PC587 Travelling in The West

- Metlaoui (big market, but boring), Jan 2nd Had to hitch to Gafsa cos transport crazy cos of end of holiday ...thanks to Slim and his friends for the ride - north west ...Sbeitla, Kasserine, Rits in Thela, Haidra now Le Kef

Dodging Riots

- Tuesday Jan - 4th no mention of ongoing demonstrations in Global news media Again by coincidence I found myself at Thela, I had got onto the bus to Haidra, but the driver knew he couldn't pass through Thela. He stopped the bus stopped just before town and everyone got off. SAW A "RIOT" I could see there was a demonstration with tear gas and stone throwing 300m down the street. I knew the drill "if you are a tourist you don't hang around demonstrations, you walk in the opposite direction", so I avoided it by walking through the west side of town.
- Jesus it looked dumb to me ..people seemed to be throwing stones at police, that's stupid : police have guns and it's easy to see how police might shoot back .. No wonder one guy had already been shot.

- Anyway, just like I had seen during the war in Yugoslavia normal life was going on 2 blocks away from the trouble. In 15 minutes I had got to the other side and taken a louage out to Haidra archaeological site.

- Just as we arrived on the edge of town the bus stopped and we all got off. No one explained anything, but we could hear the noise. 100m further on I could see clouds of tear gas and hear cracks which were probably the tear gas rounds. Crowds were running down the distant streets.

- An old man said I should abandon Haidra and sleep at his house. Since it as only 10;30am I said no. I followed the school kids and walked 500m west around the trouble. I saw a couple of 14 year old boys throwing stones and it's my guess that probably what most of this "riot" was just immature boys playing the "look at me, I am tough game"

- Anyway by coincidence again I found myself at the louage station which was on the north side of the police line, and the louage to Haidra was just ready to leave.

Dodging Overcharging
- Strange day today, a couple of times people tried to overcharge me ("foreigner price") and then in Tajerouine as I passed a cafe a man asked where I was going and offered me a lift to Le Kef, then the cremerie man gave me the milk for free. - Jendouba next

- visited the Roman ruins, a few other villages, got a ride to Le Kef.

- Actually on that stretch of road there were checkpoints from 3 different brands of police in a few Km. And ever I observed the fearful ritual of the driver putting on seatbelts slowing down etc probably in fear of being tapped for a bribe.

In the next few days I continued my journey ..staying 3 days at Ain Draham, everything was always calm no sign of demonstrations etc. but as always in Tunisia after dark most places were closed and few people were about.


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