Mary, her boyfriend, Mahmoud, and I rented a car and drove to Sousse, just beyond Nabeul. It's a beautiful city with wide open streets (less dirty than Tunis) and loads of construction going on, see below. Sousse is Tunisia's third largest city (after Tunis and Sfax). The majority of people live in la ville nouvelle, a grid-city built by the French--and its grand Art Deco buildings definitely reflect French culture. On the way there, through the two hour drive, I got to see the "country side," meaning lots of olive groves and vineyards. (Tunisia produces huge amounts of wine, little of it is exported.)
Olive trees on the way to Sousse.
Very often you can see manicured buildings in the middle of nowhere; they're the offices for the national police. According to Mahmoud, any Tunisian on the street will tell you that a government priority is to keep the country safe... by having lots and lots of police and military personnel.
I like Sousse more than Tunis. It's right on the sea and it has a long pretty Corniche. As you can see in these scenes, it's a city in the making.
Mahmoud told me that the reason it's cleaner and better organized is that the city gets more money because President Ben Ali is from Sousse. Today was a day for meeting friends. In Sousse we met Nafissa at her house. She served us coffee and lots of hospitality. (This picture's for you M. V.)
And then we met Deborah and her two nephews-in-law; all of us went to the beach and then to late dinner at Sol Kantaoui, Tunisia's "riviera." It's a resort complex along a marina packed with ultra modern yachts. The harbor is dotted with cafes, restaurants and shops, and of course is full of tourists. We arrived just as the huge fountain lit up and started to move along with blaring classical music. Right near, there was a camel, and many were just leaving the golf course or returning from paragliding.
Mary and Mahmoud.