Thursday, June 25, 2009

Checking in and heading out

Fun fact of the day: Sahara means "desert" in Arabic. Sahara, therefore, is not its name but its description. The way it sounds in Arabic is almost an onomatepia; it really evokes the dry wind over sanddunes, parched feel of the desert... "eh-ssss-aherr-ahhh....EH!"(the EH at the end being the hamza, a little glottal stop that sounds like a small gasp).

We leave tomorrow at 8am for our 4 day trip South, which will include camel riding, desert camping, visits to historic mosques, beach, and the oh-so-cool sounding Isle of Jerba. I'm excited. This week was one day short, but has felt just as long as the others, although the workload has definitely become a little more manageable as the Arabic starts to finally click a little. The only problem is that I feel like I'm getting sick. It would be terribly ironic (and unpleasantly dehydrating) to have a cold in the desert. Inch'allah I'll wake up tomorrow feeling fine. I don't have real high hopes, though...I'm one of the only people left on this trip that hasn't been pretty sick already, although most of the problems so far have been stomach-related and are sort of ongoing as we continue to munch on sandwiches from vendors full of super spicy harissa.

Nothing terribly interesting to report otherwise. The homestay is a continual challenge, and Kate and I are taking to staying at school until 8:15pm or so in order to take advantage of homework space and internet away from our undisciplined brat of a sister and our judgemental, unpleasant parents. I've also been enjoying the cafe culture of Sidi Bou Said, taking my book and a friend or two to go get a cup of mint tea and share a chicha. Afterwards I catch the 8:20 bus back, get home just in time for dinner, go to bed not long after, and get up early to finish work and enjoy the peace of the sleeping house. The routine is getting a little tiresome, but this weekend should be a nice escape.

Until next week!


  1. Sorry to hear about the problems with the host family. I'd suggest medicating yourself with alcohol while around them, but it sounds like it's hard to come by there. D'oh!

  2. Camels? Awesome :) I always thought you'd make a good jockey ;) Have fun!


    Just in case you have some spare time... Mistranslations rock. I particularly like the three people standing by a stone wall with the caption
    "While his wife was locked up with 15 spongy squirrels"

    I have no idea what it was supposed to say.

    Enjoy, and i hope the trip is going well :)

  4. Also amazed by the number of people who translate "handicap toilet" as "deformed man end place"

    particularly the one that adds "no escape!"