A good traveler has an open mind. And if not, then good travel jolts him or her out of the habit of falling in for the stereotype and see things as they really are and not as locals in either country would have one believe.
My recent trip to Tunisia made me into a bit better traveler, or so I’d like to believe. I went in with an image of ‘Arab Africa’ accompanied with a baggage of stereotype. Not that I have any problem with an Arab Africa (if there is such a thing) it is just that the phrase conjures up images which may or may not exist. They certainly did not exist in Tunisia.
Actually I encountered very little Africa or Arab here. Instead I found myself in a fairly modern, almost European country, with beautiful young people dressed incredibly fashionably, walking, sipping coffee and playing with cell phones at street side cafés. I must say that my experience was mostly limited to the capital city of Tunis, where I was attending the World summit of Information societies, and the Hammamet (a fairly modern beach resort about 70 kilometers from the capital) where I was staying. At both these places I encountered very little pollution, or poverty. The roads were as good as they may be anywhere in Europe, and the prices were as good as they would be any were in India. Incredible combination! To top it all, there were the un-spoilt Mediterranean beaches… The old is not very far away: the old forts, the ruins from the Roman times, the traditional bazaar, the typical Mediterranean architecture, are all there…
Perhaps this trip requires a more detailed report… till then here are some pictures from my recent trip.