A Travellerspoint blog

The Real Tunisia...

My favourite one...

sunny 34 °C

A 2 hour Louage back to Tunis; then another 3 hour trip and suddenly you find yourself exactly where you didn't want to be, Hammamet. European prices, heavily tattooed pasty English families and Medina that would have been beautiful in it's day but is now riddled with 'Tourist Police' and hawkers. I forked out the 40 Dina for one of the cheapest hotels in town and having decided I was going to milk every service I could out of my 40 Dina I spent the afternoon by the pool reading my book and getting a tan, whilst planning my escape route for early the next morning.

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After almost emptying the buffet breakfast at 7am I was ready to make my way to Kelibia about 70km further up Cap Bon. I enquired at reception what was the cheapest way to get to the Nabeul bus station in the next town;
"6 Dinar by taxi." Was the response, however when I asked again were they sure there wasn't a cheaper mode of transport like a bus, they raised their eyebrows with surprise at my apparent reluctance to pay 6 Dinar.
"Yes; there is the local bus that leaves from just up the road for 800 millime (0.8TD)."
With a 'Shokran' and a smile I was off.

30 minutes of waiting on the side of the road watching around 15 buses fly past with 'Tunisian Tours' splashed across their sides I was on the verge of giving up and taking the next taxi that slowed down in front of me, Dinar signs in the driver's eyes as they spotted my backpacks. An elderly Tunisian man crossed the road and walked over to me grinning, obviously taking much amusement from the fact I had attempted to wave down every passing vehicle with more than five seats, to no avail. As he approached, the smell of either him, the bin he was carrying, or both, started to flood my senses making me almost cringe as I attempted to smile. He started pointing to a bench about 500m up the road which I guessed was where I had to be for the bus. I thanked him and walked over to the bench and within the next few minutes I was boarding the bus. Once again I was the only Westerner on a packed mode of transport and was met with not smiles but stares as I took up two seats with my backpacks.

The local bus took me to the next town north, Nabeul, only slightly smaller than Hammamet it was still riddled with tourists. I had been told by one of the only women that had talked to me openly in Tunisia that to catch the louages on to Kelibia I would have to walk to the other side of the medina. The medina’s in the tourist towns of Hammamet, Nabeul and Tunis, were nothing like the medina of Bizerte I had been wondering through several days earlier. I wandered into a store selling sandals, keen to get another pair after leaving my Moroccan pair with a mate in Biarritz.
The sales assistant instantly jumped to his feet and ran over to me, hitting me with the sales pitch;
“Hello my friend; all real camel leather; perfect for you my friend; good price my friend; you try these; what size my friend? I say 40; I am right aren’t I my friend?” And then paused for a breath.
I liked the ones he’d grabbed for me but I was going to do all I could to limit the interest I showed in them.
“How much?” I said looking over his huge collection.
“Good price for you my friend; 60 Dinar.”
I laughed straight at him and walked out of the store, knowing perfectly well that this wouldn’t mean an end to the bargaining. He ran out into the street after me, sandals in hand;
“How much you pay my friend?” I had almost forgotten just how many salesmen friends I had made in Morocco.
“No more than 10 Dinar.”
“Ok, I give you 40 Dinar my friend, good price.”
“10 Dinar?”
“20 Dinar, my friend perfect price, you pay twenty Dinar.” His act was going perfectly and right on cue he started to loose his friendliness, putting the sandals into a plastic bag and shoving them in my hand.
“So 10 Dinar is ok?” I said smiling.
“15 Dinar sir; incredible price, so cheap, real camel my friend.” For a second time I walked away.
“Ok! Ok!10 Dinar.” But it still wasn’t over. As I pulled the 10 Dinar from my pocket to pay, his voice became calm and in a whisper he said;
“10 Dinar for the boss my friend, but give me two Dinar to buy a Coke.”
Once again he was met by my laughter;
“It’s Ramadan mate!”
He smiled, the transaction was now complete.

The louage from Nabeul to Kelibia was one of the longest I had caught, and the smell from the vomit like splatter near the side door gave me even more reason to stick my head out the window for most of the trip. Desert landscape to the left, ocean to the right, the scenery was far from ever changing.

