Ok so we’re not quite in orbit, but we are stationary in Tataouine the town – not the planet from Star Wars, but I need to get the references in while I still can!. Dave the motorhome is still secure behind the big wall and security guarded gate of Hotel Gazelle in Tataouine (N32.92748 E10.44688).
Last night we decided to stop here for another day, we hadn’t really explored any of the town other than the supermarket and the internet connection is good (for a change) so Jay could get some work done. It was chilly last night so we’d popped our thermal cover into the large skylight, meaning this morning it was still very dark in Dave as the sun blazed outside. The heat from the sun was what woke me, at 10am! Don’t know why I’m always amazed at our ability to sleep for 12 straight hours.
While in the hotel reception miming that we wanted to spend another night in their car park the receptionist’s eyes were glued to the TV. All the writing on the screen and words spoken were in Arabic, but the images were obviously live ones taken from a helicopter of people gathered around some police cars. Back in Dave I checked out the BBC website to see that the leader of one of the opposition coalition, Chokri Belaid, had been shot dead this morning. I guess it’s a bit like waking up in the UK to find that Ed Miliband had been killed. As the day progressed the new updates reported riots in the streets, protests and calls for strikes.
Stepping out into Tataouine around lunchtime everything was as it was yesterday. I wonder if that has anything to do with this being a garrison town with many, many uniformed people wandering around – or if the trouble is only in certain ‘hot spots’ like it had been during the Arab Spring uprising. As we walked around I continued the internal turmoil of wanting a Berber cape, but knowing I’d never wear it apart from fancy dress. They are sold in the shops along with western clothes here, not in tourist boutiques, and if you ever wanted to be a Jedi this is the garment you need – they look great here on all the men wandering around wrapped up in them. My heart says get one, my head says no – it’s tough.
The only thing that had changed today was that when we went out for a walk we had Charlie with us and he seemed to cause more attention that usual. As usual lots of people stopped and stared, some pointed and giggled (surprisingly this was mainly young men) and parents brought small children over to stroke him. There are wild dogs here, but they are all a mix of breeds which somehow all look the same, short furred and a bit scary. We haven’t seen anyone here with a dog on a lead, let alone a furry little thing like he is.
I always thought the stares were like those someone walking down the main street of a town in the UK with a camel would get, but today my comprehension changed. As I walked past a couple of girls one of them stared me straight in the eye with a look of pure distaste, it made me feel very uneasy and small. I told Jay and mulling it over we came to the conclusion that some people will see Charlie as a status symbol, and that means we’re out there parading our wealth around – look at us, we can afford a dog. If the camel being walked down the street was a tiger with a diamond collar – the reactions would be very different. We do get a very different reaction when we’re out on our own. It’s odd how one look, which may have been totally unintentional, can throw you out for a whole day.
Leaving Charlie with Jay I popped into a patisserie and bought a couple of cakes to cheer me up, the woman behind the counter thankfully spoke English as I pointed and mimed what I wanted. She asked if I was on holiday here and when I replied yes to her question if I was enjoying it she looked surprised – I guess we’re not really in a tourist area at the moment, the tour buses stop in the hotels here (most of which are 2km out of town) in order to visit the surrounding sights, not Tataouine itself.
Jay’s cooked us up some of yesterday’s big shop for tea tonight, meatballs, and we’re on the wine. We’re keeping an eye on the news to stay clear of any potential ‘hot spots’ but from what I understand it’s all political protests, so unless I manage to navigate Dave into the middle of something I doubt we’ll see anything.
This evening I was cheered up after reading a lovely review from Campingly.com about our book – A monkey ate my breakfast. We’ve been selling it for just over a month but the only feedback we’ve seen is what has been put on Amazon, so it was so nice to read someone else’s thoughts.