Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Vandals at the Gate

So my experience in Tunisia can sort of be summed up as a series of taxi rides.  Sadly this is what my life has become when I drop into a country for a few short days to attend some meeting or another, and the only people I interact with are those serving me something at the hotel or driving me from one point to another. 

 There were some good ones (see below) and some not so good ones (the piss poor behavior of the guys hanging out across from the Sheraton make me feel much better about “random” airport screening).  And while it probably is not a good representation of the Tunisian people in general, it handily provides me with enough of a narrative thread to string together these pictures. 

So I get off the plane exhausted from a ridiculous trip from Monrovia, and hop into the first thing on the airport taxi line.  Despite a bit of miscommunication, we eventually get ourselves on the right path.  Just in time to watch the van in front of us crash hard into the car in the next lane and take off blazing.  Enter the unlikely buddy cop team of Driver and Economist. 

Coordinated through a series of gestures and grunts, he speeds down the fleeing car while I get the license plate.  Which we loop back to give to the perplexed but grateful Citron driver now missing a significant portion of their right front end.  A quick wordless nod to acknowledge a job well done and then we return to the previously schedule economic transaction.  

Due to a quirk of scheduling of Royal Air Maroc, I have the whole day after the workshop to spend tooling around the sites in neighboring Carthage.  In the midst of historic ruins and informative museums, what I really want is for the driver to stop at the graffiti covered door to one of the numerous residential compounds so that I could take a picture and cleverly name this post “Vandals at the Gate.”  Alas with my previously mentioned communication difficulties, I basically was gesturing at obscene or political graffiti in Arabic and making a camera motion.  He probably thought I was a sex fiend or a spook.  (I am not sure which is worse.)

One of thing of note - Carthage has lots of mosaic floors.  With my little pocket camera, I had to spend nearly 30 minutes to get the exposure right on this beautiful floor that I found in an underground chapel.  And then less than a hour later I come across this giant storehouse.  If I had been going directly back to DC, I might have tried to negotiate for one to replace the floor in my guest bathroom.  I am sure that my Global Entry status would not have been jeopardized by a little antiquity smuggling?

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