Arriving in Kelibia I was only slightly disappointed to find that my awaiting group of taxi drivers had been reduced to two young men, who seemed to have more interest in kicking rocks on the side of the road than getting me to take their taxi. Once again I opted to walk; and two hours later I was covered in sweat and blisters (partly due to my newly aquired camel sandals) standing in front of my nights accommodation.
'Le Maison de Jeunes'; 'House of Youths' is a sort of youth hostel run by the Tunisian government providing accommodation for 5 Dinar a night. (2.8 Euros; the same price as an Espresso in Paris.)
The building resembled a barracks, with the 40 rooms each containing 5 beds. On this particular night I was the only visitor and after paying for my nights accomodation with one coin, I was given the key to my room and was firmly told to;
"Make sure you keep the door locked!" I did as I was told.

Feeling a bit uncertain about the hostels safety I hid my biggest backpack behind my bed under a sheet, taking all my essentials (passport, credit card, vegemite) with me. The hostel/barracks is situated just north of the town's port, between the ocean and Kelibia's main tourist attraction, the Carthaginian fort. Overlooking the town of Kelibia and the beaches to the north it is almost worth the 3TD admission fee, angrily snatched off me as I tried to get a student price.

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Since the original fort was built by the Carthaginians it has been destroyed and rebuilt a number of times; destroyed first by the Romans after the second Punic War;

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It was then used during the Arabic conquest, by the Byzantines, then was used as a religous centre between the 13th and 16th century and was again rebuilt by the Ottomans. With the latest edition being gun-emplacements installed by the Italian and German forces during the Second World War;

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Wandering around the fort taking in every view became an exhausting task as the sun continued to rise, with the only shade being provided by a lone fig tree in the centre of the fort;

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The irresistible sandy white beaches to the north of the fort were to be my next destination and whilst walking in the dust along the road side I decide that this was probably the safest place I would find in Tunisia to give hitching a go.
As first car approached, I nervously stuck my hand out;
The 10th car to pass was a 4 door pickup that slowed to a halt 50m in front of me. Running to the passenger window I was telling myself that if the guy looks incredibly suss I'll pretend as though I was merely asking for directions. The guy was young, in his mid twenties, stuffing a chicken sandwich into his mouth, mayo dripping down onto the coke bottle in his lap. I had a little laugh to myself as I was confronted with, yet again, a complete disregard to the fact Ramadan. His French was poor, but I managed to describe 'beach' with numerous hand actions and freestyle strokes and 10 minutes later I had my feet in the sand at the secluded El-Mansourah beach, where my only fellow beach goers were a group of three arabic men practicing their beach volleyball skills.

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The water was perfect and a strong onshore wind had created some little wind waves. After going without surf for over a month and a half, the longest without in about 5 years! I lay on the beach with a beaming smile after 20 minutes of bodysurfing the crumbling waves into shore. The heat on the beach had become almost unbearable and running low on water I headed back to the 'Youth Home' for some food and siesta.

Returning to the beach at night I was stunned to see the beach was now covered with hundreds of people swimming, laughing, building sand castles and of course, playing volleyball.

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Having played a season of volleyball in Australia a couple of years ago I new the basic rules and what a good game should look like, and honestly, these guys were awesome! Whilst travelling through both Morocco and Tunisia it was on the rarest of occasions that I saw locals playing sport; and even then it was mostly children and youths. But here two teams of middle aged Tunisian men spiked and slammed the ball over the net into the sand with an intensity you would expect from an Olympic team;

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As I sat on the beach that evening in Kelibia, I was witnessing so many elements of Tunisian culture that I had either misunderstood or didn't even know existed. Families sat about building sand castles with their children, grown men splashed and tackled eachother in the water, youths ran around chasing a soccer ball, women and girls swam in t-shirts bodyboarding small waves into shore;

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Could these be the same men that haggle me at taxi stations? The same youths that try to sell me hash? The same women that hide themselves behind their clothing and will never answer to my hello?
The effort of dragging myself out of the touristic traps of Tunis and Hammamet had finally payed off; I was finally seeing the real Tunisia, the Tunisia that a Two Week Day Spa Package Deal will never let you see;

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Then suddenly the crowd started to disperse; the volleyball ended, families packed up and headed to their dual cabs that lined the beach (fitting on average 8 people); because of course;
The sun had set, and it was now time to eat!!

