Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Jameel Jiddan

This weekend was amazing, and the next two promise to be even better! Now that I have become aware of what little time I have left here, I feel a sort of urgency because there is so much to do and only two more weeks to go! I'm looking forward to coming home, but there is much of Tunisia that I haven't seen and experienced yet.

After school on Saturday, the whole Yale gang plus Emma came out to the Salambo for beaching and dinner. We had some great chwarma pizza. It was nice to get together with everyone and just chill and talk and smoke the nargile.

The next morning Eric, Ann, Katie, Lorainne and I woke up early(ish) to catch a louage to Kerkouane where we visited the Punic ruins, which are situated on an extremely beautiful stretch of coastline.

Stumbled upon by accident by French archaeologists in 1952, Kerkouane offers a unique insight into the Punic world. A rather mysterious place, Kerkouane was abandoned in its prime in the middle of the 3rd century BC and never reoccupied. Unlike Carthage and other Punic sites that were rebuilt on top by subsequent civilizations such as the Romans, Kerkouane remains remarkably pure.

I was struck by how amazingly well-preserved the foundations of this little town were. We walked up an down its streets, sat in its bathtubs, admired its humble but intricate mosaics and meandered through an ancient colonnaded courtyard. The nearby sea was alternating patches bright blue and turquoise, and the water was clear and cool. On this day the sky was cloudless and a startling bright blue and the strong breeze made the mid-nineties temperature particularly pleasant. It was an absolutely wonderful visit.

After lunch we took a cab to the outskirts of El Haouaria, famous for its falconry and a series of man-made caves predating the Romans but used by them to mine sandstone. While the mines were fascinating, the best part of this stop (and one of the best of my entire journey) was the view. The cliffs towering above the sea, into which the waves crashed with a particular vengeance on this very windy day, were absolutely enthralling. I can say with nearly absolute certainty that this was the single most beautiful landscape that I have ever seen in my life. I am completely in love with it. If I ever return to Tunisia, Cap Bon will most certainly be my destination of choice. I look forward to showing you the pictures we took at this location... they are quite dramatic.

This weekend (which actually starts tomorrow) I will journey to the South with Nick and Mark (my men from Malta) as well as Lea and a few other Europeans I don't yet know. I don't know exactly where we will go and what we will do, but I'm okay with that. The following weekend, Adam, Katie and I are planning to return to Cap Bon and walk from Kelibia to El Haouaria. The journey should take almost all day. We do like the walking. On Sunday, a few of the girls and I will climb the two-horned mountain (if possible). After that I have one or two more days of school and then I'm off! It is unfortunate that I won't get to see Sousse, Monastir, Hammamet, Tabarka or Bizerte, but perhaps that means I will just have to return to Tunisia again in the future. Insha'allah.


Blogger carolyn said...

We hope you can make some chwarma pizza for us soon!

10:30 PM  
Blogger Karim2k said...

that's really cool, have you taken picturs there ?

8:58 AM  

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