Friday, April 29, 2011

the food

in Tunisia was actually among the best I have had on any group trip.  of course it helped that we were only eight, nine with Mohamed who joined us for about half the meals.  one of the things we had frequently was soup- often this would be our starter course because salads were restricted to places where it was verified that they washed the makings in purified water. 

when we had salad it was excellent and I think I also mentioned that we had oranges at every meal.  really good juicy oranges! two other dishes that we were frequently served were tajine (an eggy souffle kind of thing with vegetables - that is named for the vessel it cooks in) and brik (brique, brick- not clear on the spelling.)

everyone has their own filling and their own technique.  some of ours had spinach and some egg and some veggies - each was excellent in its own way. 

so here are some photos- of the brik- brique- brick....

and a couple of tajines followed by the cooking vessel "tajine"

and some examples of Tunisian fare - a salad - followed by dates and oranges for dessert-

the dates were amazing- and seeing the date palm plantations in the oases was a real treat. until this trip I never knew dates grew on strands... silly city woman -

so that is a little more information on some of the food we had while we were visiting... oh and olives and harissa every lunch and dinner... along with generally excellent bread (occasionally a miss in that department but usually first rate.)

I do have an excellent olive photo from the Central Market in Tunis:

wow those look great- is there any reason we don't have olives twice a day here? I think it is an excellent idea and isn't the olive oil thing supposed to be heart healthy? LOL

things got interesting

when we left Tunisia - the NYTimes had a piece today on the refugees in Tataouine which was VERY complimentary of the Tunisians and their support of the refugees but not so complimentary on the Libyans-

here is a quote that I noticed right away because we stayed at the Hotel Sangho in Tataouine at the end of our trip-

A number of Libyan refugees have made prodigious use of their new found access to liquor, scarce in Libya. At the Hotel Sangho, one of just three establishments in Tataouine licensed to sell alcohol, nightly sales of Celtia, the local beer, have risen almost eightfold, to 180 bottles.  “They ought to be over there fighting, not here drinking,” said Dab Abdel-Kader, 28, who works the night shift at the bar at the Sangho. Libyan men brought four prostitutes to the bar last week, he said, and fights broke out.

You may even recognize this photo from an earlier blog post: The pool in the evening -

Here is another - the door to my room - comfortable if not luxurious....

the hotel was actually pretty nice  and we wouldn't have gone near the bar anyway, as it was billowing cigarette smoke into the lobby area nearby. but apparently even when we were there, an incident of boorish behavior happened and Mohamed intervened to help out the hotel manager. 

a group of  20-somethings came to the hotel and were drinking and demanded that they be allowed to bring their friends back to the hotel (even though they were not staying there) to use the pool and the hotel manager tried to be nice and tell them no in a round-about way and they got rude.  Mohamed got angry about their rudeness to the hotel staff and told them to leave. 

I guess I was clueless about the bar patrons when we were there except for the annoying smoke...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


has definitely not sprung here yet. but we do keep hoping.  I ordered some tulips to make our indoors look a bit more seasonal even if the outdoors isn't.  I have lots of wonderful flower photos from all over and we sure could use some today- so let's see what I can find:

Poppies from Austria

Mixed bouquet outside our restaurant in Amsterdam

Protea from a trip to Maui Hawaii

A colorful assortment on sale in the central square of Brussels:

Beautiful hanging flowers in mid October in the Dordogne, France

A giant bowl of daisies at the entrance to the Rambagh Palace - the hotel we used in Jaipur India.

that should hold us for now- but we need some warmth - I have the feeling we are going to skip spring and go right into summer (not an unusual occurrence for Chicago...