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Garrett in Kelibia Tunisia

Posted by clancy_of_ 05:20 Archived in Tunisia Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Fish Fillets in Bizerte;

and the 'Cronulla Riots';

sunny 37 °C

Morning dawned and some exploration was to be had. I had heard of some beaches about 7km south of Bizerte known as Remel Plage, aparently among some of the best beaches along this stretch of coast. Turning a corner towards the beach I was confronted with a forest of Eucalyptus trees, Australian smells about, I half expected to see a couple of 'Drop Bears'. The trees began to thin and the road opened out, over the dunes and through the shrub I looked out to the sea in front of me, dropped my bag and dived straight out into the clear blue 25 degree Mediterranean water.

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The water was perfect and I instantly regretted not having any snorkeling gear. I shared the beach with one Arabic family and a couple of very obese, very white European couples. Looking south into the distance I could see what I made out to be a couple of shipwrecks and decided to head in that direction. This stretch of coast is dotted with empty bays;

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After rounding into the third bay I noticed I shared this stretch of sand with an old Arabic man and his dog. The dog instantly looked up at me as I came into view and slowly started to creep over towards me. One line from the my guide to Tunisia started to turn over in my head;
"Malaria is not a problem, but precautions against Rabies should be taken."
The dog made it's way up to me with it's owner hanging about 50m behind him waving his walking stick in the air shouting in Arabic. The froth mouthed dog started snapping at my feet covered by nothing but a pair of mere thongs; (or 'flip flops' for any international readers).
I just stood there looking at the stick near my feet thinking; if I pick it up and throw the stick it may go away. Then thought, if I bend down, I may never even get the chance to pick the stick up. So I just stood there staring at this frothing mongrel snapping and barking away until it's owner hobbled over and smacked it with his walking stick. Looked at me said something in Arabic and laughed. I pretended to unterstand, laughed, said;
'Shokran' (Thankyou) and headed off towards the wrecks;

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Another half an hour of walking in the glaring Tunisian sun, a couple of dives into water and a final bay I was confronted with one of the shipwrecks; well 'half' of one of the shipwrecks, with the other half nowhere to be seen.

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I saw a couple of snorkellers swimming round the side of the ship, and again regretted not having any gear with me.
The second wreck was not in a bay, but lay at the edge of a rocky outcrop. I made my way over the rocks regularly glancing towards the barb wire fences that lined the dunes, hoping I was allowed to be near the wrecks.

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The largest of the wrecks looked as though it had been there for at least a decade with it's metal shell being all that remained. A small 3 person fishing boat was moored along side, giving an idea of the size of the wreck;

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On my way back I ran into a French family lazing on the beach, that had been living in Tunisia for the past three years. They offered me a lift back to Bizerte and with the sun really starting to throw out some UV's I decided not to turn it down. The walk back to the car was a fair hike, giving me the time to talk to them about what they had been doing in Tunisia. They had come over as part of an International Aid Foundation to work in Tunisian schools, and having loved the challenge, decided to stay on and were now the Tunisian representatives for the Foundation. However they were soon to be moving back to France because;
"When we arrived three years ago and you asked a someone in Tunisia if they were Muslim they would often reply yes, but would say that if they weren't it wouldn't really make a difference and they would still be the same person. However with the international situation changing it is no longer like that, 'Passion for the Koran' and 'Islamic Extremism' has become a fashion and has made it a lot more difficult to live in countries like Tunisia."

It was interesting to get this first hand impression of the situation. The same man who tried to convert me to Islam yesterday had asked me;
"What was all that stuff that happened in Australia with the Lebanese, where even the women were hitting them near Sydney." It took me a moment to realise he was talking about the 'Cronulla Riots' that occured in 2005. I tried to explain to him that it was just initiated by a small group of basically 'pissheads', and that it was by no means a reflection of all Australians.
I told him how it was immediatley frowned upon by the entire Australian community and that those who initiated and participated in it were dealt with and/or sent to jail.
"No, we saw it here on T.V. and they said that this was occuring regularly in Australia."
I'd simply laughed at the comment and quickly changed the subject.

