Dave the motorhome has finally moved!! Our original plan was to head off for the ferry (which costs less than €5!) then make our way north on the mainland to Gabes. But as with the best laid plans, we took a route across Jerba and down its west coast and stopped. This must be what the east coast was like before all the hotels were built. So we’re now at a great wild camping spot right next to the beach (N33.83925 E10.74986). A little way along the shore a few fishing boats are tied to the rocks to stop them floating away – other than that, we’re alone.
Last night we continued our culinary carrot challenge. We bought shed loads of them at the market in Houmt Souk and are now Forrest Gump like (boiled shrimp, fried shrimp) having them with everything. So far we’ve had chicken couscous with carrot, potato and carrot mash and then honeyed carrot soup (thank you BBC recipes!) – it was really nice, even if I had put a tad too much chilli in it, but a touch of cream calmed it down and along with the home made garlic bread we were happily full. We’ll be able to see in the dark soon.
This morning the cloud let out a little bit of rain, which helped to ease us from our resting spot in Aghir. After a five minute maths lesson with the campsite manager who was trying to undercharge us, we filled up with water and took on an extra passenger. The night security guard had just finished his shift and lives in Midoun, six kilometres away, we were passing that way so he hopped on board. He seemed nervous to be getting into our ‘house on wheels’, it’s the done thing to remove your shoes around here when getting into a normal house, then he saw Charlie. Charlie sensed nerves, or something and went nuts. I’ve never seen him bark like that at anyone (except when our friend Mac used to visit!) and the poor security guard looked set to bolt. I grabbed the snarling fur ball and held onto him, ushering the guard into the safety of the passenger seat.
On our short drive we established that a football match with Manchester United the other night was good and there is something to see not far from where he lives! When it was time for him to jump out, he looked nervously round, so I wrapped Charlie’s bed over the top of him so the security guard could escape un-barked-at. We often joke at what a useless guard dog Charlie would be, but here where people are generally afraid of dogs he might just make the grade!
As we drove across the island I did my best to navigate while photographing various sights – but it’s tricky, I get transfixed by the people stood at the side of the road, and even more so by the people on mopeds. I realised yesterday that I was trying to get a photo of someone in a crash helmet (only seen on about one in ten) when at home the images of people without crash helmets would look odd! Unfortunately I am still to get an image of the elusive 1970’s swing-bin style helmets that fly past occasionally – I guess it’s my version of bird watching.
Driving along looking at the cars it’s as if we have been transformed back into the 1980’s, many of them – if in better nick – would be perfect for a series of Ashes to Ashes. Renault 5’s, Renault 19’s, Peugeot 106’s, this is where they all come for a second life!
Reaching Houmt Souk we quickly realised that the Carrefour we’d visited a few days before wasn’t the main one, there was a much larger one on the main airport road (not the road we’d parked on which also led to the airport – doh!), seeing the signs we thought we could stop, but a market day amount of traffic caused a rethink – there were people everywhere, it was as if it was opening for the first time today, either that or they were doing a deal on boxes of chocolates! As we passed the airport, a mass of fences, walls and barbed wire, the security guard sporting a gun half his size smiled and nodded when we realised we weren’t heading into his airport, but were simply one of the very infrequent cars heading for the west coast.
We pulled into a patch of land next to the sea and Jay and Charlie headed out to explore. Under the rocks hide crabs, many of them. Charlie loves crabs, but has only really encountered dead ones before. Scrabbling at a rock that he sensed has something good to munch under it, Jay helped by moving the rock for him only for a crab to make a run for it. Charlie pursued and got the little crustacean in his mouth before triumphantly trotting off to munch his prey. A few seconds later a yelp is emitted from the fur ball – the crab is dropped and scuttles off. Undeterred Charlie tries to find his attacker, but with no luck – probably a good job as he could lose his nose to one of these things, they aren’t small!
This afternoon I had a lovely nap looking out at the sea while Jay did some work. Then as the sun set we both headed out onto the sand dune in front of us and watched it set fire to the sea. The small blue fishing boats were being rowed back to shore and cast a silhouette in front of the display. We haven’t seen a sun set over the sea for ages – we’ve been facing east quite a lot – I’d forgotten how much I love them. To make it even more romantic, a tractor pulled up alongside us and three blokes got out and started shovelling sand into its trailer – well it is still Tunisia!
Back in Dave Jay prepared us a feast. Confit de Canard (we’d picked up a tin at Carrefour in Tunis – there is no Lidl here, so we’re fixated with Carrefours) our favourite French treat, roast potatoes and (of course) caramelised carrots and onions. Washed down with a box of Italian red wine it was heaven. I’m now sat here very full and very happy. It’s been a lovely valentine’s day, and not a card or rose in sight – they aren’t needed!