As soon as I arrived in Tunis I took a taxi straight to the Southern Bus Station and bought a ticket for Tozeur for 23 dinars (about £10) which was just about to leave and would take seven hours. Firstly, the bus was 40 minutes late which wasn’t such a problem, nor was the seat that I got at the back as some others were broken and the poor guy in front of me didn’t even have a backrest on his!
Prior to the trip I had anticipated a challenging survival-type holiday and just as I was thinking that it was going to be plain sailing the bus broke down. What followed was a wait of two hours by the road in 40+ degrees celsius heat in the middle of nowhere until a replacement bus arrived.
Despite the language problems (almost no-one in Tunisia speaks English) I managed to provide some entertainment by setting up a simple tin-can target for a stone throwing contest. Anything to kill time and try and lift spirits although it would appear that buses often do this in Tunisia. The next bus arrived with us five hours from Tozeur but that wasn’t the end of the trouble as the second bus broke down about an hour away from our destination but thankfully the wait for bus #3 was only about 40 minutes.
Having left Tunis at 11.40am I finally arrived in southern Tunisia after 9pm and after I’d checked into a hostel I went about looking for a beer which you wouldn’t think would be so difficult but it was as Tunisians don’t really drink beer (water, coffee and smoking through water pipes is what their bars are for) so it’s not sold hardly anywhere. Eventually I got word that it was sold at a nearby hotel.
Balloons, party-poppers, presents, people, music, fun, lots of alcohol – there was none of that!! Instead, I celebrated(?) my 32nd birthday all alone with a Tunisian beer in the lobby which indeed was a memorable day albeit not for such good reasons!