Well I'm back in Bizerte and it's after 7:30pm so I can finally eat according to 'Prophet Mohammed'; the spearfisherman down the beach seemed highly active this afternoon so hopefully a nice fish fillet will be on the menu;

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Garrett in Bizerte; Tunisia

Posted by clancy_of_ 01:38 Archived in Tunisia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Tunisian Coast;

A Small Adventure;

sunny 38 °C

"This is Africa"; the sun always brighter, the scenery ever changing and the people so diverse. It's hard not to fall in love with it, and I'm beginning to get the feeling I have.

From the moment I stepped off the flight and felt the warm Saharan wind almost send my passport flying from my hand; memories of Morocco came flooding back, but this wasn't Morocco, this was Tunisia.

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After almost 5 months of living in touristic Europe I reached Barcelona with an 'I'm completely over this' attitude, the crowded streets, the Irish pubs and the flyers renting scooters saying 'see Barcelona like a local'. I needed to get out, somewhere different, and with 59 euro return flights, Tunisia was the call.

I had planned to bus up to the town of Bizerte on the North East coast, but with Ramadan having started the day before everything was a bit out of schedule and I was informed by one of the 20 machine gun wielding police officers that my only hope was a taxi and with 50 Tunisian Dinar (30 Euro) being the best offer I decided to give it a miss and opt for the 10 Dinar trip to Tunis centre in a taxi that had to be push started by the drivers three mates.

Lonely planet said the airport trip to town should cost 4 - 7 Dinar, so when the unmetered taxi stopped at town and I gave him 10 TD, I knew I was giving a fair tip and waited for a smile and thankyou, but instead recieved;
"10 Dinar, thats good for you."
Shocked, I smiled and replied;
"It's good for both of us."
He looked me in the eye firmly;
"No it's good for you."
Talk about great first impressions of a country.

At this point all I wanted to do was check into my hotel.

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I had made brief back up plans for Tunis had a couple of hostels in mind. For 15 Dinar I got my little piece of paradise, two single beds, there were no single rooms, a sink and few friendly looking bed bugs. Lucky I had my trusty Mountain Designs sheet to block out the little black buggers. I opened the blue shutters to check the view to be lucky enough to catch the African sun setting over the Tunis medina.

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Saturday morning dawned and I woke to my favourite arab alarm clock, "Allah Prayers" at 5:30am, and with the medina speakers just outside my window there was no way I was sleeping through it.

It was still dark and about 30 degrees; so I decided to make for an early start.

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Backpack ready I started walking to the Tunis northern bus hub, Bab Saoun, and whilst it was a good 5km away I thought it best to walkto avoid another taxi rip off. An hour later and with a t-shirt full of sweat, I'd made it.

Louages are often the cheapest and fastesy way to get between cities and towns in Tunisia. Hundreds of the red striped nine seater vans pack into a parking bay, with the drivers wandering around outside yelling their van's destination. I approached Mr 'Bizerte' and with a nod of my head I was being loaded into the van. The driver won't leave until the van is full, so how fast you get there really depends on how many people are heading where you are. They are super cheap, 3.95 TD for the hour trip to Bizerte, instead of the 50 TD I was offered the night before.

It was Ramadan and all muslims are prohibited to eat or drink (even water) between sunrise and sunset, this is a hard task for someone carrying 25kg worth of baggage across a country in 38 degree heat. Unsure if me eating and drinking would cause anyone to take offence, I crouched in the back of the van secretley eqting some biscuits and drinking a bit of water.

On arrival at the Bizerte bus port a group of Arabic middle aged men sitting across the road were pointing and laughing in my direction. Being the only westerner in sight I was sure the were just amusing themselves with the usual 'White Englishman' jokes. Then the oldest of them walked over to me, grabbed both sides of my belt, yanked my pants up and accompanied by the laughter of his mates told me in his best French that;
" I looked like an absolute idiot with them so low. " I laughed, made a 'west-side' sign with my hand and told them;
"It was fashion!" We all laughed and the same old man pointed towards the town centre and helped fend off the seagull like taxi drivers that pounce on you the moment you step out of any mode of transport with bags and a European look on your face.

