another pair of the sandals? I can probably get a pr and send them to school.
Love, Mom

4:36 AM  
Blogger Cari said...

i usually never walk anywhere alone, fyi. i brought up this particular example simply to make my point.

mom - i would absolutely love another pair of those sandals!

2:01 PM  
Blogger mary b said...

The "cool thoughts on a fresh breeze" I sent you is a figure of speech...and if this prayer has not yet been answered then go do the wet bathing suit in front of the refridgerator thing! We are counting the days to your safe return as well...but in the meantime, appreciate this amazing blog of your experiences.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Heartsurgeon said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:00 AM  

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