Day 2: Tunisian Outpost

Day 2: 01/Sept./2010
Through a thinly veiled haze of jet lag and associated hazards, i.e. sore throat, aching body and general confusion as to where north, south, east & west is in this new city I call home, I emerged this evening in search of sustenance. I have arrived on the Mediterranean shores at the end of Ramadan- which means procuring food during the daytime is next to impossible, in public anyway. My temporary residence is in the El Jardin area of Tunis. This area, at first glance, seems pleasant enough, and close to work with a 10-minute walking commute to work. I’m not sure I will stay in this area though as there is so much of the city to check out, and so very little time to do it.

Tonight, while in the elevator at Hotel Ariha, I was going up to meet a colleague for some dinner and some ‘talk story’ as we say in Hawai’i. As I was getting off on the wrong floor Analisa (a fiery Italian woman with loads of energy) stepped into my existence and now we are forever bound in that ‘happenstance’ meeting circumstance. As well we are now Face book friends- of course…Analisa (originally from Naples) was temporarily in town from Roma visiting friends. In a matter of a few seconds we were in the elevator together on a mission for some supper. My original dinner date did not appear at his doorstep when we finally found the right floor so we went off together.

Myself, I was weak from not eating since my arrival on Tuesday late morning (I could barely get out of bed to go out and get food but I knew the situation was soon to be dire if I didn’t find any), and Analisa on her last evening in the city before flying out in the morning. We scoured the streets looking for a restaurant but to no avail until we came upon Café De Palmerie on Rue De Egypte in the Lafayette neighborhood. As it is Ramadan only certain food was prepared. I had the most delicious Chorba and some crunchy filo pastry thing with an egg inside and some spices that topped it off. I devoured my food as we devoured our life histories. Together we had traveled the world, each relating different experiences and how they were to shape our lives. Analisa is an actress and I have been invited to Rome to see her perform. Of course I will make this happen.

Munir, a musician friend of Analisa, joined us afterwards for tea and conversation. Munir is apparently a fairly well known musician here in Tunisia (jazz-fusion, Sufi, etc) and he invited me to his performance on September 4 in La Marsa, a coastal community/resort area a few kilometers from Tunis.

So this is my story for the day but the point I want to express is that life is just so … happenstance. I started out my evening with every intention of having a difficult journey from jet lag, not eating, and general flu-like symptoms, and ended up encountering 2 more amazing people that populate the planet. I spoke neither French nor Arabic and Munir little English but all 3 of us were able to communicate and make a connection that will bind us together forever. This is a beautiful thing and one of the main reasons for my incredible journey out of the comfort of what I know to what I don’t know and just throwing myself into the arms of destiny.

On an ending note, I can’t wait to see our pictures posted on Face book! Now if only I can rid myself of this nasty sore throat that has attached itself to my being, trying to suck out the very life inside of me…