Beautiful Bizerte is an enchanting place,

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Eucalyptus trees brought over by the French line the new port banks and the towns surrounding beaches whilst the still glassy water of the towns old port reflect the Cuban like colours of it's surrounding houses.

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Small brightly coloured fishing boats fill the tiny port;

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Children play alongside their boats;

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Whilst the fortified walls of the towns medina run along it's side.

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However it isn't until the sun slowly fades behind the medina's stone walls that the port's true beauty begins to show.

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Ramadan can be both a challenging and exciting time to visit Islamic towns like Bizerte. With tourism almost non existant it is impossible to find a cafe or restaurant that opens before 7:30pm, when a small firwork indicates an end to the day's fasting. You almost have to go on the fast yourself unless you stock up on fruit and biscuits from the market, sneaking away to your hotel room throughout the day for a quick snack. (Something I can't deny doing.)

After the sun goes down the streets come alive; cafes fill, stores open, the shishas come out and it usually stays that way until about 3 or 4 am. So in actual fact, with everyone usually sleeping in till at least mid day, Ramadan could be seen as not a fast, but just a month where everyone in the arab world goes nocturnal, sleeping by day and living by night.

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Becoming lost in medinas has definitely become a favoured pastime, the narrow stone passages hide the real Tunisian way of life. Children dart in and out from behind large wooden doors, trying to get a look at the scruffy haired western man wandering around their town, whilst cats fill almost every alley;

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Scouring through rubbish, staring up curiously at passers by.

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Whilst leaving the medina I was approached by a tall Arabic man, who began to guess my nationality. After about 15 guesses he said New Zealand, I thought he was close enough and told him I was Australian. He started passionately talking to me about the Koran, with a free afternoon and being slightly curous about Islam I walked and talked with him for over 4 hours. Never in all of my life have I been more preached to. In an attempt to convert me to Islam he recited me stories from the Koran, told me women have more rights in the Muslim world than in the West, gave me atleast a hundred reasons why everything good about the 'West' originates from Islam, pointed out that Israel was 'created by America to divide Africa from the East' and then invited me round for dinner and offered me his sisters room at his parents house to crash for the night. With the 4 hour conversation having completely satisfied my curiosity and no longer having a free afternoon I told him thanks for the offer and with a small amount of relief caught the next taxi back to my hotel 'Hotel De la Plage' for a few biscuits.

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Pool halls are a great way to both meet local teenagers and pass away the Ramadan nights; Arabic teens are great to talk to, religion is rarely a subject as they would much rather spend there time debating over which is the better soccer team Madrid or Barcelona?

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I decided that explaining them 'I wasn't a soccer fan and actually followed a team called Collingwood in the Australian Football League' would be just to complicated, and had a stab in the dark and said Madrid. I was instantly greeted with smiles all round; so I'd obviously made the right choice and some sweet games of pool followed to end the night;

Garrett in Bizerte; Tunisia.

Posted by clancy_of_ 09:09 Archived in Tunisia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Barcelona;

"I am Thomas and these are my 'Body Shots.' "

sunny 24 °C
View My Gap Years :) on clancy_of_'s travel map.

The streets are filled, the beaches packed, hostels overbooked and a complete vibe of insanity is about. With a road trip down Mexico on the agenda for next year, and my Spanish being almost as bad as my Indonesian I made the slightly rash decision to set myself up in this tourist run metropolis. Work for a month or two, improve my Spanish and then have enough cash to laze away some Moroccan sunsets after a surf and Tajine, before trotting off to Ireland. The work came fairly easy; an Aussie bar called Hogan's on the Rambla. Good hours, half price drinks and 8 screens constantly playing the Rugby World Cup, what more could a guy ask for?

