(Note – this was the day before Kairouan). I arrived in Tozeur far earlier than I expected to, because the only shared taxi leaving from my previous city departed at 4 AM! Upon arriving, I headed right out to the Medina. It is completely residential, and therefore silent. After the various old cities I have been in, I definitely did not expect that. This Medina is remarkable for it brickwork. The designs that people have made on their walls with these brownish bricks are gorgeous, and in my experience unique. I ended up in a small private house museum that really enriched my understanding of both the town and the Berber culture. (It wasn’t the Dar Cherait, which is much bigger. This family has collected Berber artifacts,, and the man who guided me through was a terrific storyteller. From how they made their tents rain resistant to all the different ways to use a camel (skin, hair, milk, stomach, meat, etc.) he made it come alive.
He also served some delicious tea. This was all for five dinar. Granted he also sells rugs and his wife’s poetry, but it was a very soft sell. It was no problem when I turned him down. Plus I got to dress up like a Berber!
Then I started to plan my next day. I had hoped to visit all of the desert sites on a one-way trip to the east, but it seemed that any I could set up at the last minute were day trips that returned to Tozeur. Also, as far as I can tell, you can’t do the cool nature and/or desert culture (or Star Wars locations) by public transportation. For better or for worse, my Airbnb here turned out to be a small hotel. So with the help of the hotel desk, I plugged into the tourist scene. An English speaking guy with a cowboy hat showed up. He arranged what I vaguely thought was going to be a full day trip, what my Taiwanese companion with whom he connected me thought was going to be a five hour trip, and which turned out to be a three hour trip. This is clearly a part of my visit to Tunisia I should have set up more in advance. That said, the three hours were amazing. We saw two gorgeous oases, one where a spring comes out of the foot of a small mountain, and another with a waterfall.
Yes, in the Tunisian desert, a waterfall. The most fun, however was driving incredibly quickly over the salt flats and sand, and then arriving at the set of one of the Star Wars movies. I am so, so glad I did not miss that. The driving doesn’t look so fast, but believe me it is. Also note that he is on his cell phone at the same time! In the second video you can see us rising over a dune to see the Star Wars set for the first time.
When we got back at noon came one of the logistics moves of which I am most proud. There was not a lot left to do in Tozeur, so I ran across the street to the bus station. The next bus, and the only one until late that evening, was leaving in 15 minutes! I raced back to my hotel, pack my bags, checked out, and jumped on the bus. I then did some Airbnb work to set back my dates at my next town. The five hour bus ride was perfectly comfortable.