Wednesday, 8 August 2012


There aren't many places on earth where I feel completely happy.. but Tunisia is one of those places.
Last week was particularly special because I got to share my 'second life' with one of my best friends, Dearbhla.
This was our third adventure in 5 months and it too, was special. It could not have come at a better time either. SERIOUSLY.
It was a busy 9 days, between seeing friends, beaching it, tending to burns that 47 degrees will give you, and enjoying hotel life. 
There's no better place than El Mouradi Palace at summer time. There's something special about it : the music, the smells, the people from all over the world on their holidays. Beach all day, lovely dinners and shows every night. There's a special atmosphere that you can't find anywhere else.
"The Palace" is a place which holds a lifetime of memories for me - I grew up there. It is my favorite place in the world.

Days on the beach...

Me and Dearbh

Me and Roos

Noor, me and Roos

Beaching it!

My Dutch family who I love so much!

The day we were almost blown off the beach by a hurricane! Ah good hair day.

"Now everyone wants to get UNDER the hat!!"

To Sousse( via Noddy Train!) 

Last week I met my 'brother's' sister's new born - baby Samir. He is so beautiful. A little creature, so helpless and dependant ... his little arms and legs , and eyes just looking up at you. I could have sat admiring him for hours and hours (I sort of did.)

Eyes like his Uncle Ali

 A little bit of Irishness.... Ok, I realise the hat is large enough to act as a flotation device for him...give him a few months to grow into it.

At the Hotel...

It's funny - when the term 'at the hotel'  is used in my house, in any conversation, it does not refer to the Four Seasons, where I've been working for over a year,  it does not refer to my sister's hotel either, nor the hotel I worked before in Florida, or any hotel in the local area- it has always been THIS hotel:

My 2nd home

I don't know what it is, but the Tunisian night sky is always something amazing. The moon is so clear; the stars too, especially in Winter. If I wouldn't look like a weirdo, (or maybe if there's no one else around!) I love to look up and admire it...I find myself wondering who else is looking at the exact same sky, or the exact same star as me at the same time from somewhere another side of the world. When you look up for long enough, you're sure to see one shooting or falling.

Yummy desserts...

At a show..

Elise, Dearbhla and me and Noor

A trip to Hergla ...
Me, Souhir and Ali took a drive there one's about 15 minutes away from Port El Kantaoui.  It's so beautiful there- the water is so clear, full of little coves, and during the summer, lots of families on picnics, or going fishing and swimming.

My future sister-in-law!

A little bit of tennis...

Best laid plans..... Dearbhla and I had agreed we would play tennis or run every day... did not happen.. but from the days we did play, we had some visitors.

 Tennis with some of my favorite people in the world!

Evenings of Shisha and ice-cream...

Dearbhla's first trip in a louage... the lips show the smile, the eyes show the terror!!!

Waiting my visitor from Tunis

It's Ramadan now and a special time to be in Tunisia. For 1 month, the streets are quiet during the day, life begins at sunset when the fast is broken. All cafes are completely full from 21:00 until 3 or 4 in the morning with families, children and friends. Ramadan is a time for doing good - speaking good of people, giving to charity, prayer and general kindness and generosity to others. Everyone is tired during the afternoon, and if not working, taking a nap is the best thing to do! Life comes back to everyone after dinner and last week we had a delicious Ramadan dinner in Daddy's house with lots of laughs, amazing food, and the best company.

No food like home-cooked:) Cous Cous, Brik, and Chorba yummy!

Before and after dinner games! 

After each piece was placed correctly, there was a great cheer "Yayyyy!!!" and a round of applause from everyone to which Yazmine replied (each time) it was HER who in fact, got it. When it was finally finished, she was excited to tell her mommy that SHE did it alone!! Bless her patience, if I was alone, I would have given up before dinner.


 Sisters time!!!

As we were flying from Tunis, we decided to go the day before to visit a friend for the day and night at his hotel. It gave us the chance to explore the capital city of the country I love so much. A car picked us up, Zied came with us too, and brought us the 2 hour drive to Tunis. Most of the drive we were giving Dearbhla an Arabic lesson... she'll be almost fluent when she goes back! Well, she'll be able to tell jokes, count, call people crazy and tell people "it's very hot today" over and over again.
Our bags went on to the hotel, and we went straight to the Medina for some shopping.

On Ave. Habib Bourguiba

We visited another hotel from the El Mouradi chain which I had never seen before (except from the air arriving into the airport)

When we arrived to the hotel, our bags were waiting for us...

Dearbhla's book nicely placed on my bag! Arriving as guests of the General Manager, I'd say there were a few laughs before we got there!

We got massages/facials/manis and pedis that afternoon at the hotel and dinner in the evening. After that, we went to Sidi Bou Said. Being a summer night in the middle of Ramadan, it was nearly impossible to find somewhere to sit in a cafe but we managed it in the end. It's such a beautiful place with such a nice atmosphere. We had a walk around to admire the views, picked up a cotton candy(!) and then sat down.
For the entire time we were there, there was a group of people having a sing-song for at least an music, just singing traditional music and enjoying their evening. I didn't get too many pictures in Sidi Bou Said this time but if you want to have a look at how beautiful it is, in daylight : Click and scroll down a bit

The famous door of Sidi Bou Said!

It's always a good time for cotton candy

The cat jumped over under the moon

The next afternoon, we left the 40 degrees and sun to return to 14 degrees and rain. Lovely. I guess it's time to start planning the next trip... :-) 
More pictures to follow soon!!

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