Friday, November 30, 2007


November 21-25, 2007
Tunis is absolutly beautiful and it is the most surprising country I have been to.

Day 1
Victoria and I left campus at 11:00 to catch our 11:47 train to Stuttgart. We arrived in Stuttgart on time and caught our train to Strasbourg. When we arrived at Strasbourg train station, we wanted to check our bags so that we could explore the city a little before making our way to the airport. We had a couple of hours to kill, but the stupid baggage storage cost 4 Euro per locker and we could not share one. So we just decided to walk around with them. However, when we got to the front entrance of the train station, we noticed it was raining, and that really put a damper on things. We decided it was not the best of ideas to walk around with our suitcases and get them soaked, so we sat in McDonalds until we needed to leave. We ate some food, played some cards, and got harassed by a couple of guys, the usual!! Ha ha. Anyway, we made it to the airport after taking a tram and bus, checked in and boarded the plane. We arrived in Tunis at about midnight, got our bags then looked for our driver. At first we thought he was the wrong person but it was too late, we were already on our way!!! It was really the car that threw us off, we were expecting a nice town car, but instead got an old beat up, Toyota Camry! We arrived at the correct house and deduced that it was in fact the right person! We settled in and hit the sack!

Day 2
We slept yesterday’s travels off until about 10am and woke up to a beautiful day. We went downstairs where Nora, the housekeeper, was making breakfast because the cook was out. We had a nice breakfast, and then got dressed for the day. Since it was thanksgiving, we decided to stay around the house. Aunt Cynthia had a few meetings and an early dinner with the US ambassador for Tunisia. Victoria, Maraion and I went for a little walk around the neighborhood. We were looking for a specific shop, but got lost until we asked someone, then we realized we had passed it two times! After the walk, Victoria and I decided it was too nice to be inside, so we went to the roof. We brought towels, cards, and music with us and spent the next couple of hours basking in the glory of WARMTH. It reminded me a lot of Arizona. The sun was waning, so we went inside and changed just before the guests started to arrive. Shortly after the guests arrived, dinner was ready, and it was a fest fit for a king! We ate, talked and laughed until people slowly started to leave. After the last person left, we changed into our PJ’s and watched CSI. It was so nice to finally watch American TV!!!! (The military had a TV network she had access to!) We went to bed shortly after 11pm!

Day 3
Today we ventured out into the city with Marwin, the driver for the ambassador. We went to La Mensa, the Cartage and Sidi Bou Said were we saw a lot of local life, and visited many shops. We saw some amazing seaside views of Tunisia. We spent most of the morning out and about, until we got a call form the ambassador. We had to go to her office and pick her up. So we drove over to the African Development Bank and sat in her office and waited for her for an hour. Victoria and I played cards. We left, went back to the house and ate a late lunch. We then drove over to the Tunis City centre, which is the most famous shopping mall in North Africa. We spent an hour there, and then went back to the house to get dressed for the Gala to be held in Aunt Cynthia’s (ambassador) honor. The Gala was really nice, good food, and many inspiring speakers. We went home and went to bed for another long day!

Day 4
Today Marwin took us to Sousse, which is a beautiful coastal town south of Tunis, but there were a lot of tourists! We spent the morning there looked in the shops, bought some stuff, then drove back up the coast to Hammamet. This city was so amazing, very pretty, small and a lot to do in the off season. We ate lunch at a nice small restaurant, I had steak and eggs, it was delicious! Then we took some pictures on the beach and drove to Nabeul. Nabeul is known as “pottery town.” The town has more pottery than I have seen in my life! We spent an hour in one store, bought some bowls and other dishes, then went back to the house. We had dinner together, watched the Island on TV, then packed and hit the sack for another early morning.

Day 5
Today was a long day. We woke up at 8am and ate breakfast together. Then Marwin took us to the Medina where we bought a lot of random gifts. I bought Converse’s and Victoria bought a lot of Pashminas! Then we went back home and had a small lunch and said good bye to everyone. We arrived at the airport and the day of travel began! We didn’t get home until 12:30. We even missed our train, but everything worked out anyway! We had a great time.