The best thing about Barcelona is that there is always something happening, wether it be a man dressed in plastic bottles pointing a gun at you;

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A street Protest for Catalan Day;

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Luminous girafes and elephants powered on gas trotting down The Rambla or the International Breakdance Group putting on a street concert.

Anyone that has been to Barcelona will tell you over the street performers that line The Rambla, dressed up as anything from Incredible Hulk, to the Grudge. When work is over, and shopping needs to be done, whats the point in going home to get changed when the supermarket is just across the road? So don't be surprised to see the Incredible Hulk in the Cold Meats section of the Monoprix supermarket just off The Rambla.

In search of a postcard for 'the sis' I wondered into a small boutique just off The Rambla and overheard these two girls speaking English at the counter. Having no plans for that afternoon and thinking to myself, what's there to loose, I asked them if they knew of a good place for coffee. Lucky enough they were just heading to get some and invited me to come, sweet as. It turned out the girls were from Finland and Sweden, work for European modelling agencies and had just been flown into Barcelona for a month to do some shoots. We spent the entire afternoon in a little restaurant by the port talking about life, travels and Barcelona. Then Steph asked me what I was doing that night, I said nothing and she asked would I like to, go to a restaurant/club called Buddha Bar for a free three course meal, beer, wine, champagne and music.
Would i like like to? I'd love to!
The only catch was I had to say my name was Thomas, I was a model for Sweden and was working for the agency L'Arencia in Barcelona. With the Year 8 Drama award under my belt, I was sure I could pull it off.

At 9:30pm we met near the restaraunt, ran over the details and walked in. We were immediatley greeted by a very happy and very gay Spanish man;
"Ah! 'ere are ze beautiful girlz and boy, welcome to Modelz Night." (Proceeding to kiss both the girls on the cheek and look me up and down and shake my hand.)
"Ze bar is open, ze uther models 'ave not arrived yet, proceed." Walking down the steps towards the bar all I could think about how good this was; the place was amazing. Small couches and tables surrounded the dimly lit bar; with Buddhas filling in the spaces, there was even a heavily cushioned 'lounge swing' that slowly rocked back and forth.
We hit the bar, and it was damn lucky the drinks were free, or I would have been out of cash after the first beer.
Then from behind us came a;
"Oh I am sorry could I get your names to cross off ze list." The girls replied and he turned to me.
With my free $14 Heiniken in hand and a small smile across my face,
"Thomas." I replied, and I was in.

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We spent half an hour sitting amongst cushions, our feet on poofs, drinking away, until we were invited to the table. There were 8 of us and it turned out that I had come with the only girls who came that night, from the moment I sat down at the table I felt like I was in 'Zoolander'. There were 5 'other' male models at the table, two from Senegal, living in Paris, one from Belgium, one from Holland and an American. We wined and dined; on easily the best food I have eaten on this trip, and our table's personal waiter was always ready to fill up my wine glass or get another beer.

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The highlight however was when the American leaned over Steph to talk to me;
"So how long have you been modelling for?"
"A year now, first time in Barcelona though." I took a deep breath, it felt like it was going well.
"So do you do body shots?" Unsure as to what the hell body shots were, and hoping it didn't mean complete nudity I said,
"Yeh, just body shots."
Then suddenly, the strongly built 21 year old American began to break down in front of me;
"Really? Like how do you stay in shape? Do you eat well? Like your drinking lots of beer, is that going to affect you? Like, I go to the gym a lot, and go running. My agency wants me to do body shots, but I'm still new at all this stuff. See the other guys they have it easy, they just do face shots, I don't know, it's kind of stressing me."
I sat there, staring at this guy, and all I could hear was this voice in my head saying;
"You have GOT to be kidding me!" Whilst he looked at me, waiting for my response.
Trying to keep myself from laughing I replied;
"Yeh well it's tough, but you'll get there. Just make sure your eating well, it's a lot harder in a foreign country where your unsure about which foods are good for you. So just keep up the sport, there are lots of gyms and pools around, I usually just head down for a swim each morning."
Nodding, the American leant back into his chair, obviously reflecting on my 'words of wisdom'.
Steph just looked at me shaking her head, and laughed.

