August 17, 2006

Tunis: Initial days

I arrived in Tunis on 26th May 2006 and checked into the Hotel Les Ambassadeurs.

Les Ambassadeurs is a good hotel with decent location, reasonable charges and its safe. I guess the hotel was safe for women who wanted to stay alone because I noticed few women staying alone in the hotel for longer durations. It’s situated exactly opposite to Parc du Belvedere where I witnessed few most summer nights from the balcony of my room.

Few most beautiful urban nights I had ever seen. The café in the park was the only area lit with yellow lights. The sheer arrangement of colours at dusk made it a sight to be cherished. The blue sky, below that a layer of orange and yellow coloured skyline, then further below, a layer of greenish black skyline of the trees in the park and then a semicircle of yellow coloured café engulfed in the dark. If it was not too dark then one could also see a pair of fountains in the pond that circled the café, adding to the beauty.

Truly excellent urban night!

In the evenings, I used to go for a jog in the park in front. I had also reserved my early mornings of weekends for jog and walk in the park. The excitement and the eagerness to get up early on a Saturday was too much to feel lazy on a typical weekend morning. An early morning walk offered a different experience than what early mornings offered in most of the weekdays.
The fresh air, the dancing peacocks, the ducks and the geese ‘walking around with their kids in the pond’ and a herd of deer!

Soon after arrival in Tunis, I realised that I was at a place where no one spoke the language which I knew. The French and the Arabic is the language they speak and our boss was successful in instilling a fear in us about the possibility of getting robbed at the hands of local people. I kept to myself for a long time in the hotel while in Tunis.

This very notion that the locals are bad proved to be wrong in the first six weeks and I decided to roam around in Tunisia.

My experiences with locals were good and were refreshingly different from what I had come across in the United States, England and Scotland.

I regret that my experience with Arabs was less and it happened very late in my life. I should have got the opportunity to live and work with Arabs very early in my career and it should have been for a longer duration.

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