Tunisia was a 5. As beautiful and amazing as it was, Tunisia it is not indicitive of Africa. Don't be fooled!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


November 8-11 2007

The Blue Mosque is amazing at night and during the day!!
Day 1
Travis, Victoria and I caught the 8:44 bus to Stuttgart airport. Our flight, living at 11:00, was on time and arrived in Istanbul, after a quick layover in Zurich, at about 4:20pm. When we arrived, there was a man holding a sign with my name on it from the Antique Hostel***. We had pre-requested a pickup service, since it would be easier and saver, and since we really didn't know the city. The ride to our hostel took about 35mins, and it was nice to see some of the city by car first. We checked into our hostel, put our stuff down then decided to go out find food and explore the area close to our hostel! We found this restaurant, that looked nice, and sat down. We were the only customers in the restaurant. We decided to split some courses, but the restaurant was bogus!! The pictures where nothing like what was served, and we shared a shrimp platter that had maybe 5 shrimp on it! Then we had stewed fish, which was actually good. They kept bringing us bread and we thought we had to pay for it so we kept refusing it!! All in all it was a terrible first experience, we paid quickly and left!

Day 2
We woke up around 9:00am ate breakfast, got dressed, and then headed out for the day. We went into the Blue Mosque, and had to take off our shoes and cover our heads. It was interesting inside, but other people were rude, because they didn't have their heads covered! Jerks. Anyway we headed over to the Hogia sophia, then further to the Topkapi Place but we didn't go inside either! We just walked and hit up: the Grand Bazaar, Nuruosmaniye Mosque, Yeni Mosque and later the Spice market! We had our first Turkish doner, it was okay but, I have had better in Germany!! After our doner, we headed to the Asian side. To a town called Uskudar. We got off the ferry and started to walk without a map or any idea where we were going. We found a Domino's (pizza place from the states) and I bought Cinna Sticks, while Travis and Victoria waited on a bench for me. After we ate we walked down to get an umbrella for Travis, that's when he realized that he didn't have his wallet. He had set it between them on the bench! Dumbass! Anyway, we start running back to get it and Travis pulls ahead panic stricken! He makes it to the bench and there is a couple sitter there, they look at him and say "lose your wallet?" Thank goodness they were sitting there and not someone else or that wallet would have been gone!! Needless to say, we weren't that fond of the Asian side after that! So we left and went to the hostel, then ate a pizza joint that was excellent!

Day 3
Today was a short day for me! I had been sick for the past week, and the cold and rain didn't make it any better. So we ate breakfast as usual, then got dressed, and headed out to the Topkapi Place. We spent about 2 hours there, and that's when I decided to head back and relax in the hostel. So we separated, and I bought some cooked corn and ate it on the way back!! I have had better! I watched some movies, and talked to random people at the hostel. Then Travis and Victoria come back and we played cards. Then we went and had pizza at our favorite spot!! When we came back we met another American and started talking the him, and then watched the Bourne Ultimatum, then hit the sack.

Day 4
Today was an interesting day. It started off nice, we woke up, at breakfast checked out, and then I was forced to give the hostel a review right then and there! But it was an decent hostel, so I didn't really care. We watched some TV, wrote in journals, read, and played cards. Then we went out for a little walk. We bought some gifts for ourselves and our family!! Then we went back to the hostel caught our ride to the airport at like 2:50, and arrived at the airport just before 3:30. We had to go through security before entering the airport, which was crazy!! Then we got the Swiss Intl. Airlines counter, they were rude right from the beginning. They made us check our baggage, "because the plane was packed" but we didn't have to check them coming to Turkey. Then we get on the plane and they were running 30 minutes late, which made us miss our connection in Zurich. Not only did we miss our connection in Zurich but we missed the bus and last train to Reutlingen. When we tried to explain this to Swiss air, they basically told us that there was nothing they could do so we might as well walk!! BASTARDS. Our flight didn't leave until 10:40 so we had to wait for 3 hours. When we finally arrived in Stuttgart, and guess what they lost my luggage! How convent, they made me check it after I refused 3 times to, then they lost it. Jackasses!! Anyway our friend Roger was nice enough to drive the 40 mins there and back to come and pick us up. Thank goodness to, because otherwise we would have had to pay 60 dollars for a taxi. Anyway we got home around 12:15. how annoying! Let's just say that I'm filing a large complaint!!

Turkey was a 3. It was cleaner, and safer than you would think, but I would never live there!!