Saturday, March 03, 2018

Leaving Tunisia

For those mornings when you crawl out of bed at 5 a.m. in a stranger’s house in the Tunis Medina, pull the door shut behind you as you run through your list of possessions in your head, walk to Bab Mnara to hail a taxi, and the taxi drives you to the airport through empty streets with every warning light flashing, and then you get to use “special luggage” for your new Noah's Ark painting to travel to Barcelona, you need a pain au chocolate to start the day.

Tunisia is not what people think of when they think of Africa, mostly because Africa is what people associate with lions and Masaai warriors. In my mind, like most people, I associate Tunisia more with Morocco, Egypt, Libya,'s just what we do. But is IS Africa, North Africa, like all those other countries I just listed. I wondered, as I sipped my latte, what is the term for my interest in this continent? Like Frankophile or Anglophile, is there a name for the sort of person who likes to take share taxis around the continent? Cape-to-Cairo-o-phile? Bus-ist? And if I'm an Africa-phile, what do we call my various other fascinations? Wallaby-o-phile? Bangkok-o-phile? Bali-o-phile? Yogyakartist?

I'm not even sure it's travel I'm obsessed with. It's really just novelty and an adventurous romp. A good laugh helps.

I had been pretty rusty on this trip, having been chained to a desk for three-and-a-half years aside from my little test trip to Tijuana a few months ago, but I'd warmed up quickly. I was feeling stress now as I prepared to board the plane back to Europe, departing the continent of Africa where I'd been through so much in my other lives, residing in Cairo, Uganda, Namibia, Cape Town...taking public transit up the eastern side and down the western side. Spending time with Herr Marlboro back when I still thought relationships were something I might want to prioritize. I was just dipping a toe in here in Tunisia, but the thought of going back to Burbank and to work kind of broke my heart.

I boarded my flight for Barcelona, just over the Mediterranean. A short flight, less time than I'd spend getting from Burbank to LAX by public transit, but a world away.


William Kendall said...

I would like to see Africa someday. The Sahara fascinates me as much as the Serengeti.

Linda said...

Sorry you had to go back to work, but glad you have a job to complain about!