Day By Day

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Tunisia Trip -- Part Thirty Seven

The next morning we were up early to get ready for our return to Northern Tunisia.

Then it was onto the bus for a short drive along the coast to the southern end of the island. That's Africa across the way.

Then bus and all we got onto a ferry that carried us across to the continent.

On the way I met a delightful young couple. Newlyweds. It is a custom in North Africa for brides to have hennaed hands. This woman proudly showed me hers.

After a short transit of calm waters we arrived on the far shore. It was still too early for much activity and boats sat empty on the sand.

Then we settled in for a long drive northward along a two-lane road that served as the major traffic artery between Triploi and Tunis.

Perhaps the most common and therefore disturbing image of our trip. Everywhere we went we saw men idling in roadside cafes. It mattered not what time of day, they were there. And it was not just young men. Many of them were middle-aged and older. Our guide told us that the population was about ten million people, but that the workforce comprised only about three million. That makes for lots of unemployed men who spend their days just sitting.

We saw a lot of these too. Barbecues and butcher shops with freshly slaughtered animals proudly on display. We were still fairly close to the Libyan border and we were told that many people crossed over from Libya to Tunisia to buy food and other essentials because the prices were better.

North we drove, through Gabes toward Sfax where we stopped for lunch. Then it was on the road again toward our destination -- El Jem. Here are a few shots I snapped along the way.

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