Friday, 27 April 2012

Pirate Ships and Camel Rides

We went on two trips while we were on holiday. Close to where we were staying was the marina at Port El Kantaoui . This was a beautiful place with musical fountains, stalls, restaurants and the obligatory high maintenance boats.

I love harbours and marinas and love sitting in a quayside bar with the sun on my face, a cold drink in my hand and nothing more important to do than watch the hive of activity around me. While we were there we decided to venture out on a pirate boat.

The boat was filling up nicely and at the last minute we were joined by, I assume, an extended Tunisian family with numerous children.

All went well, we got out to sea and were served fish salad and bread. It was a bit basic to say the least but our fellow family seemed to be enjoying it, until I noticed that one of the men looked rather ill and was dabbing his head with a handkerchief.

It was a beautiful sunny day but the waves were quite choppy and before long the man was encountering a rather intimate relationship with the side of the boat. Then several members of his family decided to join him.

Not having the strongest of stomachs we moved to the front of the boat and enjoyed the wind in our hair (or bandanas) as we pretended we were sailing the seven seas.

The sad thing was the family were all out to celebrate a little one's first birthday. They had brought a deliciously gooey birthday cake with them and the whole boat sang happy birthday to her while her father was otherwise engaged, still over the side of the boat. I'm not a cake lover myself (more of a savoury person - give me cheese any day) so I politely declined and I was glad I did because several more people walked off that boat sporting faces in several shades of green. I shouldn't laugh but it was a truly original experience.

At one point on the boat we did drop anchor and the boys were given lines and experimented fishing off the side of the boat. My husband even caught one (probably later used for the food on the next trip) and which made his day. The crew were all really friendly especially Eddie, who sat down with us before we set sail and told us about his life experiences in the navy. I've never been on a trip like it and really enjoyed it.

I suppose we should have quit while we were ahead but because we've never done it before, we decided to go on the aforementioned ill-fated camel ride. My husband is a painter and decorator. For the last month or so he has been working on the outside of a large residential home. He's got a bit of a dodgy knee and all the ladder work had inflamed it. Before we went away it was quite swollen and sore. Nearly two weeks of rest and relaxation, and it was on the mend, that was until two days before we came home.

There were six adults on the trip, and our two boys, but only three camels, muzzled and tied together, and led by a man on a donkey. I don't know what I was expecting but it certainly was something a bit more exotic, or at least sandy, than a gravel path in the middle of farmland.

At first it went well, my husband and my eldest went on the middle camel while me and my youngest sat on a horse-drawn truck.


After a while we stopped to change over. The first camel was made to kneel down while the first girl got off and another tried to get on. Half way on, the camel decided it was going to stand up and the woman came stumbling off. At the same time my husband handed my eldest down to one of the men but the camel he was on decided it was going to kneel down. Completely off balance, just like humpty dumpty, my husband came tumbling down. At first we thought he had just suffered a few cuts and grazes but late in the day, when the dodgy knee swelled up and he was having trouble bending it, we realised it was a bit more serious.

He spent the next two day smothering it with ice, supplied by the wonderful staff at our hotel, but by the time he came home he decided that he needed to get it checked out. Fortunately nothing was broken or torn but the tendons were badly bruised and he was told that if he wasn't self-employed, his doctor would have signed him off for a month. Lots of ice, taking it easy and some very strong anti-inflammatory drugs and things have improved, It was only after the event that we realised what date it was we ventured out on the ill-fated camel ride. Of course it was Friday 13th!

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