Tag Archive: la Tunisie

La Tunisie – Tunisia

I visited Tunisia for the first time in 1973 and spent five weeks, visiting many beautiful and interesting villages and also the capital Tunis and many renowned historical sites. I also made many Arab friends, among them my good friend Hedi Ben Sassi, of whom I heard for the last time (by mail) in 1975 when completing my graduate studies at Syracuse University, USA.

Sidi Bou Saïd. Village en nid d’aigles sur une colline à l’entrée du Golf de Tunis, côté Nord de Tunis. Sidi Bou Saïd a longtemps étè un lieu villégiature pour la bourgeoisieTunisoise. Mais dès le début du siècle une “intelligencia“ internationale faite d’ecrivains, de peintres et d’artistes de tous genres, a adopté et habité le village.  سيدي بوسعيد قال Sidi Bou Saïd – not to confuse with Sidi Bouzid, where on December 17, 2010 the “winter of discontent” began with the self-immolation of the Arab street vendor (Tarek al-Tayeb) Muhammed Bouazizi, who hailed from Sidi Bouzid. Le village Sidi Bou Saïd aura tousjours une place spéciale dans mon cœur. Named for a figure who lived there, Abou Said ibn Khalef ibn Yahia Ettamini el Beji (previously it was called Jabal el-Menar). And famous for its blue and white structures. My re-visit came much later in the Spring of 2012, when I spent an entire month in a Hammamet resort by the Golf of Hammamet. Renewing my acquaintance with most of the 1973 visited towns and villages, including Sidi Bou Saïd.

Tunisia then and Tunisia now – I could hardly see any difference. Public bus services had improved, we did not have to sit by the side of the road waiting. Then again, Tunisia had always been more liberal in their culture and relationship with the Western world than other Maghreb countries. Yet, it seemed that time had stood still for the Tunisians, despite all the sociopolitical demonstrations and upheavals following the winter of 2010, with the “Arab Spring” in 2011 which was supposed to bring about a change in most of the Arab countries involved. At the foremost Tunisia followed by Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, then Morocco, Jordan, Iraq.


1973 juillet/July, mon voyage à Tunisie – cinq semaines dans le Club Mediterranée. Korba. My 5 weeks vacation in Tunisia. Where I met Hedi Ben Sassi, l’Arabe. C’était la plus grand amour de ma vie. While in Korba Club Med, I metan Arab and fell in love, and he with me. Comme j’avais habitee en Hollande, Hedi m’a suivi, et fait le long voyage de Tunis via Tanger, Europe aux Pais Bas. J’avais quitté les Pays Bas en 1974 et suis allée au Genève, La Suisse. Mes derniers lettres de Hedi etaient en 1975, comme j’ étais déjà dans les Etats Unis. These are images of THEN 1973: –

Many, many years later – in fact it has been March 2012 – I went back to Tunisia. For one month. Went to Tunis by bus, trying to look for the last address of Hedi. Malheureusement, c’etait seulement l’annee 2012 que je suis rentree en Tunisie, mais je ne l’ai pas re-trouvé. Triste histoire d’amour.

These are images of NOW 2012: –

2012, one month Les Orangers Beach Resort, Golfe of Hammamet, situated along the strip by the ocean between Hammamet North and Yasmin South.

Hammamet (Arabic: الحمامات‎ El-Ḥammāmāt) is a town in Tunisia. Due to its beaches it is a popular destination for swimming and water sports. It was the first tourist destination in Tunisia. It is located in the south east of the northern peninsula of Cap Bon in the Governorate of Nabeul, on the northern edge of the Gulf of Hammamet. {Wikipedia]. Les Orangers has at least four restaurants, bar, cafe to choose from. Two large swimming pools, one indoor heated. Including return flight from/to Frankfurt DEU, and emergency medical insurance, total I paid for one month for a double room/single occupancy (no extra), sea view and all inclusive food, drinks, bottled water, wine, cocktails, champagne, and entertainment was €1.046 (about $1,300). The month of March weather had been quite cool.

This next slide show shows images of the Resort: –