Tunisia - Couscous in the Berber Tent

Tunisia - Couscous in the Berber Tent

We meet Ingrid and Mhamed again at the market in Douz. Together we stroll past the stalls, buying here and there a little vegetable, fruit and especially dried spices, lentils, beans and other dried products. It's just fun to watch the traders, sniff the scents and watch the hustle and bustle. And probably also to pay tourist prices.

We drink "Kaffee Tรผrk" together, amazed once again at how many people Mhamed knows. We listen to the conversations, not understanding anything, of course. But the sound of the language, the sun, the smell of cardamom in the coffee and the market hustle and bustle around us make us feel like we are in 1001 nights.

Mhamed invites us to his parents' house, where we can eat couscous with his family. Of course we don't miss this opportunity, together we drive out of Douz to his family. We sit together in the tent, the mum calmly makes jasmine tea, the dad, probably a bit older, lies there and listens to us.

A small table is set up especially for us, they even have plastic chairs for us. Probably, they think, we'd rather sit on chairs than on the carpets on the floor. Dad understands a little French, mum unfortunately only Arabic. And apart from "shkran" (shukra:n) we still don't know anything, unfortunately. The French that is everywhere makes it easy for us to communicate in Tunisia and we always forget to learn more Arabic words.

So we sit there, smile a lot, talk a little, but no conversation really takes place - how could it? Mhamed translates, but we have the feeling that the family here is not so attuned to tourists. We understand that and try to be as reserved as possible.

I have an idea: I get my knitting kit and start knitting while we wait for the food. The eyes of the women and children are on my hands, I often observe this in Tunisia. It's something you know but haven't seen for decades. Handicrafts connect, all over the world. Mhamed's mum tells me that she wove the fabric for the Berber tent herself years ago. It would have taken months. I can well imagine that, it must have been many lengths of fabric and long linear metres.

When I ask if you can buy wool anywhere here, that is, wool in thread form, I only get a shrug of the shoulders, no, nobody knows. Camel wool is very valuable and incredibly expensive, we couldn't afford it anyway. Okay, too bad, because I would have loved to buy a ball of camel wool for a hat. I call that memory knitting.

The food arrives, we all eat from one bowl, for dessert we have dates (of which we then buy the family kilos!) and finally jasmine tea. We are full of gratitude. Smile a lot.

Somehow it doesn't feel right to take photos. We do ask and out of politeness they say yes, okay. But somehow we have a funny feeling. So it remains with a quick snapshot and a few awkward souvenir photos.

A memory that we now carry colourfully and lovingly only in our hearts. The search for the "perfect photo" has always bothered us. Because what is the perfect photo? That which we see in Geo magazines or travel reports and then want to photograph. And then? You have made a journey and copied photos from "others", not your own journey, not your own experiences.

Not so easy if you always listen to your intuition and your own inner voice and don't just snap away. Not so easy to always think about everything and then still want to be respectful.

Not so easy. Nevertheless: the only way we feel good.

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Tunisia - Couscous in the Berber Tent

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Merci for "travelling with us

These weeks we are travelling through Iran. It's possible that we won't be writing posts or that they will be delayed. We first have to see whether we have enough internet or reception and whether it is suitable for us to publish from the country. And whether we will even manage to write down all the fantastic impressions in time.

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Elisabeth Smits,
1 year ago

Great photos and information. Please can you tell us how you do with wifi, telephone.
What do you use?

1 year ago

Thanks for enjoying our blog ๐Ÿ™‚
We use a router from Netgear and connect all our devices to it.
We bought a SIM card (only Internet) directly at the airport in Tunis at the Ooredoo and Orange shop. We wanted to be sure to always have internet and tried two providers.
Later during the trip, we only used Ooredoo. You can get more data volume in all the big Ooredoo shops. They charge 55GB for 55 TDN.
Only at one point did we have a problem with Ooredoo. Otherwise, the internet in Tunisia is problem-free. Especially in the flatter south including the desert (not in the deep desert maybe)! In the mountains in the north, you have to be a little careful if you want internet. You can check which provider has which prices.
We only made phone calls via internet services like WhatsApp or FaceTime. Our subscription from Switzerland is very expensive in Tunisia.
It is certainly possible to buy SIM cards with which you can also make phone calls. We didn't look at how expensive these calls are abroad.
Greetings Gerd