The night was spent talking 'modelling' and I just spent my time, sitting back drinking my free wine, listening as they talked about shoots, stars, Paris, Milan, Hong Kong, Vogue and anything else in between and honestly the general conversation was pretty boring, with awkward silences being the theme.

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Lucky I had Steph next to me and we just chatted about her life in Sweden, and my planned trip to Tunisia. We even recieved some live entertainement from a couple of breakdancers, that danced around the restaurant.

An amazing night, mainly because it was a world so different to the little surf town I grew up in, in country Western Australia.

I've spent the past 4 days just organising work, packing my bag for Tunisia and wandering the lively streets and palm tree courtyards of Barcelona with Steph,

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Garrett in Barcelona;

Posted by clancy_of_ 14.09.2007 02:29 Archived in Spain Tagged round_the_world Comments (3)

Last Mintue Changes in Portugal;

But it's all good;

sunny 35 °C

Little Lisbon shocked me in many ways, it's architecture, growing wealth, beautiful harbour side location and trams, just to name a few. Whilst my first day in Portugal was lost to sleep, in an attempt to make up for the night train experience, my other 4 days were jam packed with beaches, clubs and Portuguese food and drinks.

The long white sandy beaches across the harbour from Lisbon are a nice relief from the rock sized sand grains that cover the Biarritz shores.

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The water is about 4 degrees colder than that of Biarritz and the moment I dived in I noticed something very different; it felt fresh and clean. I had actually become so used to the water in Biarritz that I had stopped noticing how polluted it was. I swam, and tanned, and swam, and tanned until I fell into the deepest of sleeps, and drooled. After being woken by the searing heat, Carolina, Mafalda and I headed up to the little beach side restaraunt; to be treated to a slab of fresh Melon and a local beer Sagres.

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There are two 'real' Portugeuse beers, one being Super Bock and the other Sagres, and I am deffinatley a greater fan of the later. Another Portuguese drink that I loved, that I have to get the recipe of; is a mixture of; cut limes; sugar cane; ice and an alcohol, which I've forgotten.

On Thursday night, we headed to Lisbon's most stylish club, Looks.

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The three story port side club, boasts the best views of any club in Lisbon. With it's third story being an open air bar, overlooking the Port. With all drugs being 'decriminalised' in Portugal it wasn't a surprise to see joints being passed around most groups. The club has definatley been built with style in mind, and when you reach the third story and see it's lighting it shows;

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Before entering the club I was told that I was not aloud to speak English as the people here didn't like 'tourists', it was 12 euro entry and I was not keen on spending my night outside the club, so as told I kept my mouth shut. As we approached the door this 30 year old good looking women asked me for I.D, as I grabbed out my passport and waited to be rejected for being a 'tourist', she looked me up and down;
'really cute, where are you from?'
'Australia' I mumbled; she handed me back my passport.
She turned to the other bouncer;
'Australian ! Only 18! He's really cute, can we invite him?'
So after all the 'no english' talk; because I was Australian I could in for free and skipped the 12 Euro fee; stoked.

The monuments that line Lisbon's shores and the Bridge linking one side of the port to the other; are both well worth a visit. And on my last night in little Lisbon before flying out to Barcelona; I dragged my little touristy self down to the waterfront to get some shots;

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The largest monument is dedicated to the famed Portuguese explorers; who could easily be considered amongst the greatest.

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With a large map of the world at the base of the monument; dating the Portuguese colonies that spanned the globe.

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This would have to be the best monument I've seen on my trip; a shame it is almost impossible to see the world as those first explorers did.

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On Sunday morning; I got up early and headed to the airport; Carolina had become extremely nervous about the trip over the past couple of days and in the last 24 hours decided she would give it a miss. Ohwell; c'est la vie!....
I'm now chilling in Barcelona; learning Spanish and hooking up work in an Australian bar; I'm flying down to Tunisia for a week or two on Friday; which will be a sweet little adventure; and I can finally get back to eating cous cous, drinking mint tea and speaking a bit of Arabic, even if it is Egyptian Arabic;

Garrett in Barcelona, Spain

Posted by clancy_of_ 10:44 Archived in Portugal Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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