Our next stop was Tunisia in Northern Africa, our first visit to Africa. We decided that we were not brave enough to visit by ourselves as we didn't know enough about the culture and the locals. As it turned out that was the right decision ! We joined a trip from the ship exploring the souks and the Medina in La Goulette. I was interested to see what the markets were like.
After we arrived we were shown around by the guide, taking in several stalls and areas which I am convinced were run by the guides relatives!!
The stalls had a variety of goods, perfumed oils, leather slippers, traditional fez,delicate glass bottles, leather bags, all sorts of things. The down side was the continual pestering by street sellers and if you showed an interest in anything, the stall owner moved in for the kill. It became irritating.
I wanted a bag and a pair of slippers, so had to run the gauntlet of the bartering process. I found a nice beige leather backpack which started out at 65 Euros (they deal in euros as the currency is closed, tourists can't bring dinars in or take them out of the country, so they are happy to deal in euros or dollars) I said no and eventually got the bag for 15 euros which was about what I thought it was worth! The best bargain was a pair of tan leather slippers which started out at 50 euros and eventually they were sold to me for 5 euros. I am expecting both articles to fall apart any moment now!!!
The worse bit was the unwelcome attention that Beth got. The men wouldn't leave her alone, I am sure I could have come away with several camels if I had decided to sell her. They would not take no for an answer and the more panicked she got the more attention they paid. In the end the only way was to to get loud and push them away, which is what I did, I physically pushed one particular guy and that attracted the attention of the guide who came over and gave the bloke a talking to. I really made us feel very unsafe and I would not want to repeat the visit any time soon.
We headed back to the ship and once in the port we took a look around a little group of shops, they were selling very similar goods for similar prices without the harassment, in future i would not go into town just stick with the port shops!!! Beth had a henna tattoo on her hand which has only just washed off!!!
As we returned to the ship the locals had bought out some camels to ride on, not something that any of us fancied trying!!
Safely back on the ship!! It was a day of huge contrasts if we ever go back, I will just walk around the port!!
We were glad to set sail that evening , the following day was at sea as we cruised to Barcelona, a great city where I felt a whole lot safer!!!