After the unreliability of the buses on my birthday I thought it safer to move around by louage from then on. These are shared taxi’s looking like vans which go long distances and cost just about the same as the bus and are quicker too. I was fortunate to be the last one to want a louage from Tozeur on the west coast to Gabes on the east coast which meant that we left instantly at 7am. Two more shorter distant louages took me to Matmata where it was my privilege to check into the Hotel Sidi Driss which doubled up as the Lars Homestead in Star Wars or Luke Skywalker’s home to put it more simply.
You don’t need to be a Star Wars fan to be intrigued by this type of underground “troglodyte” home as is proved by the many many buses which make a stop at this place on their way up and down the country. I was one of only two guests to be staying in the hotel that night as it is kind of dirty with poor service but small matters like that were never going to deter me! Throughout the day I spent many a moment lining up photo shots inbetween all the tourists popping by.
The town is a very small place with less than a 1000 inhabitants and I walked round the place taking in the Berber museum (basically just a simple underground home similar to the one I was staying at) and the Matmata Hollywood-type sign.
I went to the nearby hotel where Xavier (a French guy who I met en-route to Matmata) was staying to have a swim in their pool and I later witnessed a wedding which was very interesting. Lots of clapping and noise as a crowd of people paraded through the streets with the bride kept undercover on a camel as is tradition for these events which can last for up to seven days!
I even got a free cows-cous (Tunisia’s national dish) meal later that night at one of the towns two restaurants which was really filling. My night was later ruined however at Xavier’s hotel when I started to suffer absolute chronic toothache while drinking which was just unbearable. A nose-bleed at 3:30 am woke me up the following morning which all added up to it not being the most pleasant of nights but it was all worth it to me.
You can see other Star Wars Traveller entries by clicking on the following: