Paige out West

Yahoo for Portland, Oregon! This blog will be a place for friends and family to check out what I am up to. The address will stay paigedeut even though I may or may not be in Germany. Now it stands for eveyone's favorite book in the Bible...Deuteronomy.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Desperate times call for desperate measures

Q. What do most people do in a time of economic crisis and job insecurity?
A. Save money, dine in, travel less.
Q. What do I do in such a time?
A. Go on a 3+ week vacation in Europe and Northern Africa.

In my mind: unemployment = free time to travel. Therefore, back in September when it looked as though my job would be temporary and my parents would be in Germany for the holidays, I went ahead and booked a ticket to Berlin. My time across the Atlantic was an exciting mix of catching up with friends in Germany, Hungary, and Spain and perhaps my craziest adventure to date: exotic and randomly selected based on airline ticket price - Tunisia.

You’ll note that I don’t have many photos of my hanging out time. There are a couple reasons why: I forget I have a digi cam, coffee shop pictures aren’t that exciting, and the party pictures would be incriminating. I do wish, however, that I took more pictures of the cute babes my buddies produced in my seventh month absence from the European continent. In any case, the good news is that I do have some crazy photos from Tunisia. Below please find photo documentation of some of the highlights.

Little lone Hungary photo



One of my former roommates from Pécs, Ivett, has since moved back to her home town of Kaposvar. She invited me to come check out the town and enjoy some delicious Hungarian home cooking. Thanks Mom!
While in Hungary both airport and train employees were on strike. Between buses and buddies, I was able to make it to Vajta, Pécs, Kaposvar, and Budapest. This picture is just one of the few bus stations where I found myself.

Weihnachtsmarkt Muenich

Christmas Kayaking



The highlight of Christmas day was an impromptu Kayak trip with Herbie. No wetsuit – no problem, when you can use the gear of a similar sized person like Herbie.
Herbie, a former exchange student, invited my parents and me to spend Christmas with his family in Passau, Germany. Passau is known as the city of three rivers and as one can imagine, Kayaking is in. I wouldn’t say freezing temperatures are the ideal conditions but when in Passau…

Take time to stop and drink tea



In a land of no alcohol, tea - and unfortunately smoking - take its place. Leif and I are in one of the most well known tea houses in Tunes’ medina. If you like corn mazes and shopping, medinas are the place to be.

We’re kind of into Roman coliseums





The coliseum in El Jem is the third largest Roman coliseum in the world. The cool thing about El Jem, and Tunisia in general, is there aren’t a ton of tourists. Every once and awhile a tourist van will roll up but for the most part we had the sights to ourselves.

When in Matmata



The city of Matmata is principally known for two things: 1) cave dwellings and 2) setting the background for some scenes of Star Wars. Here Leif shows off our cozy accommodations and promotes world peace.

Beer never tasted this good



Leif and I are celebrating both being alive and finding a place that serves alcohol. Finding our way to Matmata with my shaky high school French and Leif’s expert pantomiming skills was a real feat. At one point of the journey we were on a municipal night bus with all men, most of whom were missing teeth and wearing crazy Star Wars robes. Scary.

Food tastes better when eaten in a cave




As you can see, Leif and I take ourselves and museums on Berber culture very seriously. Perhaps the best part of this picture is that it was taken by a new friend Nan. Despite Leif’s and my shenanigans she and her husband, Roel, agreed to let us tag along in their rental car to Douz, a city two hours away. To make a long story short, the two hour car ride turned into a two day mobile travel party. Our car adventures with Nan and Roel were the highlight of Tunisia.

A salty breeze



Wind actually worked to our advantage on this trip. When the party arrived to Douz it was too windy to really see the Sahara. Therefore we got that sand in your teeth, hair, eyes, and ears feeling before moving further east to Tozeur.

Did we ride a camel? No. Did we eat a camel? Yes.



Who would have guessed that camel meat is tough?

Stop for a picnic



What a feast – corn nuts, Christmas chocolate, luna bars, yogurt, cookies, water, and mandarins. That’s called plan B when we couldn’t find a restaurant while driving through the desert. Leif and I revert to our classing traveling style and bring Nan and Roel in on the dirt bag fun.

Sefutula Ruins



Nan: “Is it ok we make a detour to see some Roman ruins?”
Leif and Paige: “uh, yeah”