The first few days were a bit of a disappointment, for both Ahmed and me.
We found it very dirty with plastic bottles everywhere and all kinds of garbage.
After several days, you start to see the charm of the town and you start to feel comfortable. Of course, garbage is still everywhere. I didn’t get used to that.
The lovely family, the two sisters, the mother and the grandmother, all women.
Unfortunately, as I have already mentioned, the father had only passed away two months before. Runaway stomach cancer. The pity was that for a few months son and father could not see each other and I did not know him either. I would have loved him too!
Being at the end of August, the beginning of September, it was very hot and the seawater was warm. What a feeling! I needed it, after a non-summer in Paris, I needed to sweat and sleep with a fan.
Rest, eat well, a little sport, beach, swimming pool, water, family, for me that was my vacation. I didn’t need much more.
I did get a little bored at some point but in Paris that is impossible.
After staying for a week, we decided to go visit Djerba, to spend three days. The two sisters, the mother and us.
The onward journey was a bit tedious. The bus, which was supposed to be comfortable, was awful. Broken seats and unglued window. The bus stopped everywhere and it was almost more than 6 hours but we finally arrived.
Djerba is described as the island of dreams.
The island of dreams but the truth that leaves much to be desired.
It is full of bottles and garbage like all of Tunisia and the crystal clear waters, I don’t know where they were because I didn’t see them. Yes it is true that we did not move much around the island.
We were in a hotel complex, which was supposed to have good beaches, but the Mahares beach next to it was much cleaner, at the time.
I imagine that with the Corona and the non-arrival of many tourists, they were all more passive.
Despite all that, the experience was very pleasant, going with the three women and my partner.
There was only one bad moment and it was that my partner got angry with me and we did not speak to each other for almost a day because I told his sisters about my gay friends.
We had reached an agreement in Paris that I was not going to talk about my life and I did. I was not going to talk about my job, or my training as a sex coach, or naturism, or anything related to sex. And for him I was not to talk about my gay friends that was included. Totally ridiculous, which in the end I made him see it but it cost a fight.
What a mentality, that of my partner. His sisters are more open than him without having left Tunisia. Good grief, if this boy had never left Mahares, he would be an old-fashioned hick. Good for his sisters that he is changing.
Ahmed is a bit transformed in Tunisia, he is not the same as in Europe. His male streak comes out of him. But hey, I have to respect him and I will never live in that country!
The three days of Djerba passed and we returned by bus again, but this time better and with a shorter journey with fewer stops.
Back in Mahares.
A little boring.
Most of the cafes are only for men and there are very few mixed ones.
There are places to go to drink beer but they are only for men.
I had been daring myself for several days as I wanted to have a few beers, but in the street, you can’t drink in public. In the family home out of respect much less. Also, it is frowned upon for women to enter any bars.
Well, I have been criticised, according to what Ahmed told me, which the waiter of the place told him. A small-town mentality!
It didn’t matter to me. I have the same right to have a beer as they do and if they criticise it, maybe they are envious that they can’t do it with their partners or that they have nothing else to talk about, other than to criticise others. And they always go to criticism. Very common in this society we live in.
I got angry to see this machismo so closely, but I am a foreigner and I have to respect it.
I hope it happens as in Spain, that in less than 40 years the rights of men and women are equal.
They say that with their religion it is difficult but I do not see it as difficult.
The last two days we spent very close to the capital, to get to know it a little and be closer to the airport and not go directly from Mahares on the last day in case something happened on the way.
Through the HomeExchange page, I located a house in another area in Tunisia, The Marsa. An area where many foreigners and rich families from the country live.
It was only 1 km from Sidi Bou Saïd. Such a beautiful neighbourhood of white and blue houses. If you go to Tunisia, be sure to visit it.
The last two days were the best of the trip. Without detracting from the others. It made me see a part that I loved and encouraged me to want to return.
One of the best things about the trip was the family atmosphere in the visiting house of uncles, aunts, neighbours, friends.
It was also good that the sex we had was hidden and discreet.
You already know when you sleep in the family home, it is something that is not naturalised and normalised and you have to keep it very discreet. That is indeed widespread throughout the world.
Best of all, my body asked me for sex, that being in my normal work routine, I lack that impulse to want it. I even masturbated because I needed an orgasm.
One of the things that I liked the least about the trip, the marks the bikini left on my body, which I had not had for 20 years. A culture that left its marks on me, never better said. Not topless.
And how not to mention again, the dirt and neglect of the country. Ahmed is annoyed that I mention it and stick with that idea, but for me it was the most obvious thing that I cannot omit it.
The citizens blame the politicians, but really they are the ones who throw all that shit on the streets, on the beaches, in the fields, not caring that no one is going to pick it up. If you have to move a little more to throw out the garbage, you have to do it.
I have visited only a tiny bit of the country by the way, but the amount of garbage, plastic and glass bottles that I have seen, has only made me think, how unbalanced the world is.
Countries fighting for pollution and proper garbage collection and others like Tunisia, being almost landfills, regardless of whether that garbage can reach the sea.
Here is where I ask myself, what do governments and organisations that fight against pollution do.
There should be a centralised team to ensure that cities are clean with high fines for governments, municipalities and citizens. With fines is how we learn.
We spend money to send life to the Moon and we do not spend money to make sure our earth is clean. What nonsense!
What about the old and dirty cars and motorcycles? What next?
The taxis, old and dilapidated. Motorcycles without fairings. There is no control of the condition of the vehicles.
In many stores, the items are full of dust. You don’t really want to buy.
In my humble opinion, they need to learn to clean. Personal cleaning and their houses very well, but the exterior must think that it cleans itself.
If good hands and good minds managed it, it would be a very nice country.
Also important is if the government were secular, such as Spain and France, with millions of Christians. It has been shown that it is not incompatible.
But as it is now, I understand why almost all families, whenever they can, help their children to go to Europe or other continents to look for a future because the one that Tunisia reflects, is a future of “shit”, never better said. Sorry for the expression.
A shame, because geographically it is a perfect country to live in. Sun, beaches with warm and transparent waters, white sands, sunsets with spectacular colours. Very good and cheap watermelons and melons. Gastronomy with spicy and tasty flavours and very affordable life.
My conclusion on Tunisia is that they need outside help to organise, clean up and run their economy, because by themselves, they are doing it in the way that will be fatal for the country.
It is a country that is virgin, it needs everything.
Will I recommend Tunisia? I am sorry to say this for the people of Tunisia, because they are charming and hospitable but it would be recommended that one day they clean their country.
Will I be back? Sure. Besides, I still have a lot to learn to give a true and realistic opinion. I have not visited practically anything.
The last two days my perspective of the three weeks changed. I have to find out more.
It had been a trip especially for Ahmed to enjoy his family, his city and his friends. He had not returned in 10 years.
What I have realised myself, that I am very all-terrain, I adapt to everything. I can be in a luxurious place or in the most humble place, I just need a good bed, with a good pillow, internet and my computer.
Quickly I settle in and I feel good.
I can totally fall in love with a poor person as with a rich person. I can enjoy all situations.
I think that is important to know how to adapt and know how to be comfortable with a lot or a little.