Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Travelling with a large fish

Hitchhiking came in the shape and colour you usually get it in Muslim countries: lifts within the blink of an eye, out of their way helpful and friendly drivers, quick kidnappings for improvised barbecues.

The roads were better and the donkeys alongside it not as beat up as those in Morrocco, or neighbouring Algeria.
The presence of well-fed and handsome odd-toed ungulates must surely be "proof that trickle-down economics really work. Even the lowest layer of society is reached!", as John remarked.

As far as tourist touts go, I learnt to say "no, thanks" in as accent-free an Arabic as I could master pretty quickly; John just professionally stuck to the old axiom that "silence is the unbearable repartee" (G.K. Chesterton said it first).

Despite his often eloquent pronouncements, travelling with a thoroughly monolingual Englishman is best likened to travelling with a large fish.
Whenever a local talked to him John just helplessly goggled with his mouth agape like a herring on land.

And although there were some pleasant moments on sandy hilltops (the things they call dunes down there) it can't be a compliment to Tunisia's natural sights when I say that I thought that the best bit of our trip was the night when we drunkenly snuck into the dinosaur park to have our pictures taken with nocturnal